Natixis seeks asset management arm rebound with Tim Ryan
Natixis is changing asset management bosses at a turning point in its history. The BPCE subsidiary announced on Tuesday Tim Ryan’s appointment as a member of its executive committee in charge of wealth and asset management, and CEO of Natixis Investment Managers. Effective 12 April, he will replace Jean Raby, who had joined Natixis in 2017. The Franco-Canadian decided “to pursue another professional opportunity,” Natixis said.
Early this year, Ryan left Generali, where he had been chief investment officer and CEO of asset management. Previously, international-profiled Ryan, who studied in France practiced, had worked as a specialist in equity quantitative management at Sinopia AM, before joining Axa IM then the US firm AllianceBernstein.
His arrival at Natixis coincides with the preparation of a new strategic plan that Nicolas Namias, the group CEO, wants to begin by summer. The new plan also includes a delisting of the bank, as BPCE has announced a €4-per-share squeeze-out offer for its subsidiary.
Ryan is also taking the reins of Natixis IM after two mixed years. With net banking income of €3.2bn last year, the wealth and asset management business did account for about 44% of revenues at Natixis, more than its corporate and investment banking activities. Its €1.1trn in assets under management as of the end of 2020 make it the second-largest French asset manager, behind Amundi and far ahead of Axa IM and BNP Paribas AM. But the difficulties of the H2O investment boutique in 2019 and 2020 cast doubt on the group’s ability to control risks in a multi-boutique model consisting of a constellation of highly autonomous companies. The affair was one factor in the departure of Natixis’s former boss, François Riahi, last August, and triggered a 33% drop in the division’s full-year pre-tax income, at €850m.
The bank ultimately decided to write off the H2O problem by selling out to management. From this point of view, the choice of Ryan is interesting. He comes from Generali, which more recently adopted this multi-boutique model, but which keeps its subsidiaries on a tighter leash.