Now that the purchase of Wilshire Associates has completed, its new owners and newly appointed president have big plans for the investment consulting and management firm.
These plans include building up its staff, investing substantial resources into Wilshire's technology capabilities, offering enhanced data and analytics, providing new investment offerings and boosting its discretionary assets under management.
Wilshire, which had been employee-owned since its founding in 1972, announced in October that it was being acquired by CC Capital and Motive Partners. Following the completion of the deal on Jan. 13, Dennis Tito resigned as chairman and CEO, and John Hindman resigned as president and vice chairman. Jason Schwarz, chief operating officer of Wilshire, assumed the role of president.
In addition to these leadership moves, CC Capital and Motive Partners have also announced these appointments, all external: Mark Makepeace as CEO, Andy Stewart as chief innovation officer, Jody Kochansky as chief technology officer and Nick Teunon as chief financial officer.
Mr. Makepeace was founder of FTSE International and CEO of FTSE Russell. Mr. Stewart previously co-led BlackRock's Alternative Investment platform. Mr. Kochansky was head of the Aladdin Product Group at BlackRock. Mr. Teunon was CFO of FTSE International.
Now doing business as Wilshire (having dropped the "Associates" from the name), the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company plans to introduce new risk analytics tools and create a cloud-based technology platform.
"While Wilshire may be best known as a consulting firm, we'll now be able to capitalize on market opportunities as a world-leading analytics and data solutions provider," Mr. Schwarz said in a phone interview. "The asset management industry is seeing considerable growth and rapid technology innovation. This gives us an opportunity to build our technology platform."
Mr. Schwarz, who will also continue to serve as the firm's COO, added that Wilshire has an "ambitious" plan to expand its index and benchmark businesses on a global basis and also intends to augment its alternatives capabilities, which extends from risk premium to private equity and hedge funds.
Wilshire is also looking to increase its efforts within its discretionary asset management services, including its outsourced chief investment officer business.
"Institutional consulting continues to be at the forefront of Wilshire's investment advice platform and continues to be an area where we have great ambitions to do more," Mr. Schwarz said.
Wilshire's new president said in the interview that the firm has a target of having its discretionary AUM reach more than $100 billion over the next three years, up from its current AUM of $76 billion. Wilshire also advises on $1.1 trillion in assets on a non-discretionary basis.
Mr. Schwarz noted that he's managing Wilshire "through a remarkable period of change," citing not just the change in ownership, but that the ownership change is occurring while everyone is working remotely on top of there being new leadership in Washington.
"We're keeping a close eye on how markets are responding to the pandemic and vaccine rollout is going, and how a Biden administration will take shape," he said. "A Biden administration is likely to impact corporate earnings."
Challenges aside, Mr. Schwarz also acknowledged that these uncertain and changing times are "great for financial service firms and for Wilshire in particular," since the need for investment advice "has grown during this crisis."
"We are lucky, we are privileged, we are incredibly optimistic about the future of this industry," he added.