Perpetual Chief Executive Chris Ryan does not spend his time thinking about John Sevior.
“John is on leave and we’ll talk to him when he’s ready,” says Ryan, who became CEO about six months ago. “There is a strong morale in the team. It’s not just about one person. There are 27 people in the team who continue to do well. No one at Perpetual is talking about John Sevior.”
Sevior says he is “50-50” about returning to Perpetual as a fund manager. He plans to speak with Ryan at the end of the year or early 2012 about his future.
Ryan says the closure of Perpetual’s Dublin office, where Perpetual managed about $900 million in international stocks, was both a decision to cut costs and make the company more productive.
“The business did not meet expectations in terms of performance and cost,” he says. The change in managers will garner “$7 million in after tax savings for Perpetual,” he says.
Seventeen people have lost their Perpetual jobs in Dublin, eight of whom were involved in making investment decisions.
“It’s about making sure the right people are in the right positions in the company and removing people that don’t fit,” says Ryan. “You’ve always got to remain vigilant on costs. The next stage for us is growth.”
Wellington Management will manage about $750 million in international stocks for Perpetual.
Ryan says the company’s three businesses: investments, which comprise about 50 per cent of revenue, financial advice which is 30 per cent, and corporate trust services, 20 per cent, are all profitable.
The majority of fund flow into Perpetual comes from individual investors, he says.
“We support 12 per cent superannuation,” says Ryan. “It will help close the retirement-savings gap. Yes it’s good for the industry.”