PA ANALYSIS: Is Old Mutual Wealth’s reshuffle a step forward or back?

Old Mutual Wealth’s multi-asset management reshuffle is a bold and interesting move, but it is far from clear whether it will be a good one.

PA ANALYSIS: Is Old Mutual Wealth’s reshuffle a step forward or back?


The main elements of this from a fund management perspective are the exit of managers John Ventre and François Zagamé and the installation of Ben Mountain and Anthony Gillham as heads of a new ‘investment division’.

With the power of hindsight being all-conquering it is easy to say now that the writing was on the wall for big changes when Old Mutual Wealth’s deal to acquire Quilter Cheviot was confirmed last October.

An acquisition inevitably leads to people leaving both the buyer and targeted company. It is a question of who and how quickly, rather than if.

The recent change at the top of Old Mutual Global Investors, with Richard Buxton stepping into Julian Ide’s shoes as chief executive, also seems to have played a part in this, timed as it is.

Buxton certainly has a large personal stake now in how successful the new unit is given it is happening so early into his watch, and he must have been involved in the decision making process.

Being party to such big change so early in a tenure as CEO is a risky move, with high potential reward and big possible losses. Perhaps nobody should be really be surprised given Buxton has made his name and fortune by backing his strong convictions.

Of course, we do not know the full extent to which the departures involved in this were forced by a desire within Ventre and Zagamé for pastures new, or whether they were ushered out.

Looking at the performance of both managers muddies the waters as it tells two different stories, with Ventre comfortably outperforming his peer group, and Zagamé underperforming.