Long-serving Jupiter boss to step down ahead of new growth push

Simon Jessop and Chris Vellacott

By Simon Jessop and Chris Vellacott

LONDON (Reuters) - Jupiter Fund Management's long-serving chief executive Edward Bonham Carter is stepping down to make way for a new guard charged with accelerating sales and international expansion at the UK-focused investment firm.

He will be replaced by Distribution and Strategy Director Maarten Slendebroek on March 17, 2014, and take up a role as vice chairman, responsible for "engaging with key stakeholders" and reporting to Slendebroek.

Bonham Carter, brother to actress Helena Bonham Carter, has run the firm since 2000, overseeing a series of landmark events in its history such as a private equity-backed management buyout in 2007 and a stock market listing in 2010.

Slendebroek joined the company in September 2012 after 18 years at BlackRock, most recently as head of the international retail business.

Insiders say the transition marks a new strategic chapter for Jupiter, focused on boosting assets by stepping up sales and marketing and internationalising the firm's client base.

Bonham Carter's background is in running funds and he ascended to senior management by becoming chief investment officer in 1999.

Slendebroek's strengths lie in distribution rather than fund management.

"It's all neat and tidy. As transitions go, it's a good one," said one Jupiter shareholder, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"The guy who's taking over shows that distribution is the big move going forward. They want to double the assets. He came from BlackRock and his knowledge is international. Ed is a fund manager by background and UK-centric in his contacts."

Jupiter said in a quarterly trading statement in October that assets under management stood at 29.9 billion pounds ($48.9 billion).

Bonham Carter's decision to remain at the firm as vice chairman was taken to ease fears that the generation of managers who pushed through the 2010 listing and remain large stakeholders, are about to sell out.

Bonham Carter is the company's eighth largest shareholder with a 2.8 percent stake worth around 49 million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"While there may be some disappointment at his (Bonham Carter's) loss as CEO, this should be balanced by the value which he can continue to add to Jupiter in his new role, and the obvious talents of Maarten Slendebroek as his successor," said JPMorgan in a note to clients.

"In our view his (Slendebroek's) impact on Jupiter's business and net flows has already been witnessed in the resilience of group flows during a period when the UK retail environment has been quieter," JPMorgan added.

The bank retained its "overweight" stance on the company.

At 1000 GMT, Jupiter shares were up 0.7 percent at 380 pence, slightly outpacing the FTSE mid-caps index <.FTMC>.

(Editing by Mark Potter)