Columbia Threadneedle  

Columbia Threadneedle promotes BMO trio after acquisition

Columbia Threadneedle promotes BMO trio after acquisition

Columbia Threadneedle Investments has expanded its leadership team with three promotions following the acquisition of BMO Financial Group’s European asset management business.

Richard Watts, currently chief investment officer at BMO, will become chief investment officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He will succeed current EMEA CIO, William Davies, who will become global CIO replacing Colin Moore who retires from the firm in January 2022.

BMO's global head of alternatives Steward Bennett will be appointed to a role of the same title in the merged group.

He will lead Columbia Threadneedle’s real assets and private equity businesses, as well as the US-based Seligman hedge fund business, real estate security firm Thames River Capital, and Pyrford, which specialises in absolute return, international and global equities. 

The global alternatives business, dubbed an important milestone for Columbia Threadneedle, will manage $47bn (£32.3bn) once the acquisition completes.

The third appointment is that of David Logan in the newly created role of global chief operating officer.

Logan, currently global head of distribution at BMO GAM, will be responsible for delivering “operational excellence” and developing business change plans and the firm’s long-term strategy.

His previous responsibilities will be passed on to Michaela Collet Jackson, head of distribution for EMEA at Columbia Threadneedle.

In April this year the parent company of Columbia Threadneedle, Ameriprise Financial, acquired BMO Financial Group’s EMEA asset management business for £615m. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of the year, subject to regulatory approvals.

Ted Truscott, chief executive at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, said: “I’m excited to welcome Richard, Stewart and David to Columbia Threadneedle’s expanded leadership team. They will add to our strong roster of experienced, client-focused asset management leaders and help position the firm to meet the current and future needs of investors around the world.

“Our acquisition of BMO’s European asset management business adds complementary strengths and capabilities in strategically important areas, and these appointments demonstrate the compatibility of our businesses.

"Richard has been integral to the growth and success of BMO GAM’s investment proposition, including its leadership in responsible investment and solutions, reflecting his strategic vision and clear understanding of client needs."

He added the establishment of a global alternatives business was an important milestone for Columbia Threadneedle. 

“We have been adding to our alternative capabilities over the past several years in response to increasing demand from our clients for less liquid, diversifying assets, both as standalone strategies and within bespoke solutions. With Stewart’s experience and leadership, we see great potential to develop further this offering.

“Operational excellence is foundational and in the new role of global chief operating officer David will bring broad knowledge and deep technical and client experience to help deliver our change agenda and ensure a robust, risk-focused environment and a culture of operational excellence as we bring our organisations together over the next several months and beyond.”