How long can a securities services industry breathless with excitement about fund management in-sourcing do without a man who toiled for twelve years at the operational end of a fund manager before switching to the custody business eight years ago? Alistair Reid has obviously felt no need to rush back to the City after he parted company with JP Morgan/Chase at Christmas-time, since he is not short of job offers. With two skiing holidays and a fortnight on Spanish golf courses under his belt, Reid is happy to have taken the time to ponder whether he should re-surface in the securities industry as a custodian, a fund manager, a prime broker, a hedge fund manager or an industry statesman. But he says he expects to start making choices within the next few weeks.
The market in Reids is unlikely to be short of buyers. He not only has long and highly pertinent experience of custody, securities processing, fund accounting, but a record of unswerving commitment once his mind is made up. Reid may have worked for four different firms in the last eight years but he chose only one himself. Lured from Morgan Grenfell Asset Management to Barclays as head of custody at a time when the British clearing bank looked like becoming the European answer to Citibank, the unexpected withdrawal from the business by the powers-that-be at Lombard Street took Reid first to new owners Morgan Stanley and then (post the merger with Dean Witter) to final purchasers Chase. The wonder is that JP Morgan Chase felt they could part with their head of out-sourcing at the very time it was struggling with its first major fund management out-sourcing contract: Schroders.