Brough doubles stake in Liontrust to nearly 30 per cent

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The Independent Online

Andy Brough, one of the City's most successful fund managers, has taken a near 30 per cent stake in the fund manager Liontrust through his Schroders' investment funds.

The move is the latest sign of growing bullishness in the Square Mile that the worst of the credit crunch is over.

Brough, pictured, who runs more than £1.5bn worth of assets for Schroders across two retail funds, is believed to have almost doubled his stake in the business after buying 15 per cent of Liontrust from fund manager Fidelity International last week.

A source close to Schroders said: "Andy believes fund managers like Liontrust are set to prosper in the coming months with retail investors coming back to the market. These shares look very cheap and I'm surprised that Fidelity has sold them now."

Last week, shares in Liontrust slumped after it unveiled miserable results, which included a fall in assets under management to just £1.9bn from £4.7bn a year ago.

Liontrust is still recovering from the departure of two of its most prominent fund managers, Jeremy Lang and William Pattison, earlier in the year.

Analysts at City broker Arden Partners last week said that Liontrust's cash pile of £21.7m made it a likely target of a predatory bidder. Last year Liontrust began protracted negotiations with a number of unnamed suitors about possible mergers, but talks came to an end in January this year.

The fund management arena has endured a period of consolidation of late with New Star, the failed fund manager founded by John Duffield, being bought by rival Henderson.

Just last week, Barclays agreed to sell its fund management business to America's BlackRock for £8.2bn, creating the world's largest fund manager in the process with $2.8trillion (£1.7trillion) of assets.

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