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Killingbeck to step down as WH Ireland CEO

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Killingbeck to step down as WH Ireland CEO

Chief executive officer of WH Ireland Richard Killingbeck will step down from his role this month.

He will be replaced by Phillip Wale who joins the firm from Cantor Fitzgerald Europe where he spent two years as head of fixed income. He previously served as chief executive of Panmure Gordon.

Shares in the company were 6.2% lower in early trading at 120p.

The company said that Killingbeck (pictured) wishes to pursue other opportunities. He joined the company in September 2012 as head of private wealth management and became CEO in 2013, following a period of intense management turmoil.

The move comes after the departure of wealth head Roddy Buchanan following a difference of opinion over the firm's strategic direction.

Wale started his career in UK gilt edged and convertible bonds, spending 10 years at Goldman Sachs.

Chairman Tim Steel said: ‘The board would like to express its thanks to Richard for his significant contribution to the group over the past six years. 

'During this time, he has overseen the key transformational changes that have positioned WH Ireland as a modern and more efficient organisation. We wish him well in the future.’

The announcement was accompanied by results for the 16 months ended 31 March, with the company reporting a loss of £1.6 million on revenue of £36.4 million, which was up 7.5% on the year.

The wealth management division’s assets under management and administration fell to £2.6 billion, from £2.9 billion in 2017. Of this a little over £1 billion is in discretionary assets.

Fee income rose from £7.6 million to £12.2 million, as a result of the company’s move to a fee based charging structure for discretionary assets.

Steel added: ‘We have made considerable progress continuing the transformation of WH Ireland. However, as we previously stated, this process of change has not been without its challenges given market conditions and the scale of change that we have been implementing; this has resulted in losses being incurred last year - but a much clearer path to profitability is now ahead of us in the new financial year and beyond.

Within the wealth arm, the company expects to achieve £2 million of cost savings.

The business pointed out that it has been in a period of transformation and has also been dealing with legacy issues which resulted in significant costs.

The changes include the consolidation of regional offices, discontinuing unprofitable non-core services and reducing headcount. The biggest cost came from outsourcing its custody and operational functions.

Administrative expenses were £40.5 million over the period, compared to £29 million in the 12 months ended November 2016.

Killingbeck said: ‘Overall, I believe that the significant investment we have made to transform the business will result in positive future benefit for clients, shareholders and staff alike. As a result, the WH Ireland is now at an inflection point - a much stronger business has been created capable of growing faster and more profitably.'


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