IFM to use profits to generate flexibility

fund manager industry funds chief executive

9 August 2010
| By Chris Kennedy |

Investor-owned fund manager IFM plans to use profits to generate financial flexibility in order to compete with other investment managers and drive expansion, according to new chief executive Brett Himbury.

IFM’s cost base increased three fold over the past four years because the manager opened offices in London and New York, recruited new staff and improved systems, said Himbury, who joined IFM from Tyndall earlier this year.

“I don’t believe there’s a fund manager anywhere in the world that has had the guts, temerity or shareholder support to triple its cost base because it’s been the right thing to do by its investors … while revenues have gone to hell in a handbasket,” he said.

To be competitive the manager needed to attract and retain talent, potentially open further offices in places like south east Asia, and continue to invest in improved systems and products, he said.

IFM benefitted from a unique ownership structure because it was wholly owned by around 35 industry funds that invested in the manager and made up its major clients, Himbury said.

He said the balance of IFM’s structure – which drove the company culture – combined well with the fact that the firm wanted to compete with the best in the world.

“We need financial flexibility to compete,” he stressed. “We must never lose sight of the fact that our responsibility is to perform, there’s a lot of other choice [in the market] and we need the financial flexibility to ensure that that performance comes about,” he said.

“Our focus over the next few years is to make sure we not only bring that industry ethos and that not-for-profit ethos but we absolutely compete with the best in the world,” he said.

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