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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Schroder's New CEO Has a Full Plate for 2013

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Schroders' [profile] freshly-minted North American chief executive Karl Dasher has his plate full for 2013.

He intends to integrate the recently acquired value fixed income shop STW into Schroder's organization within the next nine months.

At the same time, he and his colleagues are brainstorming a handful of targeted product launches as well as aggressively growing the firm's sales force. All of these plans dovetail nicely with the sales growth plans recently outlined to MFWire by Schroders U.S. intermediary distribution head Carter Sims.

All of these moves are aimed at one major goal: rapid and decisive growth of Schroder's U.S. presence in a handful of investment specialities.

"On every single asset category, fixed income, equities, absolute return, alternatives, multi asset, there is significant potential for Schroeders to grow in the U.S. We have a very significant offering for investors across the spectrum," Dasher recently told MFWire. "We are blessed to have some top performing products in multi cap international equity, top decile performance. We are starting to get traction in the advisor space as well as the defined contribution investment only category."

But to do that, Dasher has at least three big initiatives to handle this year. They are as follows.

Dasher said that a key element of his plans for 2013 is quickly integrating the recently acquired fixed income shop STW into the Schroder organization, and then running with the advantages STW now provides his firm.

To be sure, buying STW does boost Schroder's AUM: from $24B to roughly $36B. However, STW is know for its expertise in fixed income value management, and Dasher intends to use to expand Schroder's offerings, including what he describes as an "especially good long duration fund" which he says will be promoted as a flagship product by Schroders.

For example, STW's founder, chief executive and chief investment officer William Williamswas named chief investment strategist of U.S. fixed income soon after the STW acquisition.

In the near future, Dasher is looking to launch an absolute return fixed income fund capitalizing on STW's team. He also plans to aggressively promote a number of other absolute return strategies already managed by STW.

"We think that that kind of strategy takes advantage of our global capabilities. Absolute return results for clients will be in high demand," he said.

This year, Schroeders plans to launch in the U.S. between two to five funds.

"We want our range to be comprehensive enough to match unique client needs but we are not looking to be one of those organizations that have many different variations of the same fund done under different brand names," he said.

Areas that Dasher and his colleagues view as ripe for product development include absolute return in fixed income, tax-aware products as well as some extension of equity offerings with a global focus. Multi-asset products will also be important to Schroder.

"All areas represent opportunities to grow the business," he said.

Dasher says that Schroders has been investing aggressively in sales infrastructure over the past few years. For example, he says that the firm more than doubled the people dedicated to the intermediary and private wealth markets in the past three years to approximately 20 sales people now. He said that Schroders will continue to grow this team, but not at the same rate of the past three years. He estimated an expansion of between 25 to 50 percent over the next three years.

"We expect to grow the resource bases in all three channels in an intelligently managed way," he said.

He said that in total, Schroders had a total sales force of between 30 to 40 people, including the institutional sales team. 

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