Fund manager Ashmore set for £1bn float

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The Independent Online

Ashmore Investment Management, one of Britain's fastest growing emerging market fund managers, is set to announce plans to float in move that could see its boss receive a windfall worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Weekend reports suggested that Ashmore hopes for a valuation of more than £1bn. Mark Coombs, the managing director, controls 60 per cent of the group. John Moulton, the founder of private equity firm Alchemy Partners, is also expected to enjoy a windfall from the float, as are a number of Ashmore's senior managers. Mr Moulton has a stake of about 7.5 per cent.

At the start of the summer, the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS were appointed to advise on a possible IPO. In July, Michael Benson, the former vice-chairman of the fund manager Amvescap, joined Ashmore's board. Last month, James Pettigrew, the former finance director of the money broker Icap, was also appointed a director.

Ashmore, which today boats funds under management of more than £10bn, was set up in 1992 as a division of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group with little more than £10m to manage.

It was bought by Mr Coombs and other senior managers in 1999.

Among the company's largest clients are pension funds, including the San Francisco Employees' Retirement System and the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System.

Ashmore hit the headlines last week after it bought the international assets of the collapsed US energy trader Enron. It also said it had raised £700m for a new fund to target distressed companies.