Haywood slams ‘unfair’ Gam as he is shut out of AGM

Former £8.5bn ARBF manager claims Swiss manager has made him a ‘scapegoat’

Gam’s ex-star bond manager Tim Haywood (pictured) has slammed the Swiss asset manager for denying him entry to its AGM in Zurich this morning, claiming he has been “treated unfairly, yet again”.

Haywood, who was sacked for “gross misconduct” by Gam earlier this year, had personally bought shares in the company and flown from London to Zurich on Tuesday to attend the meeting in person. But he was turned away at the door after the fund group claimed several of his shareholdings had been de-registered.

Haywood is in the process of appealing his dismissal from Gam which he claims has made him into a “scapegoat”.

In a statement sent to Portfolio Adviser, Haywood said“I was told only two shareholdings appear to have been de-registered. No other shareholders were barred from attending, it appeared, as a result of this error. I have been treated unfairly, yet again.”

A source told Portfolio Adviser that a Gam employee at the entrance to the AGM explained that Credit Suisse had made an administrative error and de-registered the shares after the cut-off date but added it was not Gam’s fault.

Haywood’s shares were registered and the process to vote the shares was conducted in full and on time and the former Gam bond manager had received written confirmation on 30 April that his invitation to the AGM would be at the desk upon arrival, they said.

They added that he had no desire to disrupt the meeting and was there to listen and ask one question.

Gam said in a statement that Haywood was turned away because he failed to complete the shareholder registration process correctly.

The Swiss manager said: “Registering shares is a very straightforward process, a shareholder needs to make sure that their shares are registered by the registration deadline. In this case, the person failed to do that. Only shareholders that are registered can attend company annual general meetings, this is standard corporate governance process.”

Shareholder rebellion

Shareholder discontent over the handling of the ARBF scandal spilled out into the AGM on Wednesday morning as shareholders rejected a motion that would have granted a waiver to the board of directors against legal action.

Directors and executives failed to get the 50% of the required votes needed to shield themselves from liability in what has been described as a routine vote.

The protest vote was backed by proxy advisers Glass Lewis and Swiss-based Ethos, according to reports, who urged shareholders to oppose a motion requesting they approve the way the company’s board and senior management ran the business last year, in light of the fallout from Haywood’s suspension. A vote against the company would make it easier for shareholders to pursue legal action against executives.

Haywood was abruptly suspended last summer and his £8.5bn Absolute Return Bond Fund range subsequently liquidated, after an internal whistleblower prompted an investigation into his conduct. It was later revealed that the alarm was sounded over illiquid securities Haywood purchased that were related to a biodiesel-fueled power generating business owned by steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta.

The scandal involving one of its most popular fund ranges has continued to take its toll on Gam triggering billions of pounds worth of outflows from other fund ranges and wreaking havoc on its share price which lost more than 75% last year. It also led to CEO Alexander Friedman making a hasty retreat.

Gam is still searching for a permanent boss to replace interim chief executive David Jacob and is also rumoured to be hunting for potential buyers to snap up the business.

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