UK – Asset manager Threadneedle Investments says it won’t be affected by American Express’s plans to spin off its parent division.

“American Express Co. today announced plans to pursue a spin-off to shareholders of its American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) unit,” the New York-based group said in a statement.

AEFA has more than $410bn (E315bn) “in assets owned, managed and administered” and “a strong international presence with the recent acquisition of UK-based Threadneedle”.

American Express bought Threadneedle from Zurich Financial Services for around £340m in 2003. Threadneedle spokesman Dick Eats said: “It will not affect our business to any great degree.”

James Cracchiolo will be chairman and chief executive of the spun-off firm, which had revenues of around $7bn and net income of $700m in 2004.

“This spin-off will create two distinct businesses and allow them to capitalize on their respective growth opportunities,” said American Express chairman and chief executive Kenneth Chenault.

“As an independent company, AEFA would not have to compete for capital or management resources with other American Express businesses, and therefore would be able to react more quickly to market opportunities for new products, partnerships and expansion.

“We are excited about the opportunity to establish AEFA as an independent financial services company,” Cracchiolo said.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2005.

Meanwhile Gartmore said it has named Vivina Berla as head of global institutional and alternatives in Europe. It said she was formerly at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.

It also named Niall Quinn as a business development director for UK institutional. He joins from Goldman Sachs. Angus Woolhouse has been promoted to head of UK institutional.