July 20, 2018 / 12:19 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-WH Ireland says Kuwaiti investor transfers stake in firm

(Adds details on transfer of stake, share movement)

July 20 (Reuters) - WH Ireland Group said on Friday that its second biggest investor, Kuwaiti European Holding Group (KEH), had transferred ownership of its 23.1 percent stake in the financial services company. The British stockbroker said the transfer meant KEH no longer had the right to appoint a director to the board of the company. KEH Chief Executive Humphrey Percy has stepped down from his director role with immediate effect.

WH Ireland, which offers private wealth management, wealth planning and corporate broking services, said KEH’s stake was now held by three individuals: Abdulaziz Al-Bader, who holds a 9.21 percent stake; Thamer Al-Wazzan, with 8.56 percent; and Waleed Al-Thaqeb, with 4.09 percent.

WH Ireland attracted investment from the Middle East in 2016 when KEH spent 8.45 million pounds ($11.02 million) to buy its stake to help serve financial services clients across the Middle East and Britain.

KEH, an investment company focused on property, health and leisure businesses, said then that WH Ireland’s business model and strategy was “highly complementary” to that of KEH’s financial services businesses - Armila Capital and Al-Fouz Investment Company.

Two of WH Ireland’s three biggest stakeholders - Polygon Global Partners and Oceanwood Capital Management - are hedge funds.

Spokesmen for Polygon and Oceanwood were not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for WH Ireland declined to comment further when contacted by Reuters.

WH Ireland’s stock was 1.3 percent lower at 1150 GMT.

The firm’s CEO Richard Killingbeck stepped down on Thursday following two years of losses, hurt by reduced transactions from corporate and institutional broking division and continuation of higher costs in private wealth management division.

$1 = 0.7665 pounds Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Maiya Keidan in London; editing by Simon Jessop and Kirsten Donovan

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