Seymour Pierce appoints Forcier as chief

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Seymour Pierce has appointed a former Panmure Gordon employee as chief executive, as the stockbroker’s current head prepares to head in the other direction.

Tom Forcier, who will take over as Seymour Pierce chief executive – subject to approval by the Financial Services Authority – is head of compliance at the broker. He filled the same role for Panmure from 2005 to 2011, and previously worked for Lazard.

“I believe that we have a great future serving clients seeking quality advice and capital raising skills within the London market,” Mr Forcier said.

People familiar with Mr Forcier said that he had a good reputation as a compliance officer, but noted that he had never held an executive position. He replaces Phillip Wale, who will take over at Panmure next month.

Seymour Pierce is seeking to secure a strategic investment of up to £5m. Three parties are in talks, including backers from Ukraine, and the company hopes to secure the deal within the next month, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

However, one person close to the situation said that the failure of talks could raise the prospect of a takeover of Seymour Pierce by Panmure Gordon, in which the Qatari investment bank QInvest has a 44 per cent stake. Panmure has vowed to chase growth after the recent disposal of ThinkEquity, its lossmaking US subsidiary.

Seymour Pierce, which traces its roots to 1803, is one of the oldest City stockbrokers. Last year a proposed takeover of the company by the Bermuda-based group Gerova Financial collapsed. Seymour Pierce also held talks last summer regarding a merger with fellow small-cap broker Finncap, but the talks ended without agreement.

London’s stockbrokers have struggled since the start of the financial crisis, amid lower trading volumes, downward pressure on commission, and a sharp fall in capital raising. Several brokers have been taken over in the past year, including Evolution Securities and Collins Stewart.

Seymour Pierce has agreed on two other senior recruits, including the appointment of Peter Gingell as financial director and chief operating officer. Mr Gingell previously worked for Wichford Property Management. He replaces Graham Franks, who resigned as financial controller earlier this year.

The company has also recruited Rick Thompson, previously head of the London listings business at the Indian group Religare, as its new head of capital markets. Mr Thompson left Religare after it decided last year to pare back its presence in London stockbroking, which it entered through the acquisition of Hitchens Harrison in 2008.

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