The head of Legal & General Investment Management, the UK’s single biggest shareholder with 5 per cent of the market, has announced he is quitting.
Peter Chambers, aged 52, told Legal & General that he wanted to retire in September after five years as chief executive of the insurer’s investment arm.
Mr Chambers was recruited in November 2005 to succeed Tim Breedon when Mr Breedon, also aged 52, was promoted to be chief of the whole of L&G.
Since Mr Chambers’ appointment LGIM’s assets under management have risen from £233bn to £315bn ($357bn to $483bn) and LGIM has become an increasingly important part of L&G. In 2007 LGIM’s operating profits represented about a fifth of the insurer’s total profits at £143m. In 2008, when the insurer reported an overall operating loss of £189m, LGIM reported operating profits of £165m. However, Mr Chambers was never made a main board director, unlike Mr Breedon.
Mr Chambers, who is a non-executive director of the Financial Reporting Council and of the Investment Management Association, has also established LGIM as an outspoken advocate of corporate governance and is known as a forthright champion of shareholder rights.
During his tenure, LGIM has been vocal in its opposition to Sir Stuart Rose flouting accepted best practice when he took on the joint role of chief executive and chairman of Marks and Spencer, becoming executive chairman in 2008.
Mr Chambers came to public notice in January 2009 when he gave evidence to MPs at a Treasury committee meeting in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
In reply to criticism that institutional shareholders were supine and failed to check banks’ excesses, he told MPs LGIM had met banking boards on average once a fortnight in 2008 and had grilled them about their capital needs after the Northern Rock failure.
Mr Chambers, a keen fisherman, informed colleagues on Wednesday – within days of John Stewart’s taking up his post as chairman on March 1 – that he intended to spend a quiet summer with his young family and would not make any decisions until the autumn.
Before joining LGIM, Mr Chambers, who holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, was chief executive of Framlington, now part of Axa Investment Management, chief investment officer of Gartmore, chief investment strategist for James Capel, the broker, as well as a former head of international equities at Citibank Global Asset Management.
Mr Breedon said: “I would like to thank Peter for his significant contribution to the group over the past four years and wish him all the best. Under Peter’s stewardship, LGIM’s active fixed income and LDI [liability driven investing] businesses have become major players in the UK institutional market.”