GAM sacks star portfolio manager for 'gross misconduct'

Pedro Gonçalves
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GAM sacks star portfolio manager for 'gross misconduct'

GAM, the Swiss fund manager, has sacked a star bond manager after an internal investigation found he had engaged in "gross misconduct".  Tim Haywood's suspension seven months ago led the Swiss-based asset manager into a downward spiral.

Haywood's dismissal was confirmed in the firm's annual results which showed assets under management (AuM) dropped by £21.4bn to £42.9bn for the year to 31 December 2018.

"Following the conclusion of the investigation and the disciplinary proceedings, the suspended investment director has now been dismissed from the company for gross misconduct," GAM said. It did not supply further details. 

“Following the conclusion of the investigation and the disciplinary proceedings, the suspended investment director has now been dismissed from the company for gross misconduct”

The fund manager told  finews.com that he is considering fighting his dismissal: "I remain gagged whilst the dismissal decision and disciplinary process remain subject to a potential appeal," Haywood said.

The firm's decision to suspend Haywood came after GAM found, following whistleblowing claims, that "in certain instances Haywood may have failed, in our judgement, to conduct or evidence sufficient due diligence on some of the investments that were made, or make accessible internal records of documents relating to these".

"Following the conclusion of the investigation and the disciplinary proceedings, the suspended investment director has now been dismissed from the company for gross misconduct," the results said. 

"There was serious failure to achieve the standard of skill and care which were to be expected of someone in his position."

Since Haywood's suspension, GAM's share price has plummeted around 70% with the Swiss firm cutting 10% of its work force and CEO Alexander Friedman departing last November with David Jacob becoming interim CEO.

GAM's investment management business had 56.1bn Swiss francs (£43bn) of assets under management at the end of the year, down from 84.4bn a year earlier, while assets at its private labelling arm rose to 76.1bn francs from 74.3bn francs at the end of 2017.

Together that came to 132.2bn francs. Overall assets had totalled 139.1bn Swiss francs at the end of November.

The company had said in December that it would cut 10% of its staff and ditch its dividend as it warned it would slide to a 2018 net loss, which it confirmed on Thursday was 929m Swiss francs.