Schroders Reshapes Americas Leadership in Pursuit of More Pensions, Other Clientele
Several managers are being promoted to focus on specific investors in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Schroders, the London-based investment firm with $923.1 billion in assets, is reorganizing its Americas client group. The firm promoted several managers on Wednesday who will focus on establishing and deepening relationships with specific types of clients and, ultimately, expanding its business in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.
“We are trying to put the client right at the center of what we’re doing,” said Phil Middleton, who was named the CEO of Americas. He previously oversaw the U.S. and Canada and now will also be in charge of Latin America going forward. Gonzalo Binello, head of Latin America, will report to Middleton.
“Our industry has been very good at product pushing and selling. We should be getting to understand the client much, much better and getting the whole firm much closer to the client and bringing real expertise towards them,” Middleton told Institutional Investor.
Schroders, which was founded in 1800 and has served some of its institutional clients for more than 80 years, manages public and private assets extensively for pension plans, insurers and other investors. But it has been working for years to raise its profile in the Americas.
To help it do that, Schroders also promoted four other managers and tailored their new positions to groups of the most important clientele as part of its latest moves.
Scott Garrett, previously an institutional sales director, is becoming U.S. head of pensions. Garrett, who joined Schroders in 2019 from Systematic Financial Management, has years of experience working with institutional investors. His new group will focus on public and corporate pension plans, defined contribution plans and the investment consultants managing or recommending asset managers to institutions.
Chris Moran, who joined in 2013 and was head of subadvisory, is expanding his existing role and will be the U.S. head of insurance and sub-advisory.
Jon Mackay, previously head of platform distribution, is now the U.S. head of wealth, a unit devoted to platforms used by private wealth managers. Additionally, Nicolas Giedzinski was named head of wealth, U.S. offshore, which will focus on clients and assets domestically as well as family offices.
The asset manager has had success expanding its footprint recently. Among U.S. institutional investors, Schroders was the 76th-most-recognized brand in 2018, according to NMG Consulting’s annual global asset management brand ranking report. But it has made significant progress since: It was ranked 57th in 2019, 39th in 2020, 21st in 2021 and 14th in 2022. Among institutional investors considering asset managers for their environmental, social and governance investing, Schroders’ brand recognition leaped from 14th to third over the past five years. Private wealth management firms are also more familiar with Schroders. In 2018, it was the 69th-ranked firm among so-called retail gatekeepers last. Last year, it was 18th.
Relative to other asset managers outside the U.S., Schroders has become even better known. It was the most recognized institutional investor in 2022, up from the ninth ranked firm in 2020.
“We’re traditionally known as an international and emerging market brand, and you can assume that based on where our assets are allocated, but we have so much more that we can bring to the market in terms of our competencies around the world,” said Tiffani Potesta, chief strategy officer and head of U.S. client group.
Prior to the client group reorganization, efforts were already starting to pay off.
As an example of Schroders working more closely with institutions, Middleton and Potesta pointed to a partnership with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Saïd Business School at University of Oxford on research to quantify how human capital management contributes to financial returns. The asset manager has also established partnerships with Hartford Funds to get more strategies in front of U.S. investors, including a private equity pool that launched Sept. 18.
Schroders was also recently recognized as one of the most effective communicators when it comes to ESG strategies, and it’s one of the few asset managers that receive a positive ESG score itself, according to a separate report.
Investors in the Americas are more familiar with Schroders now, but the reorganization was seen as critical to leveraging that higher profile to expand the business, even when the performance and expertise are strong.
“It’s much more difficult for us to speak the language of the client and understand their side of the table without creating that delineation,” Potesta said. “Moving into those four different segments really allows us to build a model that says: We understand particularly what this client type is facing and we understand particularly how we can help.”