Amid a run of staff departures and a ratings downgrade from Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Investors Mutual Limited (IML) has appointed three analysts as it finishes restructuring the business.

In August, IML appointed former Industry Funds Management head of listed equities Andrew Harrison to lead its quantitative research capability, and Paul Winter as a quantitative analyst from the London office of Bear Stearns. The hires were made after equities analyst Julian Beaumont joined in June from the London office of financial services firm Montpelier Group. The value manager is completing an organisational restructure that would see it assign more analysts to larger sectors, such as consumer staples, rather than designate small, mid and large cap sector responsibilities. As a result, all analysts report to investment director and overall boss Anton Tagliaferro and senior portfolio manager Simon Conn. Yet in a ratings downgrade notice issued last week, S&P said it was concerned that the restructure, undertaken in March after portfolio manager Paul Frost and analyst Shaun O’Malley left the firm, could not withstand the more recent exits of small-cap analysts Peter Moller and Tony Waters, and quantitative analyst Vessela Tasker. Due to an “inability to retain staff”, S&P downgraded its ratings of the boutique’s small caps funds from four to two stars, Leeanne Fook, an analyst with the firm, said in a statement. She said that team instability would “adversely impact the manager’s capacity to effectively implement its investment process”. Tagliaferro said that IML was “committed to working hard and improving performance in a challenging sharemarket”. Last month, Moller joined the internal Australian equities team at Queensland Investment Corporation as a small-caps analyst, while Frost joined MMC Contrarian in June. Next month, Waters will begin work at Ausbil Dexia as a small-caps analyst [see related story].

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