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Thames River brand to go into hibernation

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Thames River brand to go into hibernation

The Thames River Capital brand will go into hibernation by the first half of 2013 as the firm's owner, F&C Asset Management, looks to rationalise its funds business under a single banner.

The news follows yesterday's update on F&C's strategic review, which is being conducted by chairman Edward Bramson.

Thames River was coined in a pub by co-founders Charlie Porter (pictured) and Jonathan Hughes-Morgan back in 1998. Since then the brand has continued to be a recognised retail name, even after F&C's acquisition of the boutique in 2010 in a deal worth £53.6 million.

The rationalisation will see Thames River's retail funds assume the F&C name.

While Porter, who is head of funds and investment trusts at F&C, is sorry to see the brand diluted, he said it was important to simplify things for Bramson's strategic review to succeed. 

He also pointed out the Thames River team, which includes investment director Mike Warren, was responsible for the distribution of F&C's entire £10 billion product range, which includes its £5.6 billion investment trust business.

'I think it makes a lot of sense to go to one brand. We are not big enough or rich enough to operate across multiple brands,' Porter said.

'There has been a lot of confusion over brands and now we've got a clarified strategy that is going to need a lot of oomph to get going, we don't need the confusion of multiple brands. For the sales guys it's a complete pain and causes lot of administrative work.'

However, there is a chance of the Thames River brand being revived for certain products. 'Edward [Bramson] is keen to use the Thames River brand for some products. At some point in the future the brand could be used on some specific products,' Porter added.  

He remains fully supportive of Bramson and dismissed speculation that F&C was looking to sell Thames River as part of the review.

Porter said: 'Bramson made it clear that F&C is not selling Thames River but will be investing in it - there is unequivocal support for us.'

He added: 'We have waited a long time for Ed's review - he has done a lot of research into the consumer space. He has kept it simple and focused on what we are good at. It ticks all the boxes and is a huge commitment to the funds and investment trust business. The overriding message is that Edward Bramson is gung-ho for funds.'

Porter also highlighted the progress F&C has made on the institutional side, which he sees as clear sign that Bramson's strategy is proving effective.

'The institutional review happened six months before the retail review and this business has started to win lots of mandates, 80% of which are from new clients.'

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