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Fifth Third Asset Management gets new CIO, spins off teams

Fifth Third


Mitchell Stapley was named chief investment officer of Fifth Third Asset Management, effective Friday, Mr. Stapley confirmed in an interview.

Mr. Stapley replaced Keith Wirtz, who resigned to pursue other opportunities. Mr. Stapley will remain chief fixed-income officer.

Also, Fifth Third Asset Management announced its growth and value equity teams in Minneapolis and Cleveland, respectively, will spin out to operate as a separate employee-owned entity named Foundry Partners. The two firms plan to enter into a cooperative marketing agreement, Mr. Stapley said in an interview.

Foundry will also establish a subadviser relationship with Fifth Third Bank, said Timothy Ford, managing director of sales at Fifth Third AM, who will become CEO of Foundry when it launches in February.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We see it as a pretty straightforward win-win, and we will have continued access to that marketplace” Mr. Stapley said of the spinoff.

After selling off the firm’s mutual fund business earlier in the year, coupled with the creation of Foundry Partners, Mr. Stapley said the move sets up Fifth Third AM as more of a fixed-income manager with products on core and core-plus, liquidity management, strategic income, active LDI and dividend growth.

“It makes sense to leverage our strengths,” Mr. Stapley said.

Foundry Partners will manage about $2 billion of the $9.1 billion in current assets under management at Fifth Third AM, mostly for Taft-Hartley clients.

Mr. Ford, along with Seamus Murphy, director of Taft-Hartley sales, and Amy Denn, director of large-cap growth strategies, led the management spinout of the growth and value teams.

“The spinout is a friendly separation,” Mr. Ford said in a telephone interview. “In a way, they’re supporting us. It’s important to them and it’s important to us.”

Rosemont Investment Partners will provide Foundry with equity capital and become the sole minority shareholder, Mr. Ford said. It is the first investment by private equity fund Rosemont Partners III. Mr. Ford wouldn’t disclose the amount of the investment.

Efforts to reach Mr. Wirtz were unsuccessful.