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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ivy's Avery Heads Out

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Mike Avery is leaving Ivy Funds [profile].

Michael Avery
Ivy Funds
Portfolio Manager
Hank Herrmann, chairman and CEO of publicly-traded Ivy parent Waddell & Reed Financial, confirms that Avery, 62, will retire on June 30 after 35 years with the company. Avery serves as president and co-PM of Ivy Funds, the Waddell & Reed Advisors Funds, and Ivy's variable annuity offerings.

There is no word yet on any successors for Avery's president role, although according to Waddell's release, "Avery will assist in the transition of his responsibilities to others within the Company." And a spokesman for Waddell tells MFWire that "Mike Avery's duties as co-manager of the Asset Strategy portfolios required the majority of his time and focus."

"Mr. Avery's responsibilities as President will be transitioned to existing officers of the company," the spokesman confirms.

Hank Hermann
Waddell & Reed Financial
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Chace Brundige and Cynthia Prince-Fox will continue to co-PM Ivy's $21.9-billion Asset Strategy portfolios, including the $15.3-billion flagship Ivy Asset Strategy mutual fund, once Avery retires. The Asset Strategy team also includes three assistant PMs and a client PM. Avery has co-PMed Asset Strategy since 1997.

The Waddell spokesman confirms that "there are no plans to add to the [Asset Strategy] team at this time."

Meanwhile, this morning Waddell also issued its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2015. The Overland Park, Kansas-based brokerage beat expectations, by $0.01 per share on earnings and by $10.8 million on revenue.

Yet Waddell reported year-over-year declines in: net income (down 22 percent from Q4 2014); operating income (down 23 percent from Q4 2014); operating revenue (down nine percent from Q4 2014); operating margin (25.3 percent, down from 30.0 percent in Q4 2014); and AUM ($104 billion on December 31, 2015, down 16 percent from $124 billion on December 31, 2014). Expenses also fell three percent year-over-year.

"Heightened market volatility has been a consistent theme throughout 2015, challenging performance and causing anxiety with investors," Herrmann states. "In addition to market challenges, we have had to manage increased redemption pressure and weaker sales in some of our key strategies due in part to underperformance in these funds. In light of lower levels of assets under management, we are evaluating operating expenses to align our cost structure with revenues." 

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