Struggling Man Group hires KPMG to review its governance

Mark Leftly,Jamie Dunkley
Sunday 10 February 2013 01:00
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Man Group, the troubled hedge fund that started life supplying rum to the Royal Navy in the 1780s, has asked KPMG to sort out its governance after a shareholder revolt last year.

The Big Four accountant has recently been appointed as Man's internal auditor, which means that it assesses, monitors and measures risks to a business beyond financial numbers, such as reputational issues.

Man suffered a protest vote of 15 per cent over executive pay last May, while nearly a third of investors said no to the re-election of non-executive Alison Carnwath, who is expected to leave later this year to acknowledge shareholder concerns that she has stayed on the board too long to be considered independent.

Man Group's performance has dipped dramatically in the past two years with investors withdrawing billions of pounds in protest at poor returns from its computer-driven AHL fund. As a result, it fell out of the FTSE 100.

Peter Clarke, the company's chief executive, paid the price with his job in December and will be replaced by Manny Roman later this month.

Industry insiders have speculated that Man Group could now move abroad as part of a major strategic overhaul, although sources close to the company deny this. The group has already restructured the GLG business it bought for $1.6bn (£1bn) in 2010.

However, analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said they do not expect to see "any major strategic repositioning" when the company reports full-year results on 28 February. "The company is in the midst of an exacting cost reduction process and is already looking to build its range of strategies," the analysts added.

A Man spokesman said: "We see this as standard practice. We want to leverage the resources of a firm like KPMG to get the best internal audit service."

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