The shogun of foreign investors in Japan has picked up his futon and walked. After 22 years with Schroder, Ed Merner, the amiable American fund manager with the piercing blue eyes, has left to pursue his career with Atlantis, an investment boutique, claiming the merchant bank has become too large for him.
Mr Merner, fiftysomethingish, is one of the merry band that went to the Orient in the Seventies to teach English and ended up in investment. Now head of Schroder's Japan Growth Fund and its Japanese Smaller Companies unit trust (until the end of this month) he built up a formidable reputation among the Japanese as Mr Long Term - and with it the tag of most successful foreigner (yes, the film will star Richard Chamberlain).
Suggestions that Mr Merner's departure will clobber the value of Schroder's funds were quickly denied yesterday, with the merchant bank adopting the "he's one of a team" defence. Andrew Rose takes over at the unit trust with Jonathan Bolton taking the reigns of the growth fund.
Certainly there has been no shortage of opportunities for fund managers of late. The American houses are said to be offering to raid Fort Knox for experienced people, with one US bank paying handsomly for the services of a 73-year-old.
Barry Bateman, the former Unit Trust Association chairman who described the Government's wider share ownership drive as "misguided as the poll tax " is in hot water again. Apparently oblivious to the accepted meaning of the overworked euphemism, the chairman of Fidelity has been winging off memos about tonight's leaving bash for colleague Mary Blair with the honest observation that "she is off to spend more time with her family." Ms Blair has three children.
"When I leave I'll tell him I'm going to be a strippergram," snaps a female colleague.
It is with trepidation that the …