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Soros Investment in Troubled GAM Sends Shares Soaring

A Swiss stock exchange filing from Friday showed that the firm had taken a 3 percent stake in the asset manager.

George Soros’ family office has taken a stake in Swiss asset manager GAM Holding months after a major restructuring and executive shakeup at the company. 

A Swiss stock exchange filing from Friday showed that a subsidiary of Soros Fund Management, SFM UK Management, has taken a three percent stake in GAM.  

GAM investors responded positively to the news: GAM shares closed Friday up more than 15 percent from the previous day’s close, increasing from CHF 4.05 (USD $4.04) to CHF 4.67, market data showed.  

A spokesperson for GAM confirmed via email that Soros has been building up the three percent stake. He declined to comment further. A spokesperson for Soros Fund Management did not return an email seeking comment.  

GAM’s troubles started in late July 2018, when the firm announced that it had suspended redemptions and subscriptions for its unconstrained/absolute return bond funds. The investment firm then suspended the director of those funds, Tim Haywood, for failing to conduct sufficient due diligence on certain investments, among other things.  

Haywood was eventually fired from the firm, and the unconstrained/absolute return bond funds were liquidated. Haywood has since denied any wrongdoing, and a source familiar with the situation told Institutional Investor in February that he planned to appeal the dismissal from the firm.  

GAM started bleeding staff and assets soon after it suspended Haywood. Its chief compliance officer Natalie Baylis left the firm after just four months in late September. The firm announced less than a month later that it had lost $18 billion in a single quarter. Its chief executive officer, Alexander Friedman, stepped down days later.  

Following Friedman’s departure, GAM began implementing a comprehensive restructuring process that involved laying off 10 percent of its staff.  

[II Deep Dive: Nearly Half of GAM’s Board to Step Down

In April 2019, three of the company’s seven board directors announced their plans to step down from their roles. In May, GAM announced that three new board members were elected to take their places: Katia Coudray, the former CEO of Syz Asset Management; Jacqui Irvine, the former general counsel at Janus Henderson Group; and Monika Machon, former senior vice president and treasurer at AIG.  

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