Picture: 123RF/KANOK SULAIMAN
Picture: 123RF/KANOK SULAIMAN

London — GAM Holding  is weighing cutting more than 40% of its workforce as CEO Peter Sanderson seeks to restore profitability at the Swiss asset manager rattled by investor defections.

The company could reduce employee numbers by between 250 and 350 under one scenario being discussed, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. GAM employed 863 staff at the end of June and is seeking to bring costs in-line with lower revenues since losing key assets.

No final decision has been taken on the potential cuts, which would focus on back-office staff and operations, and GAM could still pursue a different course, the people said. A spokesman for GAM declined to comment.

GAM turned to former BlackRock executive Sanderson to restore profit and reverse an investor flight that was triggered by the suspension of former star manager Tim Haywood in July 2018. The executive is due to present his new strategy to the board in mid-December, the people said.

GAM shares pared gains to trade 0.7% lower in afternoon trade in Zurich. The stock has declined about 29% year to date, tumbling to their lowest since the company was spun off from Julius Baer Group a decade ago.

As the Haywood crisis intensified and clients fled, GAM explored selling itself, holding talks with suitors including Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali, people familiar with the matter have said previously. The process was halted earlier in 2019 and the company is focusing on improving the business as a standalone company, according to the people.

GAM had accused Haywood of insufficient due diligence on some of the investments he made, and of breaching the company’s gift and entertainment policy. He was dismissed earlier in 2019 for “gross misconduct”, though Haywood himself said in February that he was being made a “scapegoat” in the process to dismiss him.

The pace of outflows slowed in the third quarter, after clients pulled Sf7.6bn   in the first six months of the year. Assets under management decreased slightly to Sf135.7bn.

Bloomberg