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City Financial plunges into administration

City Financial plunges into administration

Troubled City Financial has fallen into administration. 

The firm, which runs around £1.2 billion, appointed Jason Baker and Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory as joint administrators on 21 March. 

'The priority of the joint administrators is now is to ensure that the assets of the business are transferred to new owners in a smooth and orderly manner to secure a positive outcome for both clients and creditors,' FRP Advisory said. 

'The administrators continue to progress the sale of the UK and Ireland Ucits funds, as well as sales of the Hong Kong and Singapore subsidiaries. All sales are expected to complete very shortly and further updates will be provided in due course.'  

Companies House filings show that City Financial compliance boss Dallas McGillivray and chief operating officer Ed Orlebar set up a new business called Maple Asset Management on 1 March. The business  is owned by City Financial investor MPI Capital. 

City Financial filed a notice to appoint an administrator on 28 February after assets under management fell from $3.3 billion (£2.5 billion) to $1.2 billion in 2018. 

The firm's chief executive, Robert Hain, said the firm was working with an advisory firm to review its options, saying it had held 'a number of positive discussions'.

Accounts for the business for 2017 show losses before tax mounting to £16.7 million, surging from £1.4 million in 2016, as costs ballooned from £25.6 million to £40.5 million.

They also detailed two loans amounting to a combined £3.5 million, repayable on demand and carrying an interest rate of 12%.    

A subsequent report linked the loans to Hain, who owed the business £965,150, and vice-chair Andrew Williams, who owed it £2.8 million.

Earlier this month, the firm struck a deal to transfer £250 million worth of assets to boutique fund manager Garraway Capital Management. 

This included the City Financial Absolute Equity fund, along with the City Financial Multi Asset Growth, Multi Asset Diversified and Multi-Asset Dynamic funds.  

Absolute Equity managers David Crawford (pictured below) and Ade Roberts, along with Mark Harris, who runs the three multi-asset funds, will move across to Garraway following the transfer.

The transfer came after Wealth Manager revealed City Financial had suspended dealing in its £183 million Absolute Equity fund following a spike in redemptions as the firm battled to secure a lifeline.

City Financial was acquired by former Invesco Perpetual chief Hain in 2006 alongside Andrew Williams, who was head of distribution at Invesco. 

The pair had joined forces to acquire asset managers and launch innovative strategies for institutional and private investors. City Financial was their first acquisition. 

Its buys in the years since include Eden Financial in 2012, OPM Fund Management in 2013 and the funds business of family office Iveagh the following year.

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