Gartmore re-signs fund star in £2m deal

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The Independent Online

The UK fund management group Gartmore upset its Scottish rival Resolution Asset Management yesterday as it re-signed one of its high-profile European fund managers with a package worth more than £2m, weeks after he had signed a contract to defect.

Tim Callaghan, the manager of Gartmore's European Focus Fund, handed in his notice in April, signing up to join the Glasgow-based Resolution once his six-month notice period had expired. Two of his colleagues, Adrian Darley and Jonathan Fearon, also signed up to join Resolution at the same time, completing a long list of key departures from Gartmore over the past year, prompted by the uncertainty of the group being up for sale.

The US private equity group Hellman & Friedmanended that uncertainty by backing a management buyout of the firm last month, leaving the management with a 49 per cent stake in the business.

Since then, Gartmore has been busy shoring up contracts with its key fund managers, offering them potentially lucrative equity stakes in the business to ensure they stay with the company.

Mr Callaghan, who is to become a partner in the business, is believed to have been offered an equity stake currently worth in excess of £1m as well as high guaranteed bonuses for the next two years.

Resolution said yesterday that it was frustrated with the outcome of what has been weeks of negotiations, but said it would not be taking up its right to pursue Mr Callaghan for breach of contract. It said it was unwilling to match the lucrative offer which Gartmore had made for the fund manager.

Mr Fearon and Mr Darley have not been wooed back to Gartmore, and will join when their notice periods finish at the end of June and September respectively.

Mr Callaghan is an experienced fund manager, who has been working in the industry for more than 15 years, but only recently began managing retail money for the group. Since taking the reins of the European Focus Fund a year ago, it has outperformed the sector by a little more than 1 percentage point, returning 20.1 per cent.

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