Watch Out: We're Headed For An Activist Investor Showdown

F&C Asset Management today stepped up its fight against activist investor Sherborne by announcing a new cost-saving plan.

F&C revealed plans to outsource work carried out by 70 per cent of the group’s operations staff in a move it says could save £12 mn ($19 mn) a year.

A significant number of the operations staff will transfer to the outsourced-services provider, says F&C, although the changes will not affect its investment management function.

Sherborne has called an emergency shareholder meeting to take place on February 3, when it hopes to replace F&C chairman Nick MacAndrew with Sherborne founder Edward Bramson.

Veteran investor Bramson has a reputation for taking over struggling companies, and he hopes to do the same at F&C.

F&C received a separate boost today from one of its largest investors, when Dutch insurer Eureko, which owns around 10 per cent of F&C, came out in support of management.

‘We have every confidence in the board of F&C Asset Management and the strategy it is pursuing,’ said Eureko CFO Gerard van Olphen in a statement.

‘Eureko is not only a major shareholder of F&C but also an important client as F&C is one of our principal asset managers. Creating uncertainty around F&C is not in our best interests, nor in that of our policyholders.

‘Furthermore, no alternative strategy or business plan has been put forward so far.’

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