The Business On... Andrew Formica, Chief executive, Henderson

Click to follow

He looks like a happy chap

For now. Henderson's first-half results, unveiled yesterday, were strong, with a leap in sales thanks to the acquisition of its rival Gartmore. But Mr Formica is nervous about the outlook for the fund manager asmarket volatility and poor economic news hinder people's ability to save.

Times are tough then?

They've been so right from the start for Mr Formica, who took over at Henderson in 2008 a few weeks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

So how has he coped?

By both expanding and contracting. He's cut costs in an attempt to make Henderson as lean as possible, but he's also made two big acquisitions, beating stiff competition for the assets in both cases. First he bought New Star, the retail specialist founded by John Duffield, and then he picked up Gartmore. Both had run into hard times and Mr Formica was quick to spot an opportunity.

What's his background?

He's young – just 39 – but has worked in the investment industry since graduating from Macquarie University. He began AMP, which sponsored him at college, and then held a series of progressively more senior jobs at Henderson, owned by the Australian company until 2003. He was promoted following the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Roger Yates, three years ago.

Hang on. Macquarie, AMP... he's not Australian is he?

Aren't you the detective! Yes, Mr Formica did indeed grow up Down Under, but he also holds a British passport and is happily settled here with his wife and three children. Don't ask him about cricket though – he's still pulling for the Aussies.

So what does the City think?

He may be an all-Australian boy – sport's his thing – but he seems to be well-liked and respected by the Brits. And while people think of his firm as a British institution – it was founded in the 1930s to administer the estates of Alexander Henderson, the first Lord Faringdon – it's been in and out of independent ownership. Like its period under AMP for example.