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UPDATE 1-Activist RBR chides GAM on revamp response, GAM hits back
April 10, 2017 / 10:56 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Activist RBR chides GAM on revamp response, GAM hits back

(Adds comment from GAM)

By Joshua Franklin

ZURICH, April 10 (Reuters) - Activist investor RBR Capital Advisors on Monday accused Swiss asset manager GAM Holding of not taking its cost-cutting and board proposals seriously enough.

A GAM spokeswoman responded that RBR had meetings in December and February with Chief Executive Alexander Friedman, GAM’s finance chief and its chairman at which RBR’s plans were discussed. RBR declined further meetings with the CEO, she said.

RBR, which says it owns close to 5 percent of GAM shares, is publicly campaigning for GAM to cut costs by 100 million Swiss francs ($99.1 million), appoint three new board members and a new chairwoman, and replace Friedman.

“GAM’s board of directors has not yet responded to RBR, even to indicate whether the reports have been discussed and reviewed,” the Swiss hedge fund said in an open letter to shareholders.

“Furthermore, the current GAM Board has not interviewed any of the proposed RBR candidates. We are disappointed that the GAM board has seemingly not taken our suggestions and work more seriously or even bothered to interview our highly qualified candidates.”

In an invitation to the company’s annual general meeting on April 27, Zurich-based GAM last week urged shareholders to reject RBR’s proposals.

Friedman also said last week the cost-cutting proposals from could endanger the Swiss asset manager’s future.

RBR said on March 30 it will scrap its plans if it does not get enough shareholder backing.

$1 = 1.0091 Swiss francs Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Michael Shields

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