• Fund investors told last week redemptions were being halted
  • Barse, its leader since 1991, saw assets plunge in past year

Third Avenue Management is parting ways with Chief Executive Officer David M. Barse after he announced plans last week to freeze redemptions in its troubled high-yield mutual fund, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Barse was let go and isn’t allowed back in the building, the newspaper said, citing a security guard at the firm’s New York headquarters. Daniel Gagnier, a spokesman for Third Avenue, declined to comment when reached by Bloomberg. Barse didn’t respond to messages left at his home over the weekend.

Third Avenue rattled credit markets after telling investors Dec. 9, in a letter signed by Barse, that its Focused Credit Fund was halting redemptions and would conduct an orderly liquidation of remaining assets. Such measures are rare among mutual funds, which are strictly regulated and required to provide investors with liquidity on a daily basis.

The Focused Credit Fund had $788.5 million in assets at the time the shutdown was announced, down from $3.5 billion in June of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares of money managers -- including Affiliated Managers Group Inc., which owns a portion of Third Avenue -- slid after last week’s announcement.

Barse had overseen Third Avenue since 1991 and often acted as its public face.  An attorney by training, he practiced bankruptcy and corporate law prior to entering the fund industry, according to his company biography.

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