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Old Mutual sets out ambitious targets.

Byline: Nevill Boyd Maunsell Economics Editor

Old Mutual, the South African parent company of Gerrard, Birmingham's biggest stockbroker, is likely to cut more jobs in Britain, but is confident of the medium-term prospects.

At a London presentation for analysts yesterday Old Mutual spelled out detailed ambitious targets for its UK businesses, but said it would examine the possibility of more reductions in its head count to save costs. Old Mutual employs over 40,000 staff worldwide.

Old Mutual, whose businesses include banking, stockbroking and fund management, still makes around 70 per cent of its profits in South Africa, but has built up a considerable presence in Britain since buying Gerrard in 2000.

A presentation by Mike Bolsover, Gerrard's human resources director, said the group would 'rigorously control costs' in areas including the head count, as well as property and software.

Old Mutual would be 'cutting fat not muscle', he insisted.

Its UK businesses, including the institutional stockbroker Old Mutual Securities and the derivatives broker GNI, made an operating profit of pounds 3 million in the first half of this year.

A slide presentation by Gerrard's chief executive Mr Stephen Clark highlighted the 'collapse of investor confidence' as one of the challenges facing the group. But he added: 'Gerrard will be the leading UK private client wealth creator and wealth manager.'

Looking ahead, Old Mutual said it hopes its UK division will be winning new funds to manage for its clients at a rate of pounds 1 billion a year by 2004. 'The UK is an important leg of Old Mutual's internationalisation strategy,' said Julian Roberts, finance director.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 4, 2002
Words:267
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