AIC Chief Exec Ian Sayers to step down


Today it has been announced that Ian Sayers, Chief Executive of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), has decided to step down later this year.

Ian was appointed Chief Executive of the AIC in January 2010, having joined the Association as Technical Director in November 1999. Ian has agreed to stay in position whilst a search for a new Chief Executive is undertaken. A full search will be completed by Odgers Berndtson and further details about the position can be found here. The AIC will make a further announcement later this year and it is expected that the process will be concluded by the end of 2021.

Ian Sayers said: “It has been an honour to lead the Association over the past eleven years and I would like to thank the Board of the AIC. I have been fortunate to lead the AIC during a period when the sector has gone from strength to strength and work with a team which is not just the best in its field but also great fun to work with.

“I have been involved with the sector for over 20 years now and believe investment companies are the best vehicle for delivering long-term capital growth and a reliable income. I have made many friends in the sector over this time, and most of all have been struck by how they share the same passion for investment companies and commitment to helping shareholders meet their financial goals. It will be difficult to leave, but I look forward to working with the Board to ensure a smooth transition to a new Chief Executive.”

Elisabeth Scott, Chair of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Ian for his significant contribution to the industry. Ian became Chief Executive after the financial crisis when the investment company industry faced sweeping changes to European regulation. Ian helped guide the sector through these regulatory threats. This allowed investment companies to thrive in the low interest rate environment which has persisted since then as investors have sought attractive returns and income opportunities from equities and alternative assets. During his tenure, industry assets have almost tripled from £85bn in 2010 to £237bn today.”

Other notable achievements during Ian Sayers’ career at the AIC:

  • Changing company law to allow investment companies to buy back their shares, allowing investment companies to control their discounts for the first time.
  • Winning a landmark case with JPMorgan Claverhouse Investment Trust plc in the European Court of Justice in June 2007 to remove VAT on management fees, a victory that was worth £40 million a year to the investment company industry going forward and recovered more than £200 million in back payments of VAT for shareholders.
  • Successfully campaigning for the abolition of commission on investment products which led to the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). Since RDR was implemented in 2013, purchases of investment companies on adviser platforms have increased fivefold.
  • Increasing retail awareness of investment companies via effective PR campaigns such as the AIC’s dividend heroes and celebrating the 150th anniversary of investment companies.
  • Rebuilding the AIC’s website to make it more engaging for retail investors, with monthly visits increasing from 14,000 per month in 2010 to 60,000 per month this year.
  • Running a high-profile campaign warning investors about the misleading information in Key Information Documents, as set out in the AIC’s paper ‘Burn before reading’.
  • Following the collapse of Woodford Equity Income last year, spearheading proposals for  ‘reliable redemption’ to avoid the problems that arise when daily-traded open-ended funds invest in illiquid assets, as set out in the AIC’s papers ‘Square peg in a round hole’ and ‘Don’t let the tail wag the dog’.

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