Shareholders vote on Monday on parent group’s move to reintegrate QPE investment arm

Bruce Carnegie-Brown has left private equity giant 3i.

The departure of the managing partner of 3i Quoted Private Equity (QPE) – an investment arm which holds a major stake in the Jelf Group – leaves doubts about the consolidator’s future.

Carnegie-Brown (pictured above) is believed to have left the company ahead of its impending acquisition by parent company, 3i, that will see it wound back into the main group. Shareholders will vote on the move at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Monday.

But market sources expressed surprise that Carnegie-Brown, a former Marsh chief executive, would not be staying to manage its reintegration into the group, and the relationships he set up with Jelf and other companies.

One senior banking source speculated that 3i would sell off the investments.

3i QPE currently holds a 28% stake in the Jelf Group. Carnegie-Brown sits on the board as a non-executive director, although it is understood that he will relinquish this position.

3i QPE invested £29.8m in Jelf in February last year, raising its stake to 27.9%. Alex Alway, the Jelf Group chief executive, said then that the investment would give the broker access to a £700m war chest. He could not be reached for comment this week.

Jelf has made a number of hefty acquisitions with 3i QPE’s backing. However, its share price has taken a battering, falling 70% in the past year to 76.5p.

In it results for the year to 30 September 2008, group revenue rose 59% to £63.1m.

Another 3i investment arm, 3i Growth Capital, took a £50m equity investment in the Hyperion Insurance Group last year.

3i has had its own troubles this year. Philip Yea, its former chief executive, quit in January after the group reported a £682m fall in the value of its top 50 investments. It now is believed to be considering selling stakes in some quoted companies to pay debts.

3i said it could not make any comment ahead of Monday’s EGM.