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Rating:One of Royce's Lieutenants Departs Not Rated 1.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

One of Royce's Lieutenants Departs

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Chuck Royce and his team are adjusting their PM lineup and assignments as one of his key lieutenants heads for the door.

Yesterday Toronto-based Sprott (a publicly-traded company with a market cap north of $600 million) confirmed that Whitney George will join Sprott's U.S. efforts as a senior PM based in New York. George, most recently PM and managing director at Royce & Associates [profile], had served as co-chief investment officer of Royce from 2009 to 2013. He first joined Royce in 1991.

George is also looking to bring two mutual funds, the open end Royce Privet Fund and a closed end fund, over to Sprott. The two funds, which have about $285 million in combined assets, would be Sprott's first foray into the U.S. mutual fund business, aside from the Sprott Gold Miners Exchange Traded Fund launched this summer with Alps and Zacks.

George's move comes after Chuck Royce handed his president hat to co-CIO Chris Clark on July 1, 2014. Chuck Royce serves as chairman and CEO of the firm, a Legg Mason subsidiary. As of September 30, Royce & Associates worked with about $33 billion in assets under management.

Meanwhile, New York City-based Royce unveiled a number of PM changes in light of George's impending departure. Most notably, the $6-billion Royce Premier Fund, which Chuck Royce himself has PMed since launch almost 23 years ago and which is now Royce's second biggest mutual fund, also counts George as a PM. Lauren Romeo will continue as an assistant PM of the fund, and seven-year Royce veteran Steven McBoyle will join the fund as another assistant PM.

Other Royce mutual funds with impacted PM lineups include: the $856.5-million Royce Low Priced Stock Fund; the $162.0-million Royce Global Value Fund; and the $248.0-million Royce 100 Fund.

Clark put the latest changes in the context of a multi-year shift at his shop.

"Over the past several years, we have taken steps to transition the firm from one primarily identified with our iconic founder to one built with a strong and sustainable foundation for continued excellence in smaller-company investing," Clark states.

Royce praises George for the latter's "many significant contributions" to the firm.

"He has filled a number of leadership roles and helped to shape our unique culture," Royce states. "For all of this, I am extremely thankful. We wish him great success in this new endeavor."

And George thanks Royce for "the incredible opportunity" to work with the firm for 23 years. George states that he "will remain a large investor and friend."

As for his new home, George confirms that he plans "to personally build a significant equity stake in Sprott."

Prior to joining Royce as an analyst in 1991, George worked with Dominick & Dominick, WR Lazard & Laldlaw, Laldlaw Adams and Peck, and Oppenheimer and Co.

Sprott worked with CA$7.8 billion (about $6.9 billion in U.S. currency) in AUM as of June 30. In Canada it manages mutual funds and hedge funds, while its U.S. arm has a managed account offering. Sprott also does private wealth and private equity work. 

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