NEW YORK — George H. Walker plans to build — not buy — what Lehman Brothers' asset management business needs.
Mr. Walker is implementing an organic growth plan, building investment capabilities through strategic recruitment of talented managers, with a focus on maintaining performance and satisfying institutional investor demand for alternative strategies like hedge funds, private equity, portable alpha and liability driven investments, as well as traditional asset classes.
"The Street might be happy if we did something dramatic, but that's not they way we're approaching it," Mr. Walker said in an interview.
Indeed, many observers expected Mr. Walker to go on an acquisition spree.
"Lehman is well-known for being very transaction-oriented, rather than strategic," said David Barrett, managing partner of executive recruiters David Barrett Partners, New York. "George Walker's challenge is to change … that mentality, to one that's longer term, more strategic. George has a good reputation. … He stands a good chance of being successful at (changing) the Lehman culture."
Consultants expected Lehman to seek an institutional equity powerhouse. The firm's only equity shop is Neuberger Berman Inc., New York, which consultant Michael Rosen said is usually classified by investment consultants as a mutual fund and 401(k) plan manager. Mr. Rosen is a principal at Angeles Investment Advisors LP, Santa Monica, Calif.