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F&C’s Charles Leaves as Operations Boss of Hedge Fund Unit

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May 14 (Bloomberg) -- F&C Asset Management Plc’s Jeremy Charles will step down as operations director of Thames River, its hedge fund division, as part of Executive Chairman Edward Bramson’s cost-cutting drive.

Charles, who joined Thames River in 2006 before it was bought by F&C, will be replaced by Hugh Moir, who becomes group head of operations and information technology, London-based F&C said in a statement today. Moir was previously head of client solutions and strategy at F&C.

Bramson, founder of activist shareholder Sherborne Investors LLC, became chairman of F&C in February last year, less than a year after the firm agreed to buy Thames River for about 50 million pounds ($80 million). Bramson has cut costs by reducing staff across the company and plans to refocus the firm on managing fixed-income assets for insurance companies rather than higher margin hedge funds.

“Last year, F&C initiated a group-wide re-engineering of our operations, administration and IT functions,” Tracy Fennell, a spokeswoman, said in the statement. “The implementation is progressing well.”

“At this juncture, Jeremy Charles has decided to leave F&C to pursue opportunities outside of the group,” she said. Charles declined to comment.

Bramson ousted Nick MacAndrew as chairman at an emergency general meeting last year with the support of major investors including Aviva Plc. Before the meeting Bramson criticized the acquisition of Thames River, saying it was “highly dilutive” to shareholders due to its cost and the higher volatility of its earnings.

F&C is scheduled to update investors and analysts on its strategy with an announcement to the stock exchange tomorrow. The firm had 102 billion pounds ($164 billion) of assets under management on March 31.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin Crowley in London at kcrowley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net