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Comment: Colourful former New Star manager returns to the fray

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Alan Miller, one of the City’s most colourful fund managers, has teamed up with Alexander Spencer-Churchill to set up a wealth management firm.

Alan Miller, one of the City’s most colourful fund managers, has teamed up with Alexander Spencer-Churchill to set up a wealth management firm. The former chief investment officer and founding shareholder of New Star Asset Management will officially launch Spencer Churchill Miller next month.

As recently as the tail end of last year, Miller joined alternative investment manager SilverStreet Capital as a partner. But now he and Spencer-Churchill are ready to brave the financial turbulence ands seek to convince cautious investors that the greatest opportunities for profit are at hand.

Miller played an important role in the development of New Star following its establishment in early 2001. He joined from Jupiter, where he had worked with New Star’s founder John Duffield, and is reported to have earned at least GBP30m as manager of the firm’s UK Hedge Fund.

However, the fund later ran into trouble thanks to investments in companies such as Aim-listed Betonsports, which ran into legal problems after its chief executive was arrested in the US, and mobile telecoms firm Telit. He was replaced as manager of the UK Hedge Fund by Guy Crossland in September 2006 and quit New Star the following February.

Meanwhile New Star itself was taken over by rival Henderson earlier this year for GBP115m after an ill-timed pay-out to shareholders just before the credit crisis erupted left it swamped by debt.

The downturn in Miller’s investment performance was attributed at least in part to a lurid personal life. In 2005, the fund manager divorced his first wife, Melissa, taking the case to the House of Lords in a vain attempt to avoid having to pay her GBP5m. During the case, he notoriously claimed that it would have been cheaper to have run her over in a car.

Now remarried and having started a family, Miller’s life seems to have taken a turn for the better, providing him with the stability he seems to need in order to do what he does best, seeking alpha.

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