Ian Sayers has stepped down as chief executive of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), with his time in the role expected to come to an end on 31 December.

Sayers has held the role since January 2010 but has been with the AIC longer still, joining the firm in November 1999 as technical director.

He has agreed to stay in position while the search for a new chief executive is conducted to "secure the long-term future of the AIC".

Elisabeth Scott, chair of the AIC, thanked Sayers for his "significant contribution to the industry", highlighting his guidance through post-financial crisis "regulatory threats".

"This allowed investment companies to thrive in the low interest rate environment which has persisted since then as investors have sought attractive returns and income opportunities from equities and alternative assets," she added.

"During his tenure, industry assets have almost tripled from £85bn in 2010 to £237bn today."

Sayers described his 11 years in role as "an honour" and thanked the board of the AIC.

"I have been fortunate to lead the AIC during a period when the sector has gone from strength to strength and work with a team which is not just the best in its field but also great fun to work with," he added.

"I have been involved with the sector for over 20 years now and believe investment companies are the best vehicle for delivering long-term capital growth and a reliable income.

"I have made many friends in the sector over this time, and most of all have been struck by how they share the same passion for investment companies and commitment to helping shareholders meet their financial goals.

"It will be difficult to leave, but I look forward to working with the Board to ensure a smooth transition to a new chief executive."

(First published by our sister title Investment Week)