Now Morgan Grenfell suspends pensions chief

Banking group's 'superwoman' fund manager may have tried to recruit 20 colleagues to join her in a move to another firm

Deutsche Morgan Grenfell was thrown into renewed turmoil yesterday when it suspended Nicola Horlick, the top fund manager who has been nicknamed superwoman by the City.

Mrs Horlick, who heads pension fund management of pounds 18bn for the banking group, is believed to have tried to recruit up to 20 colleagues to join her in a move to another investment management group.

But the plan appears to have misfired and she is understood to have been confronted last Sunday by Robert Smith, chief executive of Morgan Grenfell Asset Management, who subsequently made the decision to suspend her.

Mrs Horlick's nickname, a title once used by the writer Shirley Conran for a book about how to run your life, refers to her ability to juggle life at the top with looking after five children.

It came from Mrs Horlick's combination of a large family, a demanding job and marriage to another top City investment banker, Tim Horlick, chief operating officer for European investment banking at Salomon Brothers.

The suspension of the best-known fund manager at DMG is a severe blow to the company, which had been rebuilding morale and attempting to persuade senior fund managers to stay for the long term after the shock of the Peter Young scandal.

DMG denied any link with the scandal that broke last year when Mr Young, a senior fund manager, was sacked for gross misconduct after the suspension of trading in three Morgan Grenfell funds.

Mrs Horlick, 35, was on maternity leave after giving birth to her fifth child when the Peter Young scandal broke.

She is known to have been in negotiations recently with ABN Amro, the Dutch bank, but it is understood that this is not her current destination.

An investment banking source said she had gone as far as telling her clients and staff that she was joining ABN Amro, which suggests that the plan may have later fallen apart.

Another source close to the affair said that ABN Amro might have found it difficult to continue negotiations with Mrs Horlick, because of the internal row that has erupted over her planned departure at DMG. ABN Amro refused to comment.

A DMG spokesman said: "We have suspended her today pending the outcome of an internal investigation which will look at a potential breach of her contract. It has nothing to do with the Peter Young affair nor any suggestion of financial impropriety."

DMG would complete its investigation into the potential breach of contract by Mrs Horlick "as quickly as possible" but said her suspension was purely internal and had no regulatory dimension or link to last year's events.

Neil Dunford, chairman of Morgan Grenfell Investment Managers, the pensions arm, will take over day-to-day running of the operation while Mrs Horlick is suspended.

Imro, the fund management regulator that is expected to levy a stiff fine soon for the Peter Young affair, does not appear to have been informed ahead of the announcement to the press.

Somebody who has known her since university said: "She is so dynamic she is frightening."

A persistent rumour in the fund management industry was that she might be going to ING Barings, which would bring full circle the row last summer when ING sued DMG for $10m (pounds 6m) for poaching a team of 50 of its Latin American specialists in New York. The case was settled out of court in the autumn.

JP Morgan was another rumoured employer for Mrs Horlick. There was also a suggestion in the market that she was to replace Tony Dye, the fund manager heading PDFM, who has gone out on a limb in predicting a stock market crash.

A spokesman for PDFM said: "It's categorically not true." However, shares rose on the back of the story, on the theory that PDFM would turn into a buyer of equities.

Another source said that Mrs Horlick had been unhappy with proposals by Mr Smith, her immediate boss, to switch her to management of the unit trust business until a permanent recruit could be found to fill a vacancy there.

The source said: "She is such a high flyer you'd have to ask why she'd want to go and work on that side."

Keith Percy, the chief executive, and three other directors of the fund management group left after an internal investigation into the Peter Young affair revealed "management failings".

Mr Percy and Mrs Horlick, who was recruited five years ago from Mercury Asset Management, were regarded in the City as the two driving forces behind the success of Morgan Grenfell's fund management business.

"Nicola's departure is going to be very disturbing. You've got to think of trustees, who will be asking who is managing our money. The fact that Nicola has gone won't stop it if those other 20 are going too," said one source familiar with the pensions management business.

The source added: "When Keith Percy had his problems, somebody had to hold it together. She was the one and she was seen as very able."

Another pension funds expert said: "She can't go without having a knock- on effect."

Initially there were suggestions that all bonuses would be cut at DMG after the Peter Young affair because of losses which could total pounds 400m, including money injected into the funds by Deutsche Bank, the parent group.

But the reality of a competitive market for personnel left DMG promising to continue to pay bonuses to key staff and it offered lucrative contracts to tie people in.

Mr Young was sacked after irregularities were discovered in valuations of his funds. He is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office and he denies any criminal activity. The affair has already led to casualties at Morgan Grenfell Asset Management, with a purge in October of senior management.

Comment, page 17

Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreEXCLUSIVE The Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs his surreal series returns, the comedian on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
music‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do 'The Independent’s' experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
News
news
News
i100
News
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Business Analyst (Agile, SDLC, software)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Finance Manager - Bank - Leeds - £300/day

£250 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Finance Manager - Accountant - Bank...

Compliance Officer - CF10, CF11, Compliance Oversight, AML, FX

£100000 - £120000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fi...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary