While on an extensive worldwide roadshow meeting clients, shareholders and staff, Andrew Formica and Dick Weil, the proposed co-chief executives of a merged Janus Henderson Global Investors addressed media in Sydney last week. They said the joint-CEO role was a “special solution for a special situation”.
Dick Weil, Janus’s boss, said that having the two heads continue like that allowed staff and clients to “trust what we’re doing”. He and Formica proposed the idea – a rarity among big listed companies – themselves. Weil will move from Denver to London, where Australian-born Formica lives, after the deal is consummated next year.
The special nature of the merger is that it is difficult to imagine how the two companies could have been a more complementary fit in either products and strategies or geographical emphasis.
On their roles, they agreed that if one person made a decision then that decision was made. No-one was going to second-guess the other.
Denver-based Janus has much better reach in North America and has a higher tilt towards wholesale (mutual funds) rather than institutional products, while UK-based Henderson is stronger in Europe and Asia, especially Australia, which becomes an important component in the merged group. Australia’s Rob Adams will run Asia Pacific from Sydney.
Janus’s 51-per-cent owned Kapstream fixed income manager, based in Sydney, will have a pivotal role, with its co-founder, Kumar Palghat, to become global head of fixed income for the combined group.
An enlarged product range for both will come in handy in the current investment climate. Formica said: “It’s a dark and dangerous world. But where do you invest? It’s difficult to find anything to hang onto.”
He believes there will continue to be a drive towards alternatives and lower-volatility products, but people are nervous about property. Following the uncertainty of the US elections there are French elections next March and German elections in September.
Weil said Janus had been on a program for the past four years to diversify its product range, significantly boosting its fixed income capabilities and FUM, introducing ETFs and expanding its “mathematical” capabilities and range with smart beta. It had also increased its non-US assets from about US$9 billion to $30 billion, a part of the program which would no longer require deliberate attention.
* Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)