Liontrust directors quit over chair’s 12-year tenure

Two non-executive administrators have stop Liontrust over a row in regards to the chair’s 12-year tenure on the board, simply days after one other dispute within the asset administration business over company governance.

The FTSE 250 fund group introduced on Friday that Emma Howard Boyd and Quintin Value had stepped down instantly, with out giving a cause for his or her departure.

Nonetheless, folks aware of the scenario mentioned they determined to go away after warning that the chair’s size of service on the board flouted company governance guidelines.

The boardroom spat is the newest company governance conflict within the fund administration sector. Earlier this month, the Monetary Occasions revealed {that a} non-executive chair of the £13.4bn Scottish Mortgage Funding Belief sounded the alarm over company governance, resulting in a board reshuffle which can see the departure of chair Fiona McBain on the subsequent annual common assembly.

Liontrust’s non-executive chair Alastair Barbour took on the function practically 4 years in the past. Nonetheless, he has been on the board since April 2011, taking his tenure to 12 years. The UK’s company governance code recommends that chairs keep on the board for now not than 9 years, which begins when the chair first joins the board.

Barbour was re-elected as chair by the overwhelming majority of shareholders final September. The choice to maintain Barbour within the function comes after Liontrust made two acquisitions in fast succession and because the board underwent adjustments. One particular person near the scenario mentioned it was necessary to maintain Barbour as chair for continuity throughout this era.

The sudden departure of Howard Boyd and Value has prompted questions from traders. One institutional investor mentioned it was “extremely uncommon” and “a purple flag” that two governance-focused board members left on the identical time with quick impact. Liontrust, Howard Boyd and Value declined to remark.

Howard Boyd, who’s a former chair of the Surroundings Company, joined Liontrust’s board simply over a yr in the past, final January. Value, who has lengthy labored within the asset administration business, served on the board for lower than two years.

Liontrust has additionally come beneath the highlight lately over pay, after going through an investor revolt final yr on the firm’s common assembly over chief govt John Ions’ wage improve.

Below Ions, who took on the function in 2010, Liontrust has expanded the enterprise by acquisitions. It purchased Neptune Funding Administration, the fund boutique based by Robin Geffen, in 2019 for £40mn. Final yr, it accomplished the acquisition of Majedie Asset Administration for £120mn.

Liontrust, like different midsized asset managers, has come beneath strain from turbulent markets, investor nervousness and strain from low-cost tracker funds. Shares have dropped by greater than a fifth over the previous yr.

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