DARIEN, Conn. - The recent departures of several key staffers of RogersCasey & Associates are not expected to throw a monkey wrench in its plans to merge with BARRA Inc.
Executives at both firms, as well as industry observers, say the staff is not jumping ship because of the merger.
The latest departures included Narayan Ramachandran, managing director and investment strategist; Philip Cooper, chairman and chief executive officer of Rogers Casey Alternative Investments; and A. Duff Lewis, a managing director with RCAI.
Mr. Ramachandran will join Morgan Stanley Asset Management in July to head a quantitative equity strategies group; Mr. Cooper is starting his own alternative investments firm; and Mr. Lewis will join the endowment of the University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y., as chief investment officer. Mr. Cooper will continue to consult with RogersCasey clients part time for a while to ensure continuity, said a firm spokesman.
The staff changes were not a surprise, said Andrew Rudd, chief executive officer of BARRA, Berkeley, Calif. Some departures, such as Mr. Cooper's, were known at the time of the merger discussions.
The staff departures were neither unusual nor unexpected, said Stephen Rogers, RogersCasey's chairman.
"From my perspective, everything is moving ahead at full speed," said Mr. Rudd. The departures will not affect the closing of the transaction, which is still expected in about six weeks pending regulatory approvals, he said. BARRA agreed in April to acquire Darien-based RogersCasey in a stock swap worth approximately $17 million.
"It's always sad to lose good people, but, because they're good people, they want to broaden their horizons," said Mr. Rudd. Mr. Cooper in particular was eager to start his own firm, said Mr. Rudd.
Mr. Ramachandran said he had wanted to try his hand at asset management for a while, and had been thinking his career options before the serious merger talks started. He had been the liaison with BARRA during his eight years with RogersCasey, and "it was with a great deal of pleasure that I received BARRA as a suitor for RogersCasey," he said. If anything, he said, the BARRA deal made him rethink his decision, but he eventually decided to go ahead with the move to Morgan Stanley.
Other sources close to the firm noted quality of life issues must have weighed in the decisions of Messrs. Cooper and Lewis. They noted Mr. Cooper lived in Boston, and wanted to stay there but found he was spending half his week in Darien instead. Mr. Lewis, who joined RogersCasey from Eastman Kodak Co., never relocated his family from Rochester and commuted weekly to RCAI's office in Boston. With their departures, the Boston office will close, said Mr. Rogers.
Other RogersCasey staffers will take over their responsibilities, said Mr. Rogers. The firm has always had a commitment to hiring and developing talent, so it has a deep bench to pick up the slack, he said.
Additionally, the link with BARRA may help lessen the effect of those personnel losses, said Mr. Rogers. "(BARRA) certainly expands the folks we can look at internally for various roles because they have a lot of talent," Mr. Rogers added.
A spokesman for RogersCasey noted a team of staffers working with Mr. Ramachandran will be able to take up his duties, including Shai Novik, Reza Vishkai and Matthew Jensen.
In alternative investments, Carla Haughen, John Picone, Gary Kominski and Thomas Philips are among the staff that will continue to work in that area, said Mr. Rogers.