MMC Asset Management appears to be in crisis, with all three of its remaining investment staff, including chief investment officer Peter Constable, said by several sources to be departing the firm.

Stephen Atkinson, who joined as a portfolio manager last year from Credit Suisse Asset Management’s small cap team, confirmed he had resigned and was “;finishing up in a couple of weeks”; but would not comment further. Small cap manager Charles Dalziell recently left to re-join Maple-Brown Abbott as an LPT analyst (see separate story). MMC chief executive Alex Hutchison, who joined two months ago after running Bridges Financial Services, said he was conducting a full review of the business and would not confirm the future of any investment staff when contacted last Friday. Hutchison would only say the team was “;stable”; and that CIO Constable was “;at his desk today”;, but refused to comment on Atkinson or the other portfolio manager, Brendan Burgess, previously the founder of South African institutional investment business Absa Asset Management. “;When there is change, there is speculation…the review is ongoing,”; Atkinson said. MMC Asset Management’s funds have not generally been stellar performers. Zenith Investment Partners analyst Glen Franklin said high levels of cash in MMC’s flagship Australian equity funds was partly to blame. ASX-listed MMC Contrarian, a company comprising MMC Asset Management and a 51 per cent stake in Edinburgh-based concentrated global equity manager Contrarian, is currently trading around a historical low of 57c. According to its website, MMC Asset Management has $570 million under management.

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