Realizing that institutional clients were moving toward fewer managers with broader capabilities, Tom Finke and his colleagues had a vision: consolidate several managers under a globally recognized brand, with an emphasis on consistency and an institutional approach.
Mr. Finke, CEO based in Charlotte, N.C., introduced the new Barings LLC to Pensions & Investments in the manager's London office, on the day the manager's new brand was revealed, Sept. 12.
He now leads the freshly consolidated money manager, which has more than $275 billion of assets — comprising Babson Capital Management LLC; its subsidiaries Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC and Wood Creek Capital Management LLC; and Baring Asset Management Ltd. — to clients and employees, on a trip that takes in the U.K., U.S. and Asia.
The new Barings has more than 600 investment professionals and offices in 17 countries.
While extensive travel is not new to Mr. Finke, his regional visits are usually less hectic. But in order to secure his vision for a larger, more cohesive money management firm, “this was a lot of back and forth. When you have a very condensed project, there is a little more intensity to the travel.”
The transformation began about one year ago, when Roger Crandall, chairman, president and CEO of parent company Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.; David Brennan, then-chairman and CEO of Baring Asset Management; and Mr. Finke came together to look at the strategy of MassMutual's money management businesses. The firm worked with Casey Quirk by Deloitte as project manager to help execute the integration.
The group concluded that while Barings and Babson were both global in presence and institutional in nature, they had different and complementary strategies, said Mr. Finke. Baring Asset Management is well known for its equity and multiasset strategies; Babson for fixed-income, credit and loans in particular; Cornerstone for real estate; and Wood Creek for alternatives. “It was really about the trends toward our core clients — being the large institutional pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds. They are looking to work with fewer managers with broader capabilities.”