The new adventure of Superwoman hits the City

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The Independent Online
Nicola Horlick, arguably the most famous woman in the City, was back in business yesterday with a new venture. Lea Paterson takes a look at the latest chapter in the life of the purported expert at Having It All.

Sporting a new haircut - "I was getting stopped in the street", she said - Nicola Horlick finds it difficult to understand why she generates so much media attention.

"I'm just a perfectly ordinary person trying to get on with my job," she said yesterday at the launch of SocGen Asset Management, her new UK fund management business. But perfectly ordinary people do not write books dispensing advice on success "in a man's world", they do not fly to Frankfurt - complete with media entourage - to demand reinstatement of pounds 1m-a-year jobs. And, in all fairness, few mothers-of-five climb to the top of the pile in the male dominated City well before their 40th birthday.

Following her high-profile departure from Morgan Grenfell Asset Management time last year, the so-called City "Superwoman" thought long and hard about her next career step. After a brief spell as a writer - her book "Can you have it all?" proved essential, if irritating, reading for the working woman - she decided to return to fund management.

Mrs Horlick, pictured above before yesterday's launch at the Dorchester in central London, is now joint managing director of SocGen Asset Management, backed by Societe Generale, the leading French bank. She and her management team have been given a sizeable stake the company. "That's obviously a great incentive to do well," she said.

But the woman who earned more or less a million pounds a year in salary and bonuses at Morgan Grenfell was somewhat reticent about her new financial arrangements. She refused to disclose details of her equity stake, salary or bonuses, but did admit to taking a pay cut.

Mrs Horlick hit the headlines last year following her suspension as head of Morgan Grenfell's fund management business. Ripe with indignation, she jetted off to Frankfurt to demand her job back. But the "storming of Frankfurt" proved to be of no avail and the dispute with Morgan Grenfell is still not settled. She said: "The ball is in my court and I don't intend to do anything about it."

But, to the disappointment of the assembled Fleet Street hacks yesterday, Mrs Horlick was more interested in looking to the future than going over the past and injecting some life into the traditionally dull-but-worthy fund management industry.