Alex Hoctor-Duncan splashes £500k on River and Mercantile stock

Takes his stake in the business to 0.22% ahead of Assetco investors giving the acquisition their final stamp of approval


Alex Hoctor-Duncan has loaded up on £500k worth of shares in River and Mercantile a week before it is revealed whether Assetco will take over the business.

A regulatory filing on Thursday showed the River and Mercantile chief executive (pictured) purchased 188,679 shares at £2.56 a piece on 6 April.

Shares in the business jumped to £2.64 after the announcement but settled back down to 261p by the end of trading.

Hoctor-Duncan  joined River and Mercantile’s board last May from Abrdn and became chief executive following the sale of its Solutions business to Schroders. He now owns a 0.22% stake in the business.

His old employer Abrdn is currently the largest institutional shareholder, with a 7.2% stake, followed by Aviva Investors (4.7%) and Unicorn Asset Management (4.2%).

However, that could soon be set to change if Assetco’s all-share acquisition of the business goes ahead on 13 April. The £100m deal has already been approved by River and Mercantile’s shareholders, leaving just Assetco’s investors to give their stamp of approval.

River and Mercantile’s shares have risen over 20% in the last year, spurred by its M&A activity, which has seen it return to pure play asset management. However, most of those gains have been reversed this year, following a volatile period for equity markets with the war in Ukraine and several pieces of bad news for the fund group.

In February founding partner and heavy-hitter Dan Hanbury resigned from the business, followed swiftly by the fund group announcing it had lost a £927m client mandate.

The asset manager recently revealed it swung to a loss over the six months ended 31 December 2021.