Money Management

Newton names CIO in preparation for future growth

Curt Custard was named chief investment officer at Newton Investment Management as of a new management structure, said CEO Hanneke Smits.

The position is new, and Mr. Custard starts Aug. 14 in London. Newton had not had a CIO since Simon Pryke left in 2015.

Mr. Custard will oversee all aspects of the investment process. He will also strengthen alignment between the investment and commercial sides of the business.

Ms. Smits said in an interview that she had taken time since joining the firm last year to consider how best to "evolve Newton into the next phase of growth." She said the firm has a strong U.K. client base but, as with any business, "it is prudent to diversify."

Growth in the complexity of Newton's strategies and increased focus on the part of regulators on money management, along with the fact she has 14 direct reports, meant "I just felt with the ambitions we have … it is appropriate to have a CIO in place to oversee all aspects of the investment process."

Newton has 55.2 billion ($72 billion) in assets under management.

Ms. Smits will now have four people directly reporting to her. "And I think it will allow me to get out of the day-to-day people management, which is an important aspect of this type of business, but equally (will) free me up to focus more on strategy, to ensure — working with the CIO — we have a robust investment process, and to continue to engage with clients and consultants."

"I wanted to bring in someone … whose skills are additive and complementary, but not identical," she said. Ms. Smits highlighted in particular Mr. Custard's skills and understanding around risk management.

She also noted his experience in the U.S. — he has been based in Chicago the last five years. "(Given) our ambitions to try to develop more of a global footprint, to bring someone in who has direct and recent experience with the U.S. market is going to be very helpful," she said.

Mr. Custard was group managing director and head of global investment solutions at UBS Asset Management. A spokeswoman said Mr. Custard was not directly replaced, but that Michael Ho is chief investment officer for investment solutions.

The new structure at Newton, which the firm said enhances its governance for its next growth state, also sees Julian Lyne, global head of distribution, take on an expanded role as chief commercial officer. In the new role, he has responsibility for client relationships. Ms. Smits said there was a need "to solidify the client side of the business."