Pension fund will sell its Ivory stake

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The Independent Online
THE MERCHANT Navy Officers' Pension Fund will eventually seek to sell its 16 per cent stake in Ivory & Sime, the Edinburgh investment manager said yesterday, writes Paul Durman.

Ivory & Sime has recently lost the contracts to manage pounds 165m in two investment portfolios controlled by the pension fund.

Asked about the firm's relationship with its shareholder, Gordon Neilly, finance director, said: 'I would be surprised in time if they (the pension fund) did not want to realise that investment. But I don't think they are in any rush to do so. There is no acrimony.'

Ivory & Sime has now lost the last of the funds it acquired after the serious problems three years ago at Ensign Trust. It has received compensation of nearly pounds 1.3m for termination of its contracts.

The firm still managed to increase its funds under management from pounds 3.3bn to about pounds 4bn. Mr Neilly said Ivory & Sime was receiving US money through links with First National Bank of America and other banks. Pre-tax profits for the six months to 31 October rose 22 per cent to pounds 2.8m.

The interim dividend was lifted by nearly 29 per cent to 2.25p as part of a rebalancing of the interim and final payments. Ivory & Sime is planning a final dividend of at least 4.75p, which will raise the total by 8 per cent to 7p.