FUNDS manager Perpetual has ended more than six months of speculation by confirming that its highly rated equities chief, John Sevior, will not be returning from extended leave.
Mr Sevior, who has had a 17-year career with Perpetual, much of it as head of the equities investment team, is expected to launch his own fund next year.
The move is likely to see superannuation funds pull more funds from Perpetual following the loss of its star stock-picker.
Perpetual has already experienced some $1.2 billion of net outflows from Australian equity funds during the September quarter following the announcement of Mr Sevior's extended leave.
The departure means that Matt Williams will take over as head of the equities investment team with Charlie Lanchester as deputy head. Mr Williams has been filling in since Mr Sevior took leave in July this year.
Earlier this week, Perpetual detailed the restructuring of its sales arm by creating a specialist team to handle the requirements of its biggest customers, the large financial planning groups that recommend its products to investors.
This was aimed at bolstering what many had regarded as a weak spot in its business model, namely the lack of distribution in marketing its funds.
Analysts said Mr Sevior's exit came as little surprise as he had previously given himself a "50-50 chance" of returning from his six-month break. He is reportedly looking to start a new fund backed by Treasury Group.
Yesterday, Perpetual's shares closed 5? up at $20.21.