LUCY Allan, suspended last September from First State Investments over plagiarism in statements by Scottish American Investment Company (Saints) chairman Brian Ivory, told The Herald yesterday there had been no findings of misconduct against her.

Allan, a 39-year-old high-flier who was head of investment trusts at Saints' former manager First State, also revealed she had changed direction by setting up a consultancy called Workplace Law for Women following nearly 18 years working in the City. This consultancy will offer women advice on their employment rights, specialising in discrimination and maternity issues.

Allan, who has a three-year-old son, said she was studying for a Masters in employment law to complement her practical experience.

The Herald reported on Saturday that Allan, who confirmed yesterday that she was the individual suspended by First State last September pending investigations into the plagiarism, had now moved on from First State.

Ivory's statements in both Saints' 2002 annual report and 2003 interim results contained not his own views but those of Sir Angus Grossart for the unrelated Scottish Investment Trust. Grossart had published these greatly detailed views on world economies and stock markets previously in statements for SIT, and large sections of them were repeated, sometimes word-for-word, in Ivory's statements.

Allan, like First State, declined to go into detail on what had been turned up by the investigations into the embarrassing plagiarism debacle which enveloped Ivory, a pillar of the Scottish business community.

However, she said: ''I am pleased and relieved that, following the investigation First State announced last September, First State has now confirmed that there were no findings of misconduct against me. My employment with First State has ended on amicable terms by reason of redundancy, following First State's decision to exit the UK equity asset class.''

She added: ''I am grateful to my friends and colleagues in the investment trust industry, who have been very supportive over the last six months.''

Referring to Tom Waring, chief executive of First State Investments' UK operations, Allan said: ''I am grateful to the CEO of First State for his help in bringing the matter to a close.''

First State refused to comment on Allan's assertion that there had been no findings of misconduct against her.

A First State spokeswoman merely reiterated a statement made on Friday that the role of head of investment trusts was redundant because the fund management group no longer looked after the (pounds) 341m Saints and the only investment trust it now ran was the (pounds) 51m Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies.

Allan said that although the date of her redundancy was January 30, the details had not been finalised until March 12.

Saints, hours after The Herald reported on the plagiarism in Ivory's statements last September, announced that the ''individual within First State Investments responsible for the initial drafts'' of Ivory's statements had been suspended ''pending the conclusion of investigations''.

Some industry sources suggested at that time that, while Allan might have been singled out by First State, she may not actually have written Ivory's statements but rather have received the drafts from someone else within the fund management group and failed to spot the similarity to the words of Grossart.

Referring to her new venture, Allan said: ''Equality in the workplace is an issue I care about passionately, and I am looking forward to this new challenge.''

Asked if it had been motivated by her experiences at First State, she replied: ''My choice of future direction has been influenced by various experiences during my career.''

Allan, based in London, was appointed head of investment trusts at First State in August 2002, and was responsible for Saints' corporate liaison.

She worked previously for investment bank UBS, and fund managers Gartmore and Mercury Asset Management.

Saints announced in December, in the wake of the plagiarism debacle, that it was moving its management contract from First State to Baillie Gifford. This move was explained in terms of poor investment performance.

Allan said the board of Saints had made ''an excellent choice'' in appointing Baillie Gifford.

She said her Masters in employment law would take about a year. She would do it in the evenings - allowing time to get her new business off the ground and to spend time with her son.