Ashley Lester was appointed global head of research within Schroders' multiasset investments and portfolio solutions business, said Nico Marais, head of multiasset investments and portfolio solutions.
The position is new, and Mr. Lester will start in July. He will report to Mr. Marais.
Mr. Lester will join the business unit, which has $114.7 billion in assets under management, in New York.
“(Mr. Lester's) appointment is a natural progression of the growth of the group and the growing demand for outcome-based investing,” Mr. Marais said in an interview. “The definition of active management and what constitutes alpha, I think, is changing and becoming increasingly blurred. Smart betas explain a significant percentage of what is traditionally viewed as alpha, outcomes are less benchmark constrained and value-added does not equate alpha in the traditional sense.”
Mr. Marais said there is also a focus on portfolio construction, or the combination of “building blocks,” among investors. “There is a growing realization that the alpha is important, but that if you don't get the portfolio right (the alpha) doesn't matter.” Therefore, being a thought leader on portfolio construction is “incredibly important,” as well as risk premium-based investing and asset allocation, he said.
Mr. Marais added that Schroders will continue to invest heavily on the research side, particularly around advanced beta.
Mr. Lester was head of fixed income and multiasset-class research at MSCI. “(Mr. Lester) left MSCI on the best of terms, to pursue a specific goal for his career,” said a spokesman at MSCI. “We will miss (his) contributions, but because we have a rich research bench and a team-based organizational structure, we were able to cover his responsibilities organically.”