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69: THE ECU GROUP

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Six months is a long time in business. When ECU, a company that helps homeowners take out multi-currency mortgages, filed its last results, the housing and financial markets had yet to implode. The Mayfair-based company was managing in excess of £900m for its portfolio of 15 banks, institutions and high net worth individuals. Sales had increased from £2.9m in 2005 to £9.1m in 2008, with compound growth at 47.4 per cent. The essence of the business is placing debt (such as mortgages) in currencies that fall in value relative to sterling, with ECU then taking a commission on any profits made. It’s fair to say that things are not as they were. "In common with other investment managers, we saw redemptions in 2008,” says co-founder Charles Romilly. “This calendar year’s performance to date has been excellent and funds under management are rising again. We believe the overall prospects for the business are extremely good." Romilly founded ECU in 1988 with Michael Petley and John Royden, before it became a subsidiary of ED&F Man in 2000. Petley led a management buyout in 2003, and he and Romilly still serve as directors in the company.

www.ecugroup.com

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