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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What's Next For Gemini's Andrew Rogers?

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Though Andrew Rogers is leaving the Gemini Companies after 16 years, he's not ready to say goodbye to the asset management business just yet.

Andrew Rogers
Gemini Companies
Outgoing CEO
"I'm way too young to retire," Rogers tells MFWire on the sidelines of the 2017 Gemini Edge Conference in New Orleans.

Rogers, who stepped down as Gemini CEO earlier this month but is staying on to help with the transition to new CEO Kevin Hesselbirg, has big summer travel plans; he's taking his family to Paris, Nice, and Barcelona. As for his next career move, Rogers says, stay tuned this fall.

"I want to help somebody create something, in the investment advisory world," Rogers says. "I have a real passion helping advisors create funds and products."

"I'm more of an entrepreneur than a manager," Rogers adds. "I'm more of a bigger picture kind of guy."

Rogers says he's talking to some RIAs "who are pretty dynamic", and he might help them create funds and build out platforms. He wants to "focus on being a partner to advisors."

Yet he'll still be connected in with the Gemini family, too.

"I'm staying on the Northern Lights fund board," Gemini's series trust offering, Rogers says.

Rogers, an alumnus of J.P. Morgan who started in compliance and accounting, has been with Gemini since before it was Gemini. A European firm, Orbitex, bought American Data Services and CLS and several other companies, only to hand those businesses back to their original owners in 2003. ADS founder Michael Miola (ADS became Orbitex Fund Services and later Gemini) teamed up with Patrick Clarke of CLS, and Thus was Gemini parent NorthStar Financial Services born.

Two years ago the private equity firm TA bought NorthStar, and a year ago former Dreyfus chief Jon Baum took over at NorthStar as executive chairman. And now Rogers is handing the Gemini reigns to Hesselbirg. Gemini now has more than 340 employees, 154 clients, 536 funds, and about $50B in assets under administration.

Thinking back on his time at Gemini, Rogers points to the creation of Gemini's series trust business and the rise of liquid alternatives as the two biggest changes that have driven the evolution and growth of the company.

"How do you compete versus the big banks? We had to be more comprehensive, more engaged," Rogers says. "We provide access to the top executives."

"We were not the creator of the series trust but we were the first to really market it," Rogers adds.

Looking ahead for the asset management and wealth management industries, Rogers says, he sees "a huge metamorphosis right now." Rogers argues that the passive-active battle that gets so much attention somewhat misses the point. The real shifts he sees are the "trend towards low, low fees, and the trend towards technology as a way to connect with advisors." While active and passive investing preferences may shift back and forth, he says, the low-cost and tech trends hitting this business are not going to go away or ebb. He expects more industry consolidation, and he predicts big changes in the role of intermediaries, the advisors and B-Ds and platforms that assets managers depend on for distribution.

"Schwab is onto something," Rogers says.

They're getting closer and closer to the end investor, building their own products and models and squeezing out third-party intermediaries, their customer base. Technology does that. Advisors and wealth managers should be a little worried.
"The roboadvisors are not the ones that people should be worried about," Rogers adds. "It's Vanguard and Schwab. People trust them."

Boutique asset managers like Gemini's clients, Rogers says, can create and grow their niches in this changing distribution landscape. But change, he says, is definitely coming, and it's not slowing down.

"I think we're in the early phases of this," Rogers says.

Rogers emceed the Gemini Edge conference this week, a kind of swan song for his long tenure at the firm.

I have had a great passion here. I've loved working with my employees and clients. Besides my family it has been the true passion of my life. It's really hard to walk away.

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