Peter J. Wilby, fixed-income CIO at Citigroup Asset Management, will launch a new fixed-income shop April 1, focusing on specialized areas such as high yield, emerging market debt and enhanced core strategies, he said in an interview today.
Mr. Wilby said he will stay until April 1 with Western Asset Management, the fixed-income subsidiary of Legg Mason, which completed the swap of its brokerage arm for Citigroup's asset management operation on Thursday. After April 1, he will continue to provide consulting services for some of the more specialized mutual fund assets WAMCO will take on from Citigroup Asset. WAMCO, in turn, will provide technological and operational support to Mr. Wilby's new firm for about four months.
Mr. Wilby said the amicable agreement will best serve the interests of CAM's fixed-income clients through the transition. Mr. Wilby called both WAMCO and Legg Mason "superb firms," but said that even before Legg Mason and Citigroup announced their swap in June he had been "wanting to do something boutique-like."
Most of CAM's fixed-income assets and employees will stay with WAMCO, but a "chunk of the more specialty types will sort of move off into" the new firm, Mr. Wilby said.
The new firm will develop an enhanced core strategy with more latitude to invest aggressively in high alpha areas than the typical core plus product.
Executives at WAMCO couldn't be reached for comment.
Mark Fetting, head of asset management with Legg Mason, said both sides have a lot of respect for one another, calling the arrangement an example of "inspired partnering" that is rare in the industry.