UK- Edinburgh fund Managers has finally filled its vacant post of chief investment officer with the appointment of Anne Richards from Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM).

Richards is managing director of MLIM’s Alpha team which oversees e16.9bn in UK equities for segregated pension funds, charities and unit trusts. Richards has ten years experience in the fund management industry having previously worked at Alliance Capital and JP Morgan.

Edinburgh had been looking since October for a replacement to Mike Balfour who resigned following a fall in business. Says Chief executive Iain Watt: “we had an unsolicited approach from Hermes which failed so we had four months sitting in takeover talks and we couldn’t appoint anyone during the bid.”

The appointment will ease the burden of Watt who, as chair of the investment advisory board, has been acting CIO since Balfour’s resignation. Deputy CIO Iain Beattie and the heads of Europe, US and UK small and large cap desks made up the advisory board.

Richard’s appointment will come as a relief to Edinburgh which has endured a turbulent year. Talks with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Hermes, who already owns a 29% stake in Edinburgh, broke down in March and the group’s share price has lost more than a quarter since the beginning of the month.

Edinburgh originally concentrated on institutional business but has built its retail business. “What is very important to us is to make sure we build strength into both legs of the business.

“You need a good committed chief investment officer which we believe we have in Anne and the feedback from UK actuaries has been very positive on her appointment,” says Watt.