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Asset and Wealth Management

Where Do Asset Management CEOs Come From?

Key Findings from an Analysis of CEO Career Dynamics



Methodology

This study presents key findings from an analysis of the profiles and career paths of CEOs in the asset management industry Our analysis included 96 CEOs across 46 large firms and 46 boutique asset management firms.

Summary of key findings

CEOs of large asset management firms:

  • Of the 48 CEOs profiled1, 37 (77%) have been appointed since 2006. Spikes in CEO appointments occurred in North America during the financial crisis and in 2012 in Europe, possibly due to profits failing to recover to pre-financial crisis levels. „
  • Approximately 29% were externally appointed, roughly in line with other industries. „
  • While buy-side experience is prevalent among these CEOs, over half have never held an investment role in their career.
  • There are differences in profiles between CEOs of independent, bank-linked and insurancelinked firms. Bank-linked CEOs often come from buy-side and other non-asset managementrelated parts of financial services. In contrast, CEOs at both independent and insurance-linked firms tend to come from within the asset management industry, most commonly serving as the CEO with a smaller firm prior to assuming their current role.
  • Only one in five CEOs have international experience, which is notably lower than in other parts of financial services. For comparison, in insurance three in five CEOs have international experience.


CEOs of boutique asset management firms:

  • While the CEOs of boutique firms on multi-manager platforms are primarily promoted internally (similar to large firms), the majority of CEOs of independent asset managers are founders.
  • Investment roles are the most commonly-held positions immediately prior to being appointed CEO. Furthermore, the vast majority of CEOs have held investment roles at some point in their careers. This is a reflection of many boutiques still being run by founders who are often investment professionals.
  • Unlike CEOs of large asset management firms, CEOs of both multi-boutique and independent boutique firms tend to have ongoing, direct involvement in the investment process after being appointed to the CEO role.


Recent shifts in CEO profiles:

  • Approximately a quarter of appointments have taken place since 2012. Our analysis reveals three shifts in the profiles of recently-appointed CEOs:
    • Recently-appointed internal candidates: All recently-appointed CEOs of boutiques were promoted from within, as were four in five CEOs of large firms. This is likely a reflection of the need for candidates to know both the product, investor base, as well as being familiar with firm-specific challenges.
    • Sales experience, at the expense of investment experience: This trend is especially visible for boutique firms. It is likely a reflection of the need to have a more client-centered strategy and of investment professionals wanting to remain hands-on portfolio managers, which can become challenging if that person is also to successfully fulfil their CEO responsibilities. 3. Rising emphasis on international experience: This shift only applies to large firms, which already tend to be global or multi-regional institutions

1. Where applicable, we profiled co-CEOs

CEOs of Large Asset Management firms

There are significant differences in CEO profiles across different types of asset management firms

An Overview of the Large Asset Management Firms Included In Our Analysis
 

 

Note: The co-heads of Credit Suisse Private Banking & Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Allianz Asset Management were profiled

 

Route to the Top for CEOs At Large Asset Management Firms
 

 

1. Includes regional subsidiaries of global asset managers
2. Financial Institution includes banks, insurance companies and private banks
3. COO of Asset Management Firm includes the titles COO, Deputy CEO, Vice Chairman and Head of Global Strategy

 

Core Experiences of CEOs of Large Asset Management Firms
 

 

1. Includes functions such as sales, operations, finance and product development

 

CEO “Route to the Top” by Firm Type
 

 

1. Includes functions such as sales, operations, finance and product development

 

CEO “Route to the Top” by Firm Type
 

 

1. Includes regional subsidiaries of global asset managers
2. Financial Institution includes banks, insurance companies and private banks
3. COO of Asset Management Firm includes the titles COO, Deputy CEO, Vice Chairman and Head of Global Strategy

 

International Experience
 

 

 

 

CEOs of Boutique Asset Management firms

Scale matters, as the profiles of CEOs at boutique firms differ significantly from those of large firms

An Overview of the Boutique Asset Management Firms Included in Our Analysis
 

 

 

 

CEO “Route to the Top” by Firm Type
 

 

1. Includes regional subsidiaries of global asset managers
2. Includes functions such as sales, operations, finance and product development
3. COO of Asset Management Firm includes the titles COO, Deputy CEO, Vice Chairman and Head of Global Strategy
4. Financial Institution includes banks, insurance companies and private banks

 

Core Experiences of CEOs, by Firm Type
 

 

1. Looks across the entire sample

 

Recent Shifts in CEO Profiles

Recently-appointed CEOs are more likely to have been promoted internally, more likely to have sales experience, and less likely to have investment experience; at large firms, recently-appointed CEOs are also more likely to have international experience

Three Recent Shifts in CEO Profiles Across all Firm Types

 

 

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Where Do Asset Management CEOs Come From?