GPT Halverton has put three of its top management in London on garden leave following a dispute over the direction of the fund management business.

Chief executive officer Richard Croft, investment director Taco de Groot, and new business director Teresa Gilchrist have all left the company.

Croft and de Groot were among the founders of Halverton Real Estate Investment Management in 2004. Australian group GPT took over the firm last year.

A spokeswoman said: ‘There have been some changes given the economic climate. We are refocusing and reshaping for the current environment. Three of the senior team have been placed on garden leave as there was a difference of opinion on how to take the business forward.’

GPT Halverton’s senior management – led by European chairman Jonathan Johnstone, who will now take over day-to-day-management – wants to refocus the business for ‘measured growth and asset management’.

Those who left had wanted to continue to launch new funds to keep up with the market. GPT Halverton has six European funds with total assets under management of €2.3bn (£1.8bn).