Paul Feeney exits after 10 years as Quilter CEO

Steven Levin will assume the top job on 1 November

Quilter CEO Paul Feeney

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Paul Feeney will step down as chief executive of Quilter on 31 October 2022 after a decade at the helm.

His successor has been named as Quilter Investors CEO Steven Levin, who will take up the top job on 1 November 2022, subject to regulatory approval.

Levin joined the company in 1998 in South Africa, so has witnessed first hand its evolution from Skandia to Old Mutual to Quilter, as well as its managed separation in 2018. He moved to London in 2010, where he has held several senior positions including product and propositions director, managing director of Old Mutual International & Europe, managing director and global head of distribution at Old Mutual Wealth, and then chief executive of the UK investment platform until 2017, when he was promoted to his current role.

Feeney said: “After 10 great years, it’s time to pass the baton. It has been my greatest privilege to have served as Quilter’s chief executive. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved, transforming the business from a predominantly closed life book business into the modern, publicly-listed wealth manager it is today, with around £1bn returned to shareholders since listing.”

Prior to joining Quilter, Feeney held several c-suite and senior positions including chief executive of Natwest Private Bank and Natwest Investments USA, group managing director and head of distribution at Gartmore Investment Management, and global head of distribution at BNY Mellon Asset Management.

Transformed business

Levin said: “I am delighted to be asked by the board to be the next Quilter chief executive and am excited by the opportunities for our business ahead.

“I am immensely grateful to Paul personally for his support over the years and to the board for the trust they have placed in me to lead the business. I am fortunate to be inheriting a strategically well positioned business with a strong balance sheet. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues across the business as we continue to meet the needs of customers and advisers and to realise Quilter’s significant growth potential.”

Ruth Markland, chair of Quilter, said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to express our deep gratitude to Paul for leading the business for the last decade and for transforming Quilter into the modern wealth manager it is today.

“He leaves with our very best wishes for his future endeavours. I am pleased to confirm the appointment of Steven Levin as chief executive and that there is an appropriate transition period to ensure an orderly handover. I am confident that Steven will take our business forward and deliver on its potential, supported by the strong executive committee that Paul has built.”

What will the future hold?

The change of leadership at Quilter follows a series of rumours that started in 2016 when several private equity firms, including Bain Capital and Warburg Pincus, reportedly considered making a bid for the wealth manager.

No deal was agreed and, 18 months later, Quilter was spun out of its former South Africa-headquartered parent company, Old Mutual, and listed on the London Stock Exchange. With a final price of £1.45 per share, it gave the wealth manager a market cap of £2.7bn in June 2018.

In January 2020, rumours began to emerge that Warburg Pincus was readying another offer.

Then, in August 2022, more reports came to light about a potential sale of the business with Natwest and private equity firms CVC, Bain Capital and BC Partners rumoured to have shown interest in the business and being in the early stages of submitting an offer.

At the same time, Quilter sold its international arm to Utmost Group in November 2021.

It has been a difficult year for UK plc and Quilter is no exception. Year to date, its share price is down 50.7% at 88 pence, having started the year at £1.78. Since listing in June 2018, its share price has dropped 48%.

This article first appeared on our sister publication International Adviser.

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