As the new CEO of Loomis Sayles & Co. LP, Kevin Charleston plans to maintain the same investment culture his predecessor, Robert J. Blanding, established, while also growing the Boston-based firm’s global footprint.
Mr. Charleston assumed the CEO job on May 1. He has been with the firm since 2000, most recently as president and chief financial officer. He will retain the role of president, in addition to being CEO.
Although he’s looking to invest in growing the company, Mr. Charleston has no plans to drastically change how it is run.
“The management team's been together now for 10 years. You've got a consultant community that doesn't like big radical change,” he explained during a telephone interview from his office in Boston. “We've all bought into the philosophy of the firm.”
Data from eVestment LLC, Marietta, Ga., show that more than three-quarters of Loomis Sayles' 50 strategies are performing well in the long term.
Its flagship global bond strategy, which has $37.63 billion in assets under management, for example, saw an annualized return of 0.14% for the three years ended March 31, vs. -1.64% for its benchmark, the Citigroup World Government Bond index, unhedged. Its five-year annualized return was 2.74%, vs. 1.42% for its benchmark. And its 10-year annualized return was 4.04%, vs. 3.09% for its benchmark.
Under his leadership, Mr. Charleston hopes to expand Loomis Sayles' global presence.
“We've been trying to increase our global footprint from a trading and research standpoint,” he noted, pointing out the firm has been continuing to add staff to the London and Singapore offices. Those two offices, opened in 2012, are the firm's only non-U.S. locations. London has research and trading staff, Singapore has only research. Mr. Charleston said he is in the process of hiring a trader for Singapore.
“At some point maybe a Latin American office may make sense as those markets develop,” Mr. Charleston said, noting, however, the firm doesn't “have a real big institutional client base there yet.”
Loomis Sayles managed $57.8 billion in assets for non-U.S. clients as of March 31, up 80% from the same time five years ago.
As the firm gets bigger — and Mr. Charleston is looking for the firm's growth to be as organic as possible — senior leadership is looking to invest in technology, making upgrades to the firm's quantitative capabilities and adding risk-awareness programs to each investment strategy.
The firm might also engage in some “selective liftouts” in the future, he said.
But executives at Loomis Sayles have been conscious of not overexpanding or growing too rapidly.
“You can get distracted by growth, so keeping our focus on performance is important,” he said. “You don't want to just react to a fad.”
Loomis Sayles had $240.8 billion in total worldwide AUM as of March 31.