Goodbye, old friend

What’s happened

When Ian Paterson Brown leaves his job as chief financial officer with
Friends Provident’s investment arm, F&C Asset Management, in May, it will
bring to an end a 24-year career with the company. He had worked for both Ivory
& Sime and ISIS Asset Management before ISIS’s merger with F&C in 2004.

Last month ,when it was announced he was leaving, speculation was rifethat it
was down to a difference of opinion with new chief executive Alain Grisay on the
company’s future direction or ownership. F&C has run into trouble after the
merger with ISIS, struggling to meet its own margin targets, and its share price
has tumbled.

What’s next

FTSE100-listed life insurer Friends Provident currently owns a 51% stake in F
&C, and some analysts have offered theories that Friends might sell its
controlling share. The company itself has dampened those rumours, though, by
saying that F&C represents ‘core business’.

Friends Provident itself is a success story with full year financial results
for 2005 showing a 70% rise. Sales were up to £5.4bn in new business compared
with £3.18bn the previous year.

When Paterson Brown’s successor takes over after the F&C AGM on 25 May,
he or she can expect a salary in the range of £600,000, which is the figure the
CFO is being paid.

Grisay has made it clear he wants to build his own team, and for the post to
move from the Edinburgh office to the London HQ. So we can expect the new CFO to
be a close ally of Grisay and Fernando Ribeiro, who has taken up the newly
created job of head of investments.

The CEO has not wasted any time in making his moves. News of Paterson Brown’s
departure comes less than a month after Grisay replaced retiring Howard Carter,
and he will be keen to make further progress to cement his position and set the
company’s course quickly.

Grisay is realistic and has warned that ‘client outflows’, which accelerated
in the final quarter of last year, will continue through the next 12 months. But
he has also forecast more than £33m in cost savings by next year from the 2004

So there will be plenty for the new chief finance officer to think about when
they take over in May, with financial difficulties set to continue through this

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