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Trimark Fund manager resigns

FUNDS REPORTER

Tye Bousada has resigned as lead manager of AIM Funds Management Inc.'s flagship Trimark Fund, the latest departure from the mutual fund giant in recent months.

His resignation yesterday from the $5-billion global equity fund follows similar moves by chief investment officer Patrick Farmer in October, and manager Geoff MacDonald last August.

"I've decided to establish my own firm," the 36-year-old manager said in an interview last night.

Mr. Bousada said he does not have a non-compete clause in his contract, and can start his business after Jan. 16 when his resignation becomes effective. He said his decision to leave stems from his entrepreneurial urge.

Dan Hallett, an independent fund analyst, described Mr. Bousada's resignation as a "significant loss" because it not only means a key manager leaving, but also because it comes on the heels of exits by others.

"Those are three high-level departures in a few months," Mr. Hallett said.

Mr. MacDonald, who ran $12-billion in assets in three funds, has been on the sidelines because of a four-month non-compete clause. He will likely start his own shop as well.

Sources say managers hired by Toronto-based Trimark Financial Corp. before it was acquired in 2000 by British-based Invesco (formerly Amvescap) have had trouble adjusting to working for a multinational corporation with its layers of bureaucracy. The Trimark culture was a smaller tightly knit group of people building a business together, a source said.

Mr. Bousada took over the Trimark Fund in 2004 after manager Bill Kanko resigned to start his own company. Mr. Kanko runs funds as an outside adviser for Toronto-based Hartford Investments Canada Corp.

Laurie Davis, president of Hartford Investments, said she has not spoken to Mr. Bousada, but her firm received calls yesterday from industry people wondering if he intended to follow Mr. Kanko as an outside advisor to the firm.

"He's a great manager," Ms. Davis said. "We definitely would be interested in talking to him."

Mr. Bousada, who had worked for Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan before joining Trimark Financial in 1999, was the third lead manager on the Trimark Fund in over its 26-year history. The fund has posted an average annual return of 13.6 per cent since its inception to the end of December.

Trimark Fund was named the best global equity fund in 2007 at the Canadian Investment Awards.

AIM Funds said Mr. Bousada's co-manager Dana Love would take over as lead manager on Trimark Fund. He has also been lead manager of Trimark Europlus Fund since 2003. Bruce Harrop, lead manager of the Trimark Global Balanced Fund, will co-manage the Trimark Fund.

Toronto-based AIM Funds, which is Canada's sixth-largest fund family with about $45-billion in assets, has been suffering net redemptions in recent months, including about $298-million in December.

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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