Bottom Line: Bowing out makes sense to drive growth

 
Elizabeth Fournier
A LOT can change in almost 30 years. When City legend John Duffield founded Jupiter in 1985, the fund management industry in the UK was worth around five per cent of GDP – last year that figure was well above 40 per cent.

As funds grow, it’s inevitable that industry players will have to adapt to survive, and Jupiter gave investors a clear signal yesterday that it has got its sights firmly set on the future by shaking up its leadership team.

Jupiter wants a bigger slice of the pie – targeting as much as £60bn in assets under management over the next five years – and clearly thinks new boss Slendebroek’s international experience is the way to get it.

The switch makes sense. Jupiter’s asset base at the moment, built up by Edward Bonham Carter during his 14 years at the top, is very UK-centric. That made sense for a small, boutique player, but if Jupiter wants to move into the big leagues it has to diversify its funds.

But while this management reshuffle implies an important shift in strategy, investors keen on the status quo should not be concerned.

Jupiter has always been focused on organic growth and there’s no reason to think that hiring Slendebroek will divert it from that path. Prior to joining Jupiter last year he spent 18 years at BlackRock, based in Europe and focused on driving international sales – he knows the patch well and is well placed to drive expansion.

It’s also good that Bonham Carter is sticking around – at least for now. At its heart fund management is still a business built on relationships, and his role is important for continuity with clients. This is business as usual – but with one eye clearly on the future.

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