UK – The chief financial officer of trustee services firm Law Debenture, Peter Skeggs, has left abruptly.

The departure follows a 23.5% decline in its net asset value last year. “After nearly six years as chief financial officer Peter Skeggs left the company on May 23 2003 to pursue new challenges,” the company said in a statement.

Managing director Caroline Banszky will take over his role on a temporary basis. A replacement was likely to be named within three to four weeks, said Law Debenture spokesman Ian Bowden.

He added there was “nothing sinister” about Skeggs’ departure and that the company is doing reasonably well given current market conditions. “We’re not experiencing financial difficulties,” he said.

In February the firm posted a total of 60.5 million pounds (97 million euros) in capital losses for 2002 - compared to a loss of 34.7 million pounds in 2001.

“We remain committed to maintaining a quality portfolio that will add value in the long term,” the firm said at the time. “The trustee services business continues to diversify into related areas, building on its expertise, so as to give a broader base to its earnings.”