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Gartmore finds a good alternative

After losing its way in the 1990s Gartmore seems to have turned the corner by emphasizing alternative investments, especially hedge funds and unusual techniques such as managers running long-only and hedge funds simultaneously. Julie Dalla-Costa reports.

Gartmore's new chief
executive, Glyn Jones,
is determined to press
ahead as a specialist
fund manager with
alternative investment

YOU COULDN'T ASK for a better place from which to make a quick getaway than Gartmore Investment Management. A vulture-like rank of taxis lie in wait immediately outside its City of London entrance. And Fenchurch Street Station is next door.

For many people working there in the last few years, this range of escape routes came in very handy as Gartmore's revolving door almost spun off its hinges in the stream of departing staff and new arrivals.

At one stage the joke churned out by its rivals was that the internal phone directory was written on a blackboard because the line-up changed so often.

Once one of the top-five firms in traditional UK balanced fund management, in the 1990s Gartmore suffered more than most from poor investment performance, leading to client defections, management upheaval and regular changes of ownership. Its assets under management have shrunk from a height of £59 billion to £28 billion ($45 billion) in the past four years, not helped by the equity market plunge.

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