Collins Stewart recruits to look beyond Aim

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A recently recruited team is to help Collins Stewart attract larger clients as it seeks to shift away from the stricken Aim sector.

The stockbroker has secured 21 new brokerage clients in the investment company sector. Most came from Dresdner Kleinwort when its veteran team defected to Collins Stewart last summer.

Investment companies – pools of assets packaged into listed vehicles – have come under strain as the value of their holdings has declined, but 10 of the newly signed companies will have market capitalisations of more than £100m.

The new business is consistent with the strategy devised by Mark Brown, Collins Stewart’s new chief executive, to shift the stockbroker’s client roster towards mid-cap clients.

Robbie Robertson, who heads the team, said market conditions would affect which assets go into listed packages, with many moving towards yield-bearing assets to reassure investors. “The idea of investment companies is firmly established now, but they are dynamic. Even in the current market, initial public offerings are a possibility for the right company,” Mr Robertson said.

City brokerages focusing on the Aim market continue to suffer as clients reduce corporate finance activity.

Blue Oar, the specialist investment bank, appears poised to be broken up after its incoming majority owner invited executives at the company to launch a management buy-out of the stock broking side of the business.

Evolve Capital, led by Edward Vandyk, who founded Blue Oar’s predecessor company, had an all-share hostile offer for the company declared unconditional on Wednesday after it secured the approval of more than half of Blue Oar’s investors. Evolve has said it wants to concentrate on Rowan Dartington, Blue Oar’s private client business.

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