For a sector that should know better than most how M&A so often proves a triumph of hope over experience, UK asset managers do love a merger – and, over the last 30-odd years, perhaps none more so than Henderson and its various incarnations. As it joined forces with New Star in early 2009, for example, I was particularly tickled to read the company enthusing about taking “a quantum leap” towards becoming a top-five UK player.
Why so pleased? Because the comment was from an International Herald Tribune article on Henderson’s purchase of Touche Remnant from Société Générale at the back end of 1992 – an impressive piece of archiving by the paper – and a gift for a journalist characteristically late in filing 700 words. Even more so, for one unashamed to thrash the cliche about those who ignore the mistakes of history being condemned to repeat them.
In a similar vein, for this piece I plan to ask, in due course and perhaps more politely, how the group is making the most of its latest merger – the result of Henderson Group’s 2017 deal with Janus Capital – but it turns out there is no need. Ali Dibadj, who took over as chief executive officer of Janus Henderson Investors in the summer of 2022 and is speaking on-screen from New York, is effectively sitting in front of the answer.
It is a large banner showing a pyramid divided into four layers, labelled ‘Purpose’, ‘Mission’, ‘Strategy’ and ‘Values’ and, to be fair, it is well away from the worst of its kind, where a consultant starts with a thesaurus and ends with a string of cryptic crossword clues.
Standing firm, however, I stick to my traditional icebreaker – how would Dibadj characterise the triangular relationship between asset managers, intermediaries and end-investors?
To read the rest of this article visit the November edition of Portfolio Adviser Magazine