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No 'preconceived ideas' in Fisher Funds hunt for new chief

Wednesday 02 November 2016 02:24 PM

No 'preconceived ideas' in Fisher Funds hunt for new chief, chairman Wells says

By Paul McBeth

Nov. 2 (BusinessDesk) - The board of Fisher Funds Management doesn't have any preconceived ideas about a potential replacement for managing director Carmel Fisher, who's signaled her desire to step back from the day-to-day running of the country's fifth-biggest fund manager.

Founder Carmel Fisher announced her plans to spend more time with her family in a video posted on Fisher Funds' website last month, which would see her relinquish managing the business provided a suitable replacement is found. Chairman John Wells confirmed that was the intention, and told BusinessDesk there was no time limitation on the process.

"The Fisher Funds brand very much falls around Carmel, clearly, so when the founder with a name moves to another role, you've got to look at that and look at what they do and look at the gaps that need filling," Wells said. "We don't have any preconceived ideas, we're just out there seeking the person who's clearly going to be a leader as Carmel's been, and see who turns up."

Fisher Funds manages more than $6.9 billion of assets for some 260,000 clients, generating fee income of $66.8 million in the year ended March 31. Carmel Fisher set the firm up with her husband, Hugh Fisher, in 1998 and it has grown to become the country’s fifth-biggest fund manager, acquiring Tower Investments in 2013 which introduced New Plymouth-based lender TSB Bank as a shareholder. The bank has since increased its stake to 49 percent.

"Carmel's done an exceptionally good job, a great job in fact, from very small beginnings to where this company is today," Wells said. She made the announcement to be "open and up front, because she's that sort of person", and that it was better to come out early because "these things have a habit of leaking".

Fisher Funds is the third major fund manager that's looking to appoint a new head, with Milford Asset Management Troy Swann, a former NAB Asset Management executive, taking over as chief executive last month, and First NZ Capital boss Scott St John handing over the reins to head of securities James Lee next April.



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