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Lanning to retire from fund management

Allianz Dresdner has confirmed that veteran stockpicker Nigel Lanning will be retiring after more than two decades at the firm.

Simon Gergel, who was replaced as head of income at HSBC by Chris Rodgers last month, will take on Lanning’s £634 million Merchant’s Trust and £255 million Allianz RCM UK Equity Income fund (Allianz RCM UK Equity Income A Inc) when he steps down at the end of May.

Lanning, who used to be AA-rated by Citywire, started managing the Merchants Trust in 1984 and under his command the dividend has jumped by 2.4p to 18.9p.

According to Wins, The NAV on the fund has risen by 41.1% in the five years to 3 March 2006, while the FTSE 100 has registered a small rise of 1.5%.

Since Lanning took charge of the open ended UK Equity Income fund in May 2001 it has returned 39% while the average fund in his peer group has gained 33.8% and its FTSE All Share benchmark has increased by 21.6%.

Gergel joins Allianz in April and will work alongside Lanning until he retires to ensure a smooth transition.

Simon White, head of investment trusts at Allianz, said that Gergel’s experience in large caps and income was a reason why the group picked him to run Merchants, which targets high yielding funds in the FTSE 100.

White added: ‘The investment approach on the fund will continue to focus on high yield companies with the potential for dividend growth.’

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