ACTIVIST investor Edward Bramson yesterday stood down as chairman of F&C Asset Management following his turnaround of the firm’s fortunes.
Bramson, a press-shy veteran investor who has built a reputation for boosting the performance of struggling quoted companies, led a boardroom coup two years ago through his Sherborne Investors vehicle.
He will be replaced at F&C – which has about 130 staff in Edinburgh – by Keiran Poynter, who has been a non-executive director at the fund manager since June 2009. Bramson initially served as executive chairman before handing over the reins to Richard Wilson on 1 January.
Analysts at Canaccord Genuity said: “The restructuring of F&C in respect of its cost base initiated by Edward Bramson is largely complete in operational terms.”
Bramson’s departure comes almost three years to the day after his Aim-quoted investment vehicle first appeared on the F&C shareholder register, heralding a phase of shareholder activism that resulted in his accession to the board in February 2011.
While his day-to-day involvement in F&C has reached a conclusion, Bramson is expected to remain a significant shareholder in the company, one source said. He is now expected to turn his attentions to another corporate underdog, after launching a second Guernsey-domiciled investment vehicle in January.
His new outfit has been seeded with around £200 million of equity from a number of investors, including Aviva and Soros Fund Management, which are betting that Bramson can repeat the success he has enjoyed at F&C and earlier at technology group Spirent and chemicals maker Elementis.
Bramson helped to drive profits up by 96 per cent over three years of investment in Spirent, and by 144 per cent over 20 months at Elementis.
F&C shares have surged by almost 120 per cent to since August 2010 when Bramson’s stakebuilding began, compared with a 50 per cent rise in the FTSE mid-cap index over the same period.