Amro stars poached by Framlington

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The Independent Online

ABN Amro, the Dutch investment bank, lost two of the City's most successful fund managers yesterday. They went to its tiny rival Framlington.

Nigel Thomas and George Luckraft had been in their positions since the 1980s and had built up reputations as the top fund manager in their respective fields of UK companies and equity income.

A spokesman for ABN said: "We are very sad. It will set our business strategy back a little but we will move on." Mr Thomas and Mr Luckraft were on a 12-month contract with ABN and are negotiating when they will be allowed to leave.

The sum they have been lured to Framlington with was not disclosed, but some in the City speculated the two wanted to be able to invest more of their own money in the company they worked for. They may also have tired of the culture of the investment bank, as they were brought on board when ABN bought Carrington Pembroke, a smaller fund manager, five and a half years ago.

Craig Walton, marketing director of Framlington, stressed their pay packages would be "nothing out of the ordinary". But he added: "We are something between a huge bank and a hedge-fund start-up and so our culture allows quality fund managers to take big stakes in the business."

Jason Hollands, deputy managing director of the brokerage Bestinvest, said: "People talk about star fund managers. These two really are stars."

Mr Thomas's UK All Companies Fund and Mr Luckraft's Equity Income Fund were both top in their respective sectors over the past three years, according to the website Citywire.

They join three other fund managers at Framlington's equity team. Framlington's two major shareholders are HSBC and America's Munder Capital Management.