* Firm is leading drive for shake-up at BlackBerry maker* RIM not available immediately for commentTORONTO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Jaguar Financial , a Research In Motion investor agitating for a shake-up, said two independent RIM directors canceled meetings called this week to discuss complaints about the BlackBerry maker.Jaguar, a Canadian merchant bank that targets underperforming companies, wants RIM to hire a chief executive to replace Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. It also wants RIM to consider putting itself up for sale, either as a whole or in parts.Jaguar Chief Executive Vic Alboini said on Tuesday meetings with directors David Kerr and John Richardson were canceled by RIM’s counsel.”This incident clearly demonstrates the control that management has over the independent directors,” said Alboini.The current co-CEOs have presided over a steady decline in the BlackBerry’s share of the smartphone market and have failed to keep pace with innovations by Apple and others, Alboini and other critics say. Balsillie and Lazaridis, who share the role of chairman, exert too much power over the board, they say.Jaguar says shareholders representing 8 percent of RIM’s stock back its demands, and investment bankers say that figure could grow if RIM fails to address their concerns.Shares of RIM were down more than 2 percent at $22.93 in Nasdaq trade on Tuesday, as the BlackBerry maker launched a three-day developers conference in San Francisco.At the event, RIM said it would soon launch a new operating system to power both its smartphones and the PlayBook tablet computer.
By Ross KerberOct 17 (Reuters) - Fallen stock indexes are expected weigh on the third-quarter earnings of big U.S. asset managers, showing how market turmoil can affect a broad swath of financial companies.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 14 percent during the quarter, finishing at 1,131.42, on growing concerns about Europe’s debt crisis and the U.S. economic and political outlook.The index has come back a bit since then, but the drop cut into asset managers’ share prices and led some analysts to reduce their earnings estimates for big managers like BlackRock Inc and Legg Mason , knowing that lower markets will leave them with fewer assets under management against which to charge fees.”These businesses can’t drop their expenses fast enough to offset the sharp declines in revenue,” said KBW analyst Robert Lee. He said he was not predicting the companies would turn to layoffs soon, even though personnel are usually a company’s highest expense.In a research note last week Lee lowered his estimates for how much the group would earn by 6 percent on average from estimates he issued in early September.Another analyst, Craig Siegenthaler of Credit Suisse, said in a recent note to investors that market uncertainties have had another effect, “de-risking,” such as driving money away from the equity funds that traditionally were among the companies’ most profitable products.Data from Chicago research company Morningstar bears out that idea. Investors withdrew a net of $45.7 billion from long-term mutual funds in the quarter, with U.S. stock funds accounting for nearly all the outflow. On the other hand, low-cost exchange traded funds took in an estimated $19.7 billion in the quarter, Morningstar said.SEASON STARTS OCT. 19An earnings report from the largest asset manager, BlackRock Inc , will start the season on Oct. 19, followed by T. Rowe Price Group on Oct. 25 and Franklin Resources Inc on Oct. 27.A hint of what is to come came Oct. 13 when JPMorgan Chase & Co issued third-quarter earnings that included its own asset-management unit. There, net income of $385 million was down 8 percent from the same period a year ago and down 12 percent from the second quarter of 2011.”This is a business that was clearly … affected by volatile markets this quarter,” said Doug Braunstein, JPMorgan’s chief financial officer, on a conference call with analysts. Though revenue of $2.3 billion was up 7 percent from a year ago, it fell 9 percent from the second quarter.The asset-management business, Braunstein continued, is one in which “we would expect to see continued pressure on revenue in the fourth quarter if the current market conditions persist.”
A UBS spokesman said Fabre’s contract with the bank ended on Aug. 31. During his time with UBS, Fabre was a senior member of the healthcare coverage team reporting to the head of the business, Doug McCutcheon.In a 19-year career, Fabre has worked on mergers and acquisitions and capital raisings worth around $90 billion for clients including Sanofi Aventis , Smith & Nephew and Siemens , Blackstone said.