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The 10 most powerful investment trust directors

Citywire Wealth Manager names the 10 investment trust directors exercising the most power across the sector. As well as those holding directorships over the most single mandates we looked for individuals who have achieved major corporate change and taken the helm of the biggest trusts.

LESLEY KNOX

Chair: 1

Director: 1

Cambridge law graduate Knox may only have one directorship in the sector but it as chair of Britain’s biggest investment trust, Alliance Trust. The £2.2 billion vehicle is Scotland’s 10th largest company and a major employer in Dundee. Knox was instrumental in driving through the merger of Alliance and its sister fund Second Alliance in 2005, a move which also included schemes to improve liquidity in the trust. She recently appointed former Morley chief investment officer Katherine Garrett-Cox as chief executive and will be hoping she can improve the trust’s mediocre performance.

DOUGLAS MCDOUGALL, OBE

Chair: 4

Director: 3

McDougall was a senior partner at Baillie Gifford before he took on a range of directorships. He has also served as chairman of the Association of Investment Companies. He currently holds seven directorships. He is the chairman of Law Debenture Corporation, European Investment Trust, Independent Investment Trust, and Scottish Investment Trust. He is also a director of MonksHerald and Pacific Horizon. In his role at European Investment Trust he recently acted decisively to change the investment manager on the trust from its long-term adviser F&C Asset Management to boutique asset manager Edinburgh Partners.

SIMON FRASER

Chair: 1

Director: 2

Foreign & Colonial investment trust remains the talisman of the sector if only by dint of its position as the oldest trust. The appointment of a new chairman in 2009 was a crucial one. Simon Fraser got the job soon after leaving Fidelity where he had served as chief investment officer. As the trust’s asset manager F&C Asset Management has been losing other trusts because of poor performance in recent months Fraser faces the tough choice of deciding whether fund manager Jeremy Tigue should be using internal or external solutions to populate his asset allocation view. This of course will be small fry compared to the challenges of his role as a non-executive director of Barclays Bank. He also remains a director at Fidelity European Values Trust and Fidelity Japanese Values Trust.

RICHARD BARFIELD

Chair: 1

Director: 4

Barfield was appointed a director of the Baillie Gifford Japan trust in 1997 and became chairman around two years ago. He is also a director of some of Britain’s best known investment trusts including Standard Life Investments’ Property Income Trust, Merchants Trust, JP Morgan Overseas Investment Trust and Edinburgh Investment Trust. In his role at Edinburgh he has been involved in one of the investment trust industry’s biggest corporate changes when the fund was moved from Fidelity Investments to Invesco Perpetual.

ALEX HAMMOND-CHAMBERS

Chair: 1

Director: 3

Alex Hammond-Chambers served on the board of the Association of Investment Companies until 2007. He remains an influential figure in the investment trust director fraternity. He recently stepped down as chairman of Fidelity Special Values trust, having navigated it through the turbulence created by the departure of long-term fund manager Anthony Bolton. He remains a director of Montanaro European Smaller Companies, International Biotechnology, Hansa Trust and Aurora Investment trust which he chairs.

CHRISTOPHER FISH

Chair: 3

Director: 5

Fish, a one-time director of Close International Private Banking, is a director of eight investment trusts, three of which he chairs. Among them is UK Commercial Property Trust, which recently launched an audacious bid to merge with F&C Commercial Property to create a super-sized property vehicle. Fish is also a director of Henderson Financial Opportunities, Loudwater Trust fund, Morant Wright Japan Income and Third Point Offshore Investors. He is chairman of Boussard & Gavaudan Holdings, CMA Global Hedge and the Vision Opportunities China fund.

HARRY HENDERSON

Chair: 1

Director: 0

As chairman of Witan Investment Trust, Harry Henderson was responsible for the bold move to take the trust independent as a multi-manager vehicle, despite his obvious family links with Henderson Global investors, which ran the trust. He became a director in 1988 and was appointed chairman in 2003. In that role he has presided over the selection of a number of chief executives, the most recent of which being Andrew Bell. Before he took on the directorship he was a senior executive at Cazenove.

HAMISH BUCHAN

Chair: 2

Director: 4

Former NatWest Securities’ Scottish chairman Hamish Buchan has been a highly regarded figure in the investment trust sector since the 1970s. He is the non-executive chairman of Turcan Connell’s investment board and a former chairman of the Association of Investment Companies. He is now director of five investment trusts. He holds the chairmanship of JP Morgan American Investment Trust and Personal Assets Trust. He is a director of Standard Life European Private Equity Trust, Templeton Emerging Markets, Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust and Scottish Investment Trust. At Templeton he has been involved in forging compromise between feuding shareholders while keeping star fund manager Mark Mobius firing on all cylinders.

IAN BARBY

Chair: 2

Director: 5

Barby served as managing director of the investment trust division at Merrill Lynch Investment Management until 2003. He is a veteran of some of the brightest investment houses including Warburg Investment Management and Mercury Asset Management. He is chairman of Invesco Perpetual UK Smaller Companies and Ecofin Water & Power Opportunities. He is also a director of SR European Investment Trust, Martin Currie European Investment Trust, BlackRock World Mining Investment Trust, Pantheon International Participations and Schroder Income Growth fund. Should the Europe ex-UK sector of investment trusts ever begin a consolidation phase, then nobody will be in such an influential position.

JAMES WEST

Chair: 3

Director: 4

James ‘Jimmy’ West is an accountant by training but rose to become chief executive of Lazard Asset Management before taking on a wide range of investment trust directorships. He is chairman of Gartmore Fledgling Trust as well as New City High Yield fund and Jupiter Second Enhanced Income. He is also a director of British Assets, JP Morgan Income & Capital, Shires Smaller Companies and UK Select Trust. He also holds a range of directorships outside of the investment trust world.

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