Managing director Gervais Williams tells Hannah Smith how the boutique has dealt with its debts and become a dividend paying business with a renewed focus on growth.
It has been an eventful decade for MAM Funds, which has been through a series of mergers, acquisitions and rebrands since it was founded in 2001.
After a tough few years which saw MAM’s FUM shrink and the group struggle to manage its debt obligations, the business has emerged stronger and, with assets now at £1.8bn, is focused on growth.
Former Gartmore fund manager Gervais Williams joined the business as managing director last year, tasked with leading a new phase in the group’s development.
The ascent of MAM
Since he joined, the boutique has successfully raised capital both for the business and its latest investment trust offering, strengthened its sales and marketing force with the appointment of Neil Bridge, Graham Hooper and Mark Harper, and unveiled a new product for veteran fund manager Martin Gray.
“We have grown funds under management over the years by delivering substantial value in unconventional ways, and buying assets we have confidence in,” Williams said.
“It is an extraordinary heritage to have in a group at a time when the economic environment is uncertain, and is quite a wonderful thing to come into. A more recent key event for me was fundraising £20m for the group. It had had debt covenants to deal with, so to take away that baggage and allow it to steer its own course was an extraordinary position to be in.”
A new label
As MAM Funds has tried to carve out a new identity over the last couple of years, there have been several changes to the branding. The latest product to come to market, a multi-cap OEIC run by Williams, introduced a completely new label – Acuim.
Does Williams think the branding is clear enough? “No, in a word. MAM Funds is a general plc brand, Midas can get confused with other UK Midas brands that exist, Miton is probably the clearest.
Acuim is more about not being what the others are about. We thought it would be clearer than to name it one of the other brands. We want to get the company humming under the bonnet before we look at the brand, but clearly this will be something we need to address in the next 12 months.”
Last year share filings revealed hedge fund veteran George Soros had bought a 3.5% stake in MAM, which would have been worth £1.6m at the time he picked up the shares. Obviously it was good news for the group to have such a high-profile backer, but less good news for the hedgie himself, as shares in the group have fallen more than 40% over the last 12 months to trade at 18p.
However, in March this year MAM Funds began paying a dividend, and Williams said this payout is a more important indicator of the strength of the business than its share price. This could fall further given the events in Europe, and other macro factors impacting markets.
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