We've compiled a list of who we consider to be the most influential digital leaders in the global asset management industry. Who else should be on this list? Use the form at the bottom of the page to suggest someone for our consideration.
This list isn’t about social media, we’re not using number of followers on Twitter, or connections on LinkedIn, or any complex algorithms to create a leaderboard. This list is created from good old fashioned research and contains digital leaders who we know are active in the industry, based on their achievements and contributions to digital transformation in the world of investment management. Help us grow the list by telling us who should join, with reasons why! [last updated May 2019]
In alphabetical order:
As one of BNY Mellon’s most prominent spokespeople for digital in recent years, Mary Jane Ajodah makes our list of digital leaders, now working as the Vice President of the firm’s Chief Digital Office.
Before joining BNY Mellon, Mary Jane held the position of Internal Strategy Consultant at IBM, helping to develop its Digital division, enabling enterprise clients to purchase products through a digital sales capability. Mary Jane’s projects here helped develop an understanding of agile methodology, web analytics and SaaS platforms and won awards in 2014 and 2015. Since working at BNY Mellon, Mary Jane has paved the journey for fintech and emerging technology partnerships, as well as developing one of the earliest proofs of concept for blockchain technology. Working in the Strategy team, Mary Jane has led a partnership with Goldman Sachs to develop another early proof of concept for the Symphony industry utility to boost operational workflow, as well as managing relationships with fintechs and vendors. In very recent news, BNY Mellon and BlackRock have announced an alliance for the former firm to incorporate their data and servicing tools into BlackRock’s investment platform Aladdin.
Elsewhere, Mary Jane is a key thought leader, speaking at such events as Symphony Innovate 2017 and 2018, and Finovate Fall 2018, where she has featured in video interviews to discuss the importance of major digital innovations in the financial space, including AI and machine learning.
Going from a history of digital roles and bringing those expertise to the asset management world is Rina Amin, now the Global Head of Digital Strategy at Janus Henderson Investors for the past two and a half years.
Starting out her career for Loyalty Management Group, Rina honed her skills in web design by acting as Website Manager, responsible for leadership in digital projects as well as the production of all content for nectar.com and Nectar for Business. This role also brought in many digital marketing skills, from advertising campaigns to developing brand guidelines, to managing change requests, information architects, web analytics and dashboard reporting, and SEO.
Making the move into asset management at Threadneedle Investments, Rina became the firm’s Multimedia Manager, responsible for the upkeep and development of all 15 country websites, as well as developing e-communications strategy for the UK and regional marketing teams. After similar roles working with content editors, marketing teams and leading digital projects at Vanguard and Octopus Investments, Rina has brought her wealth of knowledge and digital prowess to the team at Janus Henderson Investors in the EMEA and APAC regions to boost its technological capabilities.
With a firm basis in financial services, Michael started as a Project Manager at Capital One before leading data architecture teams for consulting firm PWC. With this blend of financial and technological expertise, Michael led system integration programmes for IBM, focusing on online banking, CRMs, data and analytics, before specifically running advisory services for financial services firms at EY regarding their digital strategies as Digital Banking Advisory Director.
Now at Lloyds Banking Group, Michael has held the post of Head of Customer Journey Design, focusing on end-to-end digital transformation to improve customer journey experiences and implementing a coherent service design across all of the firm’s transformation labs - a large undertaking. Now as head of Innovation Design, Michael helps to bring design innovation across many projects, and collaborates closely with the fintech community. Michael is a prominent thought leader for product design, UX and CX in the financial services industry and has spoken at events including CXC 2018.
Alexia Barra acts as the Head of Digital Marketing for the EMEA and LATAM regions of Janus Henderson Investors’ business, where she brings a wealth of knowledge from a sales and marketing perspective.
Having worked at AT&T before joining the asset management world, Alexia has worked on many digital ventures, including the launch of the former’s CRM, and defining commercial strategies for financial advisers. Combining digital and marketing expertise has followed in Alexia’s role at Janus Henderson; in her tenure here so far, she has acted as the lead for the launching of 24 websites for the EMEA and LATAM regions, specifically centred on Spain, LATAM and Benelux, and she also led the design and implementation of content. Since 2018, she acts as a channel marketer too for the Spanish and Latin American markets.
Her leadership skills and knowledge of CRM, CMS, communication and business strategy and website creation and management make Alexia a key digital influencer in the asset management space.
Sarah has had experience in marketing throughout her career, starting in PR and Communications before becoming a Marketing Manager at DealMarket in Switzerland, bolstering skills in media planning, social media analysis and email marketing. From there, Sarah has focused on digital to become an industry expert in Switzerland, building promotional campaigns and using her PR knowledge to ensure the most engaging web content for Aberdeen. She was also responsible for the coordination of the Company Ski Championships.
Online branding is one of Sarah’s main skills; now at UBS Asset Management she is responsible for creating content and maintaining the firm’s online presence through the creation and maintenance of a website and affiliated apps.
Sarah has since been promoted to Head of Global Digital Marketing at UBS as a result of leading digital campaigns successfully for over 5 years.
Having worked at GAM Investments since 1998, Colin Bennett has worked his way up through many different teams to his current post as Global Head of Digital Distribution, and is a well-known leader in the financial services space.
Beginning as an Executive Support Analyst at the firm, Colin provided IT support for GAM founder Gilbert de Botton, as well as to the sales and client support teams, known for his original concept of ‘PresTech’ (Presentation Technology) which has now led to Colin’s role as an innovative leader in fintech. In his decorated career, he has been responsible for the development and execution of GAM’s marketing sales and distributed technology portfolio which includes an in-house portfolio of cloud-based applications, systems and services. He has also led a project to revamp their 10 year old website, and is responsible for leading their client reporting technology, and fund fact sheet and KIID production, plus marketing content.
Colin is also very active via LinkedIn, sharing statistics and articles pertaining to technology in financial services, engaging heavily in the discussion of digital topics in the industry. He is credited as a co-author for ‘The WealthTECH Book’, tackling digitising client advisory and robo-advisors.
Starting out his career (and move into marketing) at Fidelity, Adam has also worked marketing stints at BlackRock and Columbia Threadneedle before joining GAM in 2017. Adam had the responsibility of consolidating his marketing team; a 45-strong workforce split across different locations. He juggles many other roles including leading all face-to-face contact, marketing campaigns, events and sponsorship, investment communication and digital channels including the website and social media platforms. GAM has unveiled an internal digital platform under Adam’s leadership to boost email marketing automation for its investors, working closely with a digital team to best service its customers.
In an interview with CopyLab, Adam has stressed his desire to build the most distinctive and reliable brand for GAM’s clients, using data to best connect the sales team to customers and drive a personalised experienced in terms of content; “micro-marketing” pieces along with blog entries and social media posts can help with this important push for marketing professionals in the industry.
Juggling event and internet marketing, creative design and digital properties is Rob Brown, the Global CMO at BBVA and based in Madrid, whose experience has resulted in him leading the firm’s worldwide digital revolution.
Starting his career in finance for First USA Bank (now Chase Card Services) and Barclaycard, Rob moved up from marketing roles to the Head of Creative for the latter company. He was selected to build and lead the first in-house creative team for business partnerships, marketing strategies and pitch materials (print, video, interactive) for Barclaycard’s credit-card business. He then got promoted to Managing Director and Head of Global Design and Digital Office, leading the company’s global design team (growing them from 9 to 130 persons) to deliver client experiences across all Barclays’ businesses, stationed in the US, UK, South Africa and Lithuania. Rob was also Design Director and executive mentor for their accelerator program RISE, and launched their first design language project worldwide.
Now at BBVA, Rob leads digital sales, marketing, design and responsible business. He has brought onboard 200 designers in 11 countries for BBVA’s digital push; BBVA Experience is their digital platform allowing bank designers around the world to create banking products and services on a mass scale, made successful by Rob’s global design team.
Michael Browning has an array of skills that he has applied to the digital and financial realms, and is now the Head of Digital and Marketing Services at Artemis Investment Management, handling the firm’s digital delivery across all channels whilst managing data, print and presentation documents.
Michael’s foray into finance began at the Bank of Scotland, where he served as Manager for Emerging Channels; from 1993, he was responsible for leading the bank’s web and digital strategy in their early stages. He then boosted his role as a manager as Head of Accounts at DC Interact - a digital media communication company - where he helped build the company. Michael then became a fully fledged digital leader at Altogether Digital Ltd, where he oversaw large web development projects with usability consultancy and building knowledge of SEO and PPC, and social media strategy. Michael primarily dealt with banking and financial industry clients including RBS and Artemis Fund Managers.
Michael has adapted his project management and knowledge of the financial industry to become a leading marketing figure with a great focus on the digital side of things, looking at outsourced technologies and the boosting of PR and communications for Artemis Investment Management, where Michael has worked for the past 6 years.
Stewart Conway acts as the internal marketing head for BMO Global Asset Management, handling much of the expertise in digital, design, content, fact sheets and the core components of a marketing strategy.
The fund management arm of the Bank of Montreal acquired F&C back in 2014 to push out a global offering and brand overhaul. Since joining the firm around 18 months ago, Stewart has taken to consolidate his central team operating in silos by way of coaching and nurturing talent in different areas – those skilled in project management and those more involved in creative processes. On top of this, Stewart is spearheading the technological changes in BMO’s strategy, implementing new systems to improve communication with clients such as a new content platform for sales teams.
Stewart and other members of the BMO team also participate in philanthropic endeavours. Last year they raised £42,000 as part of CASCAID’s fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital by walking around the M25.Read our 2018 interview with Stewart here.
Bringing an extra dose of design flair to the financial services industry is Jennifer Clarke, Head of UX & Design at Vanguard, whose expertise lends itself well to the desired focus on user experience for digital products in banking and beyond.
Jennifer has a Masters of Science in Human Computer Interactions (HCI), where studies into design research and web development led her into the insurance industry, first of all. At 21st Century Century, she was responsible for building the company’s very first Product Team of UX Product Designers and Agile Scrum Masters. Her main interest in bringing together human behaviour and technology has made Jennifer a leading UX master, also working at Farmers Insurance before now working within the asset management industry at Vanguard, one of the world’s largest companies in the sector.
With asset managers looking to build amazing digital experiences for their customers, Jennifer is clearly a digital leader in her knowledge and implementation of UX design, as well as being highly skilled in Scaled Agile, Lean UX, Kaizen, Scrum and Risk Management.
Starting her career with UBS as the Events and Sponsorships Manager, Tina is now the Director for Digital Marketing, from her 13 years’ of experience within the wealth management sector. UBS is one of Europe’s leading financial brands, and Tina is responsible for developing the firm’s content strategy for the UK market; this entails expertise in lead generation, SEO, user experience and cross-channel marketing, specifically centred on digital products and services, but not forgetting traditional marketing communication channels also.
Tina is an excellent user of LinkedIn, keeping up to date and sharing UBS’ digital news, as well as tech developments in the wealth management sector as a whole. She also acts as a digital spokesperson for UBS at events, including at Hearsay Summit - an annual conference for top leaders in marketing, sales and digital. She featured in an insightful interview in 2018, which can be viewed on YouTube.
Based in Sydney, Australia is Rodney Dickson, a key and experienced digital marketing professional within asset management, whose experience in multi-channel marketing, digital strategies and user-centric design has followed throughout his decorated career.
Starting out in digital marketing for Tourism Australia, and as a Marketing Manager in Australia and New Zealand for Dominos Pizza, Rodney has a wealth of knowledge in online branding, CRM, email and mobile marketing whether it be for B2C or B2B companies. His first placement within the financial sphere was as Head of Digital Marketing, Retail and Commercial Markets, Asia for RBS where he launched large integrated product launches for the firm’s wealth management, credit cards and loan products, as well as the rebranding and launch of regional corporate and SME banking websites, promotional microsites and wealth management websites.
Rodney’s digital prowess was also present as Head of eBusiness Asia Pacific for Fidelity International, furthering marketing through web content, videos, and developing UX design. Now as the global marketing head for Colonial First State Global Asset Management, he is responsible for all worldwide digital content distribution, online marketing and CRM development for the firm.
Committed to serving the wealth management world with the greatest developing technologies is James Dunne, who heads the digital investing platforms for Banco Santander, and has experience in different markets worldwide.
James started at Banco Santander in 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, working his way up to Director of Commercial Development, before assuming the role of Director of SME Markets, US & Europe in the Madrid Area. Here, James designed the banks’s SME banking model, recognised by Euromoney in 2016, and has furthered his role as a strategic director in the UK too, heading the digital investment agenda for its newly created wealth management division.
Elsewhere, James has been responsible for the management of Santander’s ’Investment Hub’ advertising campaign in 2017; a personalised experience for today’s customers in collaboration with the FCA and various fintech partners and asset managers. He is a keen user on digital channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and shares Santander’s excellent digitally-focused campaigns, which you can see on YouTube.
Working at Sapient Global Markets for almost twenty years, Jarlath worked as a global lead driving and building great UX experiences for the company’s capital markets and commodities clients - specialising in interaction design, and visualisation for desktop, and mobile. At this role, his leadership skills also became paramount in his position as Vice President of Solutions, Innovations Partnerships which entailed identifying and evaluating solution to transform business through innovation. He was also a prominent content writer for the company.
Now at Wellington Management, Jarlath acts as a digital influencer by creating experiences that are rich in content and powered by the best technologies on offer. Jarlath has also acted as a speaker for digital in the asset management world at such events as TSAM.
With knowledge of both consumer marketing and asset management marketing strategies, Vincent Forestier has become an experienced head within the investment world, now situated at Swiss boutique manager Unigestion where he is Head of Digital Marketing.
Honing his skills in Business School, and then starting his career in Paris for cosmetics company L’Oréal, Vincent has found that the same skills involved with client communication can be transferred to the financial industry. Digital plays a key part in regulatory matters for financial companies; Vincent has brought his experience in fully understanding the product and regulatory requirements (which can often be complex) to his role as a head of digital, and feels that bringing in outsiders from the industry and fueling their passion for the investment industry to bring new ideas is the ultimate goal for managers in asset management.
Wendy built her career at Skandia - an investment firm that was acquired by Old Mutual in 2006 - where she assumed various roles across the company’s design, consultancy, and business analyst teams. Her digital expertise stems from her early work as an application designer, before assuming more senior roles in project management to develop offshore systems to support financial services product launches. She then assisted in constructing a unified IT system for Old Mutual Wealth, embedding appropriate programme governance across a worldwide IT department.
Wendy ended her tenure at Old Mutual Wealth as a delivery lead and product owner on an agile/SCRUM development team, focused on a digital and customer-first strategy - a role she has taken with her to Quilter.
Ryan Glister is an experienced head lying at the intersection of many different job roles. Whether it’s operations, sales, finance, information technology or procurement, Ryan is a strategist and leader with knowledge of every part of the business.
Now in a role at Transamerica, Ryan Glister is a senior marketing professional with a leaning towards digital; this being a skill transferable throughout his career at financial institutions including Western Union where he held posts as a Manager of Finance and a Director of Global Operations. Throughout his tenure here, Ryan was responsible for the training and coordination with external vendors, many being in the tech space. He has previously worked as a Financial Analyst and Program Manager for a scientific solutions company.
With a wide range of skills in various roles and industries, the streamlining of marketing operations and knowledge of marketing technology come naturally to Ryan who continues to lead digital teams with a strong analytical lean.
One of the hottest and most divisive digital trends in asset management is cryptocurrency, with the industry split between the support or the shunning of these assets. Leading the case for investments in crypto is Adam Grimsley.
As an ex-BlackRock employee for 8 years, Adam worked as a Fixed Income Specialist where he specialised in business development and relationship management. After a brief stint on the Fixed Income team at L&G Investment Management, Adam then joined Prime Factor Capital with his ex-BlackRock colleague Michael Wong, which made big news in the investment world. Using his investment expertise in a tech guise, Adam is part of a team committed to becoming the “BlackRock of crypto asset managers”.
With over 20 years of experience in managing client portfolios, Prime Factor Capital utilises both quantitative and qualitative methods to deliver exposure to investors in the crypto assets market. As this firm is one of the first of its kind, Adam is certainly a recognised digital leader in the industry, looking to the future of investments.
Miton has coped with multiple changes in the past several years, from disposing of a sister firm, to the acquisition of Darwin and seven fund launches in as many years. Mark Harper, Head of Marketing, is also seeing the digital transformation of the business as the next stage of its drastic development as a smaller business.
The firm is making a switch from Microsoft Dynamics to Salesforce in order to streamline a distribution strategy through the world’s largest CRM, as well as leveraging other digital channels to best handle what they consider the most valuable digital asset today: data. From email, video, social media, content and their website, Mark is hoping to best harness the way that Miton can store data and best use it to communicative effectively with their clients, on top of the sales-customer relationship which can be accentuated through technology.
Thorsten Heymann has spent the best part of 11 years at Allianz Global Investors, where he has held a range of positions. Starting as the Head of Strategic Sales Planning and Steering, his role has evolved into the Global Head of Strategy, which he has held for two and a half years.
This umbrella term means that Thorsten is responsible for products, corporate strategy, and corporate branding and marketing as well as technological transformation. This places Thorsten as a leader in the digital marketing space; he regularly shares Allianz GI’s video content, event photos, and thought leadership pieces from LinkedIn, which highlight the company’s digital strategies worldwide.
One area which Allianz GI is committed to is Artificial Intelligence. Late last year, the company hosted its first ever London Hackathon. Looking to find an AI company to invest in and develop optimisation approaches, the company is determined to disrupt the investment decisions process through technological means. Thorsten acted as the host of the event, and has been featured in articles by such publications as Finextra as one of Allianz GI’s top digital spokespeople.
Having worked in financial institutions for her whole career, Jill Holohan has held many posts from project management to director, but now has taken digital product management skills to become Fidelity International’s Global Digital Director.
Jill joined the firm in a newly created role of UK Propositions which forecasted her digital responsibilities, including running the overall development of Fidelity UK’s roadmap, working through four key distribution channels. The firm has embarked on a multi-year Digital Transformation Programme, looking to become one of the largest disruptors in the industry. Jill continues to run a team that drives implementation through their digital roadmap. The Fidelity group, whilst being a 72-year old business, has in recent news shown its keenness for innovation through a new platform called Fidelity Digital Asset Services, and developing new technologies through Fidelity Labs. Hence, the digital leaders in the firm such as Jill are spearheading a new technological revolution for asset managers.
Chief Digital Officer at Fidelity International Ian Hood has had a varied career, but all of his former roles have had their grounding in digital, whether it’s as an online sales manager or website manager for Direct Line insurance, or a head of commerce at AXA.
Becoming a fully fledged digital leader in his 5 plus years at RSA, Ian’s responsibilities included building out a digital strategy using marketing technology, web design and user experience knowledge and data and analytics, as well as scaling business and aligning digital organisation across the world. At Fidelity International, Ian leads a digital team with locations in Japan, Hong Kong, UK, Germany, China and India, showing his qualities in efficiently collaborating for a global business through technological means.
Elsewhere, Ian is a thought leadership personality on all things digital - his own blog touches on personal musings as well as articles on product design and agile - and he shares all of his material via LinkedIn. As a digital specialist in financial institutions for over 20 years, he is an experienced voice in the field.
Starting his career at Allianz GI back in 2010, Tom began focusing on the UK retail market acting as a marketing manager and delivering many digital touchstones for the company. Namely, Tom was responsible for developing the company’s first-ever social media strategy in the UK, building on the content marketing front by acting as the creator, editor and producer for Allianz’ Risk Matters magazine and the Unconstrained Thinking blog. On top of this, we managed an award-winning educational campaign entitled #SmartRisk and managed the production of product marketing document brochures and regulatory literature as well as the full digital presence of Allianz GI.
Tom is also a regular speaker at financial events to discuss his points on digital transformation, and has featured in popular marketing publications including The Drum.
Andrew Hunt, having just moved to Legal & General Investment Management from 16 years at Hermes Investment Management, has had a successful career in digital marketing. Starting out as a graphic designer in the financial sector, Andrew has a keen design eye which he has since applied to his role as a digital marketer.
Whilst at Hermes, Andrew acted as an Associate Director responsible for the development and delivery of the company’s strategic digital marketing activities, which made use of new media strategies and techniques including email marketing, webinars, social media and video webcasts for the website, which was continually developed under Andrew’s leadership.
Now at LGIM, working as digital marketing manager in their ETF division, Andrew will look to apply his expansive digital experience to an exciting space in asset management.
At the head of innovation at Jupiter Asset Management is Paul Kay, who is well aware of the asset management industry’s need to remain at the forefront of technological advancement, particularly in regards to cybercrime, and regulatory compliance to remove manual processes.
Jupiter, in order to help find a solution for MiFID II compliance, recently installed Aladdin, BlackRock’s proprietary investment platform (also known as an investment book of record). This was of course a large-scale implementation challenge, but one which the team succeeded in before the due date, taking data from Aladdin to Jupiter and using an EDM to store it for client reporting.
As a forward-thinking technology professional, Paul has high hopes for the future of asset management; the furthered use of video conference calling, and the outsourcing of infrastructure to major cloud providers including Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform for instance. Jupiter has already appointed a cloud architect for the first time in its history.
At the forefront of Schroders’ digital evolution is Graham Kellen, whose digital team has led a successful year for the asset manager in terms of disruption.
Not only did it launch a pilot of a chatbot messaging service through Facebook Messenger – SchrodersGO – but it also launched its own accelerator program named Cobalt in order to find new fintech partners to further their growth in technological capabilities. In October 2018, Schroders took a stake in Qwil Messenger as the first company to join the scheme.
Graham also acted as the chair of the Velocity Advisory Panel; Velocity is an accelerator set up by the Investment Association providing a bridge between fintechs and asset managers, Graham leads the 24-strong advisory group, and is also an active user on Twitter, acting as an influencer and strong advocate of technological progression in the financial services industry.
Investment banks are furthering their foray into digital, and one notable example is JPMorgan Chase, under the leadership of Kelli Keough, PhD, its Global Head of Digital Wealth Management.
Managing to update the digitalisation of a global conglomerate must be a difficult task, but Dr Keough is an experienced head in all aspects of the wealth management. Before joining J.P. Morgan back in 2015, Dr Keough held the title of Senior Vice President of Trading Services at Charles Schwab where she was responsible not only for improving client experience and the education of Schwab’s trading clients, but also the handling of its digital platforms. Her team drove business results through creative omni-channel sales and marketing, an in-person chat service and updating the digital experience through mobile, web and desktop trading platforms.
Now at J.P. Morgan Chase, Dr Keough is behind its latest digital service: a self-directed trading platform called You Invest, which went live at the tail end of 2018, introducing a new way to trade online commission-free.
Jet Lali has had a highly decorated career in digital, proving to be a force of innovation across such financial institutions as JPMorgan Asset Management, BlackRock, UBS, and now State Street Global Advisors.
In his seven year tenure at JPMorgan AM, Jet served as a project manager, a site manager for the Americas and finally as Global Internet Programme Manager, where he was responsible for business intelligence (statistical measurement and competitive analysis) and development, as well as technology implementation of AJAX and RSS among others. His focus on digital followed to his role as head of eBusiness for BlackRock’s iShares ETFs, where he managed websites, tools, data, CRMs and implemented a distribution strategy alongside integration projects for IndEXchange and BlackRock mergers.
Elsewhere, Jet has served as a practice Head of Digital at Alpha FMC, providing consulting and implementation services to some of the largest asset managers in the world. Bringing his experience to State Street Global Advisors, the firm plans to build a “best-in-class digital platform” to engage better with clients and prospects, with Jet’s expertise being invaluable in achieving this strategy.
Being in the ‘digital’ side of things for the past twenty years, Ed Lecky-Thompson is a prominent digital leader for the financial services space, with half of this time being situated in asset and wealth management.
Ed started his financial foray into technological leadership at Charles Stanley & Co. as Global Head of Digital. In his time at the company, Ed helped lead the proposition design and delivery for the award-winning Charles Stanley Direct initiative, a way for users to manage their accounts by digital means, through desktop and a mobile application. Ed has continued to drive digital innovation at financial services companies, moving on to Aberdeen Asset Management and finally Schroders, where he has held the post of Global Head of Digital Strategy and Innovation, and now Global Head of Digital Propositions, focusing on technology platform implementation and the drive for a digital/hybrid wealth management model.
Ed has a clear emphasis on building customer-facing services, and at Schroders has made strategic investments in Benchmark Capital (a technology-led adviser support business) and WeInvest (a Singapore-based fintech provider for wealth and asset managers), looking to build bridges between the traditional firm and disruptive technologies. Ed also acts as a speaker at industry events, including TugLife IV last year, and Horizons: Future of Fund Management 2019.
Going from an intern of market intelligence to the Global Head of Digital at BNP Paribas Asset Management is an impressive feat, but one achieved by Edouard Legrand, now a digital marketing professional with 10 years’ experience in the industry.
In his role Edouard leads a team of 20 people remotely, all of whom are digital specialists, from product owners to UX designers in order to build tools such as mobile applications, learning platforms and websites in order for advisors to better promote their products to clients. Currently, the team is developing tools to help advisors across all networks of the BNP Paribas group - private banking, retail banking etc. – alongside their Gambit subsidiary, a specialist in automated financial consulting.
The Group’s strategic plan for 2020 outlined that 70% to 80% of projects are linked to digital transformation initiatives, and they organize Digital Days to train BNP Paribas employees using innovative methods from leaders in digital and fintech, with Edouard’s leadership steering the ship.
One of the industry’s most experienced marketing professionals is Isla Mackenzie, who has handled marketing execution and project management for companies including Standard Life Investments, Macquarie and Colonial First State.
Isla is now the Director, Global Head of Marketing and External Communications at Aviva Investors, taking experience from her past roles in tasks such as managing teams of marketing professionals in the UK, building sales growth through multi-channel means, and developing relationships with partner firms’ project and marketing teams. At Aviva, she has developed a new media relations and thought leadership strategy to build engagement, integrated a new CMS, rebranded a global website with digital tools, scaled the team and refreshed their multi-asset, global investment solutions and real estate marketing platform. She now leads a team of over 45 marketing professionals across Europe, APAC and North America.
On top of this, Isla is an award-winning marketer, boasting such achievements as Marketer of the Year 2016 at Investment Week Investment Marketing and Innovation Awards, leading her team to Marketing Team of the Year in the same year, and Best Campaign Innovation at the same awards evening in 2017. You can read more about her brand-building expertise in an interview with Copylab.
With over 15 years of experience in the marketing game, Anne-Marie McConnon is a leading expert for asset management, having worked for companies including M&G Investments, Barclays, and now BNY Mellon.
Specialising in B2B Marketing, Anne-Marie has been an award-winning marketeer in her tenure at BNY, having won Investment Week’s Marketer of the Year 2015, and even the Most Innovative Event 2015 for the BNY Mellon/Newton Womenomics event launch. In the realm of digital, Anne-Marie has led initiatives that have become industry-first, including the first financial blog in asset management. Technology has become a key instrument in marketing BNY Mellon’s multi-boutique model; innovation in content publishing and distribution is high on the agenda for BNY to best benefit staff, investors and clients.
Christopher Murphy has headed Aegon Asset Management’s digital marketing function since his tenure at Kames Capital, whose business operations became part of a multi-brand strategy including the former and TKP Investments.
The digital marketing team in the partnership services the institutional and wholesale markets in the UK and Continental Europe, with Chris taking his experience as a digital head with a website focus. Starting his career as a web design manager, Chris then made the move from design to marketing for Adventi, an IT support business, before managing accounts for a web-based technology company for large-scale B2C clients including Disney and Coca-Cola Enterprises.
Now in the B2B space, Chris helps to run websites and marketing campaigns for the multi-brand business, with particular emphasis on Kames’ three different blogs: BondTalk, Sustainability Soapbox, and TalkingStock. He regularly shares their wealth of content via LinkedIn, containing thought leadership pieces and market commentary.
Generali Investments released a brand new website back in September 2017, as part of a large scale wide digital transformation initiative across three separate sites – a global dot com site, a fund manager website based in Luxembourg, and a retail site for Germany. At the head of the Italian asset management firm’s digital re-brand is Giovanni Ricciolio.
Giovanni has over 15 years of experience in project management, and in particular IT and digital technologies within banking and utilities. Having previously worked at Reply France to offer innovative solutions to the group in such spaces as mobile and digital media, big data and cybersecurity, Giovanni has taken his expertise in digital implementation to Generali Investments.
In more recent times, Giovanni has overseen another front and back-end enhancement of their website platform, featuring an excellent fund centre with data-driven fund pages; a great example of UX design within asset management.
The role of digital influencer can span many different disciplines: defining a marketing strategy takes into account analytical data, search engine optimisation, content production (written, video, or otherwise), social media, website design and maintenance and project management. One of the individuals that juggles all of these roles is Columbia Threadneedle’s Head of Digital Delivery, Adam Roberts.
Adam has almost 15 years experience in the financial world, starting out his career in communications roles at two of the largest banks in the UK, before becoming a digital marketing professional at Brown Shipley for three years, where he leveraged his skills to enhance the brand’s website through new media capabilities – in particular online videos which are becoming ever the more important. Adam coordinated a strategy for both B2B and retail/consumer marketing, these skills making him a leading financial marketer with a head for digital. Now at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Adam has been promoted to Head of Digital Delivery as of last year to make an impression with innovative digital transformations, including a new web launch.
Zoe started her career as a Founder and Director for Zed Studio Ltd., a design consultancy specialising in point-of-sale advertising. With clients boasting Nokia and Unilever, Zoe then took her design flair to Ace Academy as a Lead Designer and Project Manager responsible for print, web advertising and marketing campaigns, and supplying art direction for on and offline marketing and website planning.
Zoe has since taken her expertise to Architas where she has worked through many digital roles - from Senior Designer to not only manage teams and deliver product experiences and a thorough brand push across all literature, but also to analyse new trends in technologies for the financial services space. As she has progressed in the company, Zoe has also held the role of Digital and Innovation Lead for the UK and Europe, working with partners on digital and marketing schemes, and implementing new digital tools (in-house or third party) for the company, also working as part of AXA UK for their ‘innovation program’.
Zoe now heads the Innovation team to establish a design mindset and agile working throughout the company, putting her at the forefront of financial services’ innovate leaders. She has featured as a speaker for such events as the Digital Integration in Wealth Management Conference, and has appeared in video as a digital spokesperson for Investment 20/20.
As co-head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Andy Saperstein is in for a big year, as the firm plans a large technological takeover for 2019.
Towards the end of last year, the company unveiled plans to launch a complete digital dashboard, what they believe to be the first of its kind to bring together all of its adviser technology suite. Named WealthDesk, it will see whether the large investment from Morgan Stanley into technology will be used actively by advisors to construct portfolios and open digital accounts. It will look to help advisors tap into $2 trillion worth of assets outside of the firm, and its portfolio risk platform is powered by BlackRock’s Aladdin.
Saperstein last May called this Goals Planning System (GPS), stressing the necessary use of the company’s cutting-edge technology, as a way for the firm’s 15,000+ brokers and advisors to gain bigger shares of clients’ assets. It plans to leverage advisors to propel its digital-first strategy in its 2019 compensation plan.
Robin Stevens, now Aviva Global Investors’ Global Head of Digital, has his roots in design and brand marketing for companies including the BBC and Eversheds, now displaying these two avenues in a more digital sense in financial services.
First developing an experience in digital and media for financial services whilst at McConnells Group (where Lloyds TSB Commercial was an account he handled), Robin has since become a full-on branding master, rolling out global campaigns and rebrands across businesses. Starting out at Aviva plc in 2006 as a Senior Marketing Manager, he was responsible for strategy and customer and internal communications. Moving into the Head of Digital & Marketing Services for (what is now) Aviva Investors, he was in charge of this global rebranding, implementing a CMS, new website and sales enablement through Salesforce.
Robin is now the Global Head of Digital to best communicate with customers through content creation and distribution, implementing the worldwide digital roadmap and strategy for the firm. He has spoken at such events as Wealth 2.0, and acts as a thought leader for digital transformation through other panel discussions.
Bringing experience from the world of copy and editorial work is Legal & General Investment Management’s digital leader Kassie Siwo-Gasa, who has over eight years of experience in financial services marketing.
Kassie started her career as an Assistant Web Editor for American Express Sharepeople, where she established high copy standards of content; a trait that would follow in her path as a marketing consultant. Also, compliance issues for financial services rely on the use of accurate disclaimers, which Kassie also built in her earliest roles, and she keenly supports the use of infographics and brand recognition in marketing collateral. She spent 7 years iat M&G Investments, maintaining a digital strategy for advanced customer experience, moving up through the ranks at LGIM to manage defined digital marketing projects and the development of digital experiences for institutional clients.
Keeping within the financial service space, Samantha has also worked at F&C Asset Management as a Marketing Executive before joining Insight Investment in 2007. As a Senior Marketing Associate, Samantha’s role including working for the channel marketing team, responsible for the UK institutional client and consultant channels, as well as handling content and fund literature updates. One key aspect of Samantha’s professional career is the organisation of events, including consultant seminars and client training programmes, and she now heads the events team after handling other marketing roles within the firm.
As Digital Marketing Manager, Samantha led her team in a technological overhaul of Insight Investments, by handling the website, intranet, email communications, and social media channels, and the role also involved the production and distribution of content such as webinars, video, podcast, and apps. Now as the Head of Digital Marketing and Events, she also manages stakeholder and agency relationships alongside upholding digital channels and implementing new strategies.
Working in both B2C and B2B environments is a great advantage for marketers, and M&G Investments’ Digital Marketing Lead Silvia Sechi has 20 years of experience in digital marketing, now acting as the driving force for M&G’s digital campaigns.
Early in her career, Silvia has worked for a leading packaging equipment company, as well as setting up her e-commerce jewellery website, but the majority of her marketing for asset management space comes from working for one of the UK’s largest banking institutions: Barclays. She has led as both an e-channels manager and a marketing manager, meaning that her digital skills in such fields as marketing automation, organic and paid search, social media management and brand advertising are to the highest standard. Throughout her years here, and now almost 10 years into her tenure at M&G Investments, Silvia is an expert on digital project management, SEO, mobile application, client-servicing tools, as well as popular marketing channels and products including Google Analytics, Instagram, Youtube, Wordpress and Sitecore.
Given the experience Silvia has in leading marketing teams with a digital-first strategy, M&G Investments stands as a successful innovator in financial services.
With over 15 years of experience in the financial sector, and covering roles from Customer Relations to Business Development, Anji Stewart is a skilled strategist with advanced knowledge of digital marketing tools.
Since working at RAB Capital, Anji has handled CRM databases and organized the integration of many CRM systems following acquisitions. Further developments in Anji’s career have led to management roles making her responsible for implementing a marketing strategy for all distribution channels across Europe, including the management of literature and updating websites, as well as maintaining relationships with investors, family offices and institutions. The relationship aspect of a fund marketer is phenomenally improved through use of digital.
Anji has now been at Wellington Management for over 4 years, and the Head of EMEA Marketing for half of that time, making her a renowned leader in digital marketing industry-wide.
Starting out at the firm as a Marketing Director back in 2006, Pascal moved into management roles to become responsible for marketing account managers, then leading several global marketing projects as the deputy of the Global Head WM Product Marketing. After more responsibilities in leading global initiatives and programs, Pascal moved into digital as the Head of Digital Marketing Channels in 2015, where he headed the project for a new product and service naming architecture, back and front end.
This technological expertise has been followed by other roles in the firm for Pascal including Head Digital Lead Generation, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of a digital lead strategy and co-led the worldwide digital client acquisition initiative. He now holds the role as Head of Digital Business Development.
An esteemed and experienced financial services industry professional, Pascal has grown from a marketing expert to a digital leader in this transformative period for the sector.
Bringing insight from a degree in Applied Psychology and Computing, whereby human computer interaction and interface design became a specialisation, Neil Thornburn has applied his digital professionalism at J.P. Morgan for the past 3 years.
Neil has in-depth experience in planning and managing digital campaigns across a wide range of industries and channels. With companies ranging from a medical group to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in the UK, Neil has been at the forefront of their digital transformation in a business sense: campaign conceptual support, e-commerce, mobile strategy and solutions, social media campaigns, analytics and CRM management.
As well as leading the EMEA division for J.P. Morgan, where he brings his experience from B2B organisations to the B2C space, Neil also acts as an External Board Trustee to the students’ union at the University of Kent, assisting in its role to be a sustainable and responsible organisation for its members and the educational support system.
BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) has recently announced the hiring of Hilda Tingle to the newly created role of Global Head of Digital Marketing, a role well suited to an established digital professional with experience in marketing automation and digital transformation.
As the Head of Marketing Operations towards the end of a 12 year tenure at J. P. Morgan Asset Management, Hilda was responsible for spearheading three functions specifically in digital: email marketing, marketing services and marketing applications with staff spanning the UK, US and Hong Kong. Her post as Head of Digital Engagement at J.P. Morgan prior to BNPP AM accentuates her role as a key figure in digital for asset management. She has also worked for a marketing and advertising company – J Walter Thompson – outside of the financial world.
In her new role, Hilda will be responsible for the creation and delivery of the firm’s global social media and digital campaigns in conjunction with the firm’s regional marketing teams.
Starting out in a B2C capacity at Unilever before making the move into the financial world is Dominic Traynor, BNY Mellon’s Global Head of Digital Experience, who has 20 years’ worth of digital marketing expertise.
At Unilever, Dominic was responsible for client communications, advising key brands on media channels and the use of direct, experiential, and mobile and web marketing. He also implemented CRM programmes for brands including Persil and Dove. In the financial space however, Dominic continued to work on relationship marketing at RBS, then onto a Digital Marketing post at iShares during its acquisition by BlackRock, and subsequently the Head of Relationship Marketing as well as the Head of Digital and Director Marketing, EMEA for the firm.
After a stint as Head of Digital at M&G, Dominic is now the a worldwide manager at BNY Mellon bringing his vast digital marketing experience, and is also a regular speaker for industry events, particularly at those hosted by Financial Services Forum where he serves as Chairman of the Digital Steering Committee.
With over 22 years of experience in the marketing realm, Liz Waldron now heads the Digital and Marketing divisions at Vanguard, Europe. Liz has headed marketing teams, covering communications, PR and advertising throughout her whole experience within the financial world.
Beginning her career with an innovative mindset, Liz won the Marketing Magazine award for innovation for developing Franchise Company’s first intranet, before moving into the investment and financial services sphere. Finally taking on a fully digital role at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, Liz became their eBusiness Director, responsible for multiple projects including: the development of a mobile strategy, with a focus on the production and delivery of iPhone and iPad apps; the build-up of a strong digital marketing team; implementing a social media strategy across both B2B and consumer channels; managing the delivery of a secure client website; development of online guidance tools and web capabilities in retirements.
With a strong track record in all things digital, Liz has brought this prior experience to Vanguard where she is responsible for the digital and CRM teams in Europe, focusing on business transformation, web management, digital marketing and customer experience.
One of the most prominent digital leaders in the financial services industry is veteran Sonia Wedrychowicz; a globetrotting professional who now heads technology transformation for JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Sonia has been at the digital helm for some of the world’s largest banks; first in her native Poland at Citibank before moving to Malaysia and Singapore. At the latter’s largest bank, DNB - noted by Forbes as “The Best Digital Bank in the World” - Sonia was responsible for leading their digital journey, rolling out a groundbreaking API launch and playing an instrumental role in delivering digibank by DBS to India and Indonesia, leading UX and project management teams.
Sonia has also held other leadership roles, such as Chairman of the Board of Junior Achievement Foundation, and brings her 20 years of experience in the financial world to JPMorgan Chase & Co., looking to boost the investment services firm’s technological capabilities.
Taking a more unconventional route into financial services was Jay Wightman. Rather than working his way up through multiple roles in financial firms, Jay has come from a B2B marketing background; the supporting of sales teams through long sales cycles and storytelling in complex channels has led to his role as a digital head at John Hancock Investments.
Jay has been at John Hancock for over three years, using his digital consultant background at such companies as Aligned Global and The Boston Group to adapt their marketing strategy to the firm’s data-driven ethos. Decisions are based on quantitative data, with content and thought leadership content pushed out through multiple digital channels to expand reach. Jay states that getting outside of the financial services industry, by staying in touch with digital vendors including Adobe and Sapient, allows for a more productive digital strategy to take hold.
Jay is an active marketer on LinkedIn, sharing John Hancock Investment’s vast array of marketing material, including infographics and videos, taking much expertise from founding many Boston-based startups focuses on scaling business, and updating legacy products and services.
Please tell us your suggested digital leader in the asset management industry, with reasons why. Thank you!