Reduced bonus accruals across most of the industry and cautious, if not “zero based,” budgeting for 2017 set a somber tone for most firms approaching year end 2016. After surveying a large number of firms in the II300, it is clear to us that the cautionary mood of most firms fits the dampened expectations for growth in 2017, despite a consistently improving economy, improving global growth rates, and greater macroeconomic certainty. As one of the industry’s leading consultants told me recently, “The industry is preparing for a number of years of slower growth and leaner times; a lot more belt tightening is still to come.”

Recent Thought Leadership

Leadership Video Series

With this muted backdrop, Wilbanks Partners continued to work on interesting assignments for pockets of the industry where growth was evident. We recently completed a search for the Head of Investments for a $1 billion AUM family office with a complex portfolio of operating companies and extensive international investments in real assets, many of which pursue tandem goals of appreciation and ESG/sustainability.

We are launching or have worked on this year several projects in the areas of the industry that are showing promise. These include investment searches in less efficient asset classes, such as a Managing Director in Emerging Markets Debt for a large international firm, a team lift out of a small/mid cap value managers for a very large private asset management company, the Head of Quantitative Investments for a traditional fundamental shop because of the importance of disciplined investment processes and big data impacts to research, and the Head of Product Management & New Product Development for a major ETF sponsor.

It was great to see that our successful candidate as CEO of Calvert Investments John Streur had been recognized for the extensive financial, investment, and regulatory turnaround of the business with the profitable sale of the firm to a stronger partner, Eaton Vance. He joins Eaton Vance as a Division CEO for their ESG and sustainable investment initiatives.

We continue to develop presentations and thought leadership articles in the fields we work in.

  • Ongoing work at the Board level led to a best practice white paper on governance and recruiting issues for Independent Mutual Fund Directors that has been well received by members of both the Mutual Fund Directors Forum and the Independent Directors Council.
  • An invitation to speak at the SIFMA “Diversity and Inclusion Forum” led to the development of a diversity best practice presentation, based on over 20 years of work in this area at both Russell Reynolds Associates and Wilbanks Partners. We have placed over 30 diverse professionals into senior positions in major firms.
  • Innovative new initiatives in retail distribution with several of our clients led to the development of a market leadership white paper on emerging retail investment and financial advice direct sales and service models. These retail direct initiatives are occurring in parallel to the more widely covered “robo advisor” businesses.

We hope you find the second of our leadership video series with Shawn Lytle, President of Delaware Investments / Macquarie Group, as informative and inspirational as we did.

We look forward to staying in touch and being helpful on recruiting or market intelligence matters. Please call or e-mail George with any questions.