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Leonard’s legacy

Leonard Licht and Mercury Asset Management retained an aura of invincibility in the 1980s and '90s. Even after Merrill Lynch bought Mercury, Licht's approach to UK fund management lingers.

Nicola Horlick

At the height of its powers in the 1980s and '90s as it raced to be the UK's number one investment house, reaching £100 billion of assets under management before it sold itself to Merrill Lynch, Mercury Asset Management retained an aura of invincibility.

Part of the reason that Carol Galley and her co-head, Stephen Zimmerman, sold the business in 1997 was because they had gone about as far as they could in their domestic market and wanted to explore the new frontiers in the US and Asia.

Yet the business had been built firmly around its performance in UK equities, on the conviction of the likes of Galley, Zimmerman and, perhaps even more so, Leonard Licht, a legend in UK fund management.

Among the young fund managers Licht brought into his team were Nicola Horlick and John Richards, both of whom now run SG Asset Management.

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