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 January 2019]
In alphabetical order:
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 DealMAret 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.
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.
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 fist of its kind, Adam is certainly a recognised digital leader in the industry, looking to the future of investments.
Formerly known as Old Mutual Global Investors, Merian Global Investors has had a complete reinvention of its branding. Of course, this large-scale rebrand has had to transcend all of its digital channels, which has been led by its Head of Digital, Brad Hancock.
Brad has held multiple digital marketing jobs in the financial services industry, working in banking and insurance before moving specifically into asset management as a digital evangelist. With Brad at the helm, Merian Global investors has been able to introduce itself successfully through a new website launch, complete with comprehensive fund pages and an intuitive fund finder.
Brad also acts as an influencer on Twitter and runs his own blog with musings on fintech, cybersecurity and all things digital in financial services.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most prominent marketing experts in asset management is Scott Stevens, who has worked for Quilter Cheviot as Head of Business Development since May 2016. Being also responsible for the firm’s Press Relations activities, Scott is a regular spokesperson for their marketing and digital strategies across web platforms.
He has brought over 22 years of sales and marketing experience to Quilter Cheviot from BNY Mellon, and he now juggles multiple responsibilities to drive their distribution activities, from events, sponsorship and media purchase, but he also oversees web construction, content engines and marketing automation.
Scott also acts as an industry expert, appearing in video and using digital channels such as social media platforms to great effect to market Quilter Cheviot’s range of content.
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.
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.
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!