Michael Ashbridge, UK sales director of Chase Fleming Asset Management's pension and pooled funds, h...
Michael Ashbridge, UK sales director of Chase Fleming Asset Management's pension and pooled funds, has left the group to pursue his career outside the financial services industry, writes Kira Nickerson.
Rod Birkett, head of Chase Fleming's investment trust business, is to take over Ashbridge's role in addition to continuing his duties on the closed end fund side of the business.
Birkett, who has been with Flemings for nine years, took over as head of the investment trust business at the end of 1997.
His principal focus was on positioning Chase Fleming as shareholder friendly providers of investment trusts.
This positioning has helped to increase the retail ownership of the investment trusts to 48%, compared to the industry average of around 40%, Birkett said. Prior to 1997 the retail ownership of the trusts was closer to the industry average.
This is something that Birkett hopes to bring to Chase Fleming's pension business.
Birkett said: "The purpose of the revised structure is to bring the distribution process under one to two people rather than having it managed by several people, which it has been historically."
The streamlined structure is expected to improve the focus of the business in order to improve its profile, especially Chase Fleming's ability to manage institutional money.
In the 1980s the group was well known for the institutional pension side of its business, however, this has fallen off somewhat in recent years, Birkett said.
He said: "What we really need now is a greater focus. We have the investment management expertise to be commanding a good share of the pension market.
"It is important that we regain our position as one of the top providers of pension management."
Chase Fleming's is now looking to attract further pension mandates and build on its existing defined contribution business.The group has £18bn in UK sourced segregated and pooled pension funds under management.
Last week the $7.7bn purchase of Robert Fleming Holdings, of which Flemings Asset Management was a part, was completed.
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