April 8, 2017 / 11:36 AM / 4 months ago

GAM CEO Friedman criticises activist investor's proposals

ZURICH, April 8 (Reuters) - Cost-cutting proposals from activist investor Rudolf Bohli could endanger Swiss asset manager GAM Holding's future, Chief Executive Alexander Friedman said in an interview published on Saturday.

Bohli is not interested in a sustainable turnaround of the business, Friedman told Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft.

"Bohli with his hedge fund is only interested in a short term increase in the share price," said Friedman. "He is not interested in facts and a sustainable turnaround, he follows his own agenda."

GAM's management last week urged shareholders to reject proposals from Bohli's hedge fund investor RBR Capital Investors amid pressure from the group to cut costs and change chief executive.

RBR wants GAM, which is due to hold its annual general meeting on April 27, to cut 353 back office jobs to help lower costs by 100 million Swiss francs ($99.13 million) annually and to fire Friedman.

GAM was already planning to save another 30 million francs by 2019, Friedman said, while the business is doing better this year in terms of performance fees and money inflows from customers.

"Bohli's 100 million francs is a figure plucked from the air," Friedman said. "The demand shows a lack of understanding, and the implementation would endanger the continued existence of the company."

RBR Capital Investors was not available for immediate comment.

$1 = 1.0088 Swiss francs Reporting by John Revill; editing by Jason Neely

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