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RAB Capital appoints Kirwan-Taylor as CIO after fund closures cut assets

London-based alternative fund manager RAB Capital has appointed Charles Kirwan-Taylor as chief investment officer in the wake of a decline in assets as a result of fund closures to USD1.9bn at the end of last year, from USD7.2bn 12 months earlier.

The firm, which shut down 12 funds in November as markets reeled following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, has also hired John Mattimore as chief risk officer. Mattimore is an experienced buy side risk officer, recently holding positions in Gartmore and Old Mutual Asset Management.

In a trading update for 2008, RAB Capital reported that at the end of last year its estimated assets under management totalled USD1.9bn , including approximately USD570m on lock-ups longer than one year.

Aggregate management and performance fees are estimated at GBP51m for 2008
(2007: GBP125m). Following a significant reduction in administrative expenses to approximately GBP40m (2007: GBP86m) it anticipates that operating profit (before tax, interest, impairment charges and exceptional items) will be in line with market expectations.

As a consequence of the effect of market movements on its portfolio of available for sale financial assets, which are principally investments in RAB funds, it expects to take an impairment charge for the 2008 financial year. It also anticipates exceptional charges reflecting a revaluation of the goodwill and intangibles relating to certain strategic acquisitions whose assets under management have declined, and restructuring costs of not more than GBP4m arising from the reduction in product range.

RAB says it continued to generate positive cash flow in 2008 and concluded the year with a strong and liquid balance sheet. At 31 December 2008 the group had in excess of GBP110m in net current assets and investments of which cash represented approximately 50 per cent.

RAB has also announced two appointments. Charles Kirwan-Taylor has been appointed as chief investment officer. He has been the board member responsible for marketing, and took over chief investment officer responsibilities from Philip Richards who focuses on the RAB Special Situations and RAB Global Mining strategies. This is the first time in the history of RAB that the role of chief investment officer has been segregated from that of fund management.

Stephen Couttie, chief executive, says: 'After a very challenging year RAB has been able to maintain its balance sheet strength through positive operating cash flow. We expect that continuing market dislocations will bring further challenges in the early months of 2009 and it is too early to comment on the outlook for the year as a whole.'

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