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Activist hedge fund manager Centaurus Capital has dismissed its advisory board, which included the shadow UK business secretary, Kenneth Clarke, and José María Aznar, the former Spanish prime minister.

The other members of the board included economist Thierry de Montbrial, the founder and president of the French Institute of International Relations, and Haruko Fukuda, former chief executive of the World Gold Council.

The advisory board was created in mid-2007 to advise Centaurus on macroeconomic issues. Clearly, a year and a half down the line and into a global economic downturn, that sort of advice is a luxury the hedge fund firm feels it can no longer afford.

Many hedge funds and other financial institutions have an advisory board. Tony Blair, for example, signed up for a lucrative advisory role with JP Morgan after he quit as Britain's prime minister.

Whether or not Centaurus's move will prompt other advisory board lay-offs is not certain, but with investment opportunities scant at present and firms looking to cut costs wherever possible, board members might be advised to keep an eye out for other work.

That's not actually a problem for Ken Clarke. He may have lost his lucrative stipend from Centaurus, but he does have a new job attacking the Labour government's economic policy after his appointment to Conservative leader David Cameron's shadow cabinet last month.

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