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SVG & iimia founders plan to transform trust into new fund group

SVG & iimia founders plan to transform trust into new fund group

The founders of SVG Investment Managers and one of Miton’s precursor entities have launched a plan to take over an investment trust and turn it into a new asset manager.

The board of Gresham House, a 157-year-old investment trust that sits in the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) UK Smaller Companies sector but also has property assets, revealed that it was currently ‘in discussions’ about the proposals.

These proposals would see Tony Dalwood and Michael Phillips appointed as executive directors of Gresham.

Dalwood founded SVG Investment Managers, now called GVO, in 2002 having previously been a UK equities manager at Phillips & Drew.

Phillips founded iimia Investment Group in 2001, which after several mergers became the Miton Group. Before iimia he founded private client stockbroker Christows, which subsequently became the retail arm of the Evolution Group and then Investec.

Dalwood and Phillips intend to raise £20 million in a share placing for Gresham that would be used ‘to create or acquire a fund management business, to act as the cornerstone investor in a strategic public equity fund and to execute direct investments in public and private smaller companies’.

The duo would be joined at Gresham by Anthony Townsend and Peter Moon in non-executive roles.

Townsend was managing director of Finsbury Asset Management from 1988 to 1998, and was chairman of the AIC between 2001 and 2003. He also chairs several investment trusts, including F&C Global Smaller Companies, Finsbury Growth & Income and Miton Worldwide Growth.

Moon spent 25 years as investment manager of the British Airways Pensions scheme and chief investment officer of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, and also currently chairs stockbroker Arden and Bell Potter Securities, the UK branch of an Australian stockbroker.

Dalwood, Phillips, Townsend and Moon have together pledged to invest at least £1 million of the £20 million to be raised.

Gresham’s board added that ‘early conversations with a limited number of potential investors have resulted in preliminary non-binding indications of interest in subscribing for a significant proportion of the target sum being expressed to the company’s advisers’.

The trust is currently being wound down, but its board argued that the new proposals ‘if brought to a satisfactory conclusion would provide an attractive alternative to the current plan of liquidation’.

However, the board warned that ‘discussions are at an early stage and there is no certainty that agreement as regards the implementation of the proposals, or any part of the proposals, will be reached’.

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