Alliance Trust to Implement ‘Changes’ After Hedge Fund Battle

Alliance Trust Plc Chief Executive Officer Katherine Garrett-Cox said the Scottish money manager will implement “changes” after meeting with shareholders in the aftermath of its public battle with Elliott Advisors.

“We have spent the last few days having a very open and constructive debate” with shareholders, Garrett-Cox said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “We are looking at a number of things, accepting the broad feedback that we have had.” She declined to provide further detail on the review to be announced in the autumn.

The comments come as the Dundee-based investment trust posted a “disappointing” investment return of 1.4 percent for the six-months through June, in a statement on Thursday. A market rout in June saw key stock holdings including Prudential Plc and Pfizer Inc. tumble, hitting the company “quite hard,” the CEO said.

Garrett-Cox and Chairman Karin Forseke faced angry shareholders at their annual general meeting in April after revealing 3 million pounds ($4.6 million) had been spent fighting Elliott Advisors, who wanted to add three more independent directors to the board. Two of the New-York based hedge fund’s nominees were appointed in April, with a third director due to be announced shortly.

Garrett-Cox said the company is “getting on with the job in hand” and was happy with the way Alliance Trust is positioned in the market.

The firm reported 59 million pounds of inflows in the six-month period while its Alliance Trust Savings unit, the subject of contention with Elliott and other shareholders, increased assets under administration by 12 percent to 7.2 billion pounds.

The acquisition of StockTrade in May will increase assets by 60 percent to more than 11 billion pounds. Garrett-Cox said building scale to maximize profit is key for a successful investment platform, adding that she expects to see further consolidation within the industry.

The shares rose 0.3 percent to 495.4 pence at 1:16 p.m. in London, extending their gain this year to 3.6 percent.

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