Horlick gives a friendly face to finance

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NICOLA HORLICK'S "superwoman" status is being exploited in a new advertising campaign to prove that personality counts even in the grey, male world of fund management.

Her new employer, Societe Generale Asset Management wants to turn her into the Liz Hurley of personal finance. Ms Hurley is the public face of Estee Lauder whilst Mrs Horlick's visage is now appearing on SGAM posters in an attempt by the French bank to assure investors it is interested in human beings as well as balance sheets. The bank is gambling on its fund manager's high media profile to win over a public distrustful of faceless City fat cats.

Mrs Horlick, the mother of five children, one of whom died last year, became a household name after being dismissed for disloyalty from her pounds 1m a year job with Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. She didn't go quietly, storming off to the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt demanding that the board immediately reinstate her. She failed, but won instant admiration.

And she gained public sympathy when it was revealed that her daughter Georgie was battling leukaemia. The 12-year old died last November. Millions wondered how she managed to juggle a husband, five children and a dynamic job.

SGAM said Mrs Horlick had been used to launch the campaign because she was instantly recognised. "Other companies promote their performance but we are a new fund so don't have an established track record," said a spokesman.

"Most financial adverts are faceless but people can relate to Nicola because she is very well known and shows there are real people in this business. Most funds use the principle of `give us your money and we'll make it grow' but we thought this was a better idea."

Justin Modray, of financial advisors Chase de Vere, said Mrs Horlick particularly appealed to women.

"More people are realising the importance of personal investments," he said. "Nicola Horlick has the advantage of a powerful but humane image, a supermum and superwoman. Most fund managers would look pretty dull in contrast. She is admired for standing up for herself in a man's world."