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Newton's Morrissey departs to lead LGIM's consumer push

Newton's Morrissey departs to lead LGIM's consumer push

Former Newton chief executive Helena Morrissey is to leave the firm to lead Legal & General Investment Management's (LGIM) digital direct-to-consumer business.

Ms Morrissey stepped down as Newton chief executive last year after 15 years in the role and became non-executive chair of the board. However, she will now leave the firm entirely and become head of personal investing at LGIM in May.

In the newly-created role, LGIM said Ms Morrissey will be responsible for designing and building a digital platform in order to boost its consumer reach. The move somewhat marks a change from her previous experience, with Newton's business strongly focused on institutional mandates, albeit with a growing retail presence.

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LGIM already offers some direct-to-consumer investment products, but the new strategy will build on this and be digitally-led, combing with its defined contribution (DC) and wealth management businesses.

Ms Morrissey said LGIM had the potential to become a market leader in the direct-to-consumer investing space.

She added: "There is no doubt that the UK direct savings market is highly competitive and moving very quickly: we are looking to get to the point where we are all using technology to access funds in the same way that we use Amazon to access books.

"We are looking forward to building a savings business with strong and direct connections with our customers, including those who have never really thought about investing before or find existing offerings off-putting."

Ms Morrissey will report directly to LGIM chief executive Mark Zinkula and will also join the firm's board.

The decision from LGIM to focus on a direct-to-consumer business chimes well with its plans to grow its retail and wholesale brand. The firm is already the largest asset manager for pension funds, but has been focusing on building its intermediary and retail presence.

Recently, the firm boosted its distribution team as it looked to grow its presence among wealth managers - which began with the hiring of former Jupiter man Simon Hynes as head of retail sales in 2015.

Mr Zinkula added: "LGIM is a market leader in defined benefit (DB) and DC pensions and is experiencing strong growth in its wealth and intermediary business, and we see an opportunity to bring our significant expertise to the direct market."

Ms Morrissey will continue chairing the Diversity Project and her work with the 30% Club - roles focused on ensuring gender equality in the workplace. Her role as chair of the Investment Association will end this summer, as was previously expected, following a three-year stint.