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Rating:Can This Asset Manager Become the Next Wellington? They Want Your Help Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Can This Asset Manager Become the Next Wellington? They Want Your Help

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Mike Woods is trying to create the next Wellington, and he needs your help.

Woods, who took over Rothschild Asset Management as CEO in March, confirms that he is looking to expand RAM's U.S. retail distribution in the way that Wellington has: by making a key mutual fund alliance or two and leaving the retail distribution to those allies.

In a recent interview with MFWire, Woods laid out his vision for RAM, the U.S. asset management arm of the Rothschild Group. In particular, he's looking no more than a handful of partners in the mutual fund space that RAM could subadvise for.

"We're looking five years out. Our goal is vision 2020," Woods tells MFWire.

Historically, RAM's focus has been on the institutional space, and its offerings have been primarily in U.S. equities. Yet Rothschild has a smart beta team in London and lots of alternatives in Europe. He's looking to bring all three capabilities to RAM's U.S. clients, both direct to institutional investors and indirectly to retail investors by subadvising others' mutual funds.

"The common thread of this organization is really risk-management and risk-control," Woods says. "We've always been a huge downside protection manager."

Woods is only one of four key hires at RAM within the past six months. Shakil Riaz, who joined RAM in April as global chief investment officer and head of U.S. alternative portfolio management, will build out RAM's alternatives offerings for U.S. clients. Riaz and Anthony Marzigliano joined together and previously managed proprietary hedge fund investments for J.P. Morgan.

On the distribution side, Joseph Gill joined RAM last month as managing director. And Jen Kulp will join next month as managing director and head of North America retail distribution; she'll focus on SMA and UMA distribution. Gill previously was managing director of business development at Pentegra Retirement Services, and Kulp previously spent more than 20 years at Brinker Capital.

"You will see some additional hires coming up in the subadvisor space," Woods says.

Like the folks at Wellington, Woods doesn't want his team to be directly handling retail mutual funds, variable annuities, ETFs, and the like, or their distribution.

"We're in the process of finding some really good partners to help us on that retail distribution side," Woods says. "There's armies of wholesalers out there for mutual fund companies ... We'd be distracted by building up this huge distribution force to try to sell mutual funds."

Woods also isn't interested in buying or lifting out other investment teams or boutiques, at least not for now.

"We want to do fewer things and we want to do them extremely well," Woods says.

Prior to RAM, Woods served as head of the Americas for the global client group of Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management. He also held top posts at Evergreen (now part of Wells Fargo) and XTF. At RAM, he succeeded RAM co-chiefs Daniel Oshinskie (who remained on as CIO, reporting to Woods) and Mike Tamasco (global co-head of distribution, who subsequently left RAM). 

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