Legal & General Investment Management, the £1tn UK fund group that is preparing for a leadership change, has lost its place on a government task force that focuses on the development of the asset management industry.
Mark Zinkula, LGIM’s chief executive, is to leave the select group of UK asset management chiefs who attend meetings convened by the Treasury. He has taken part in the task force since its formation in 2017 but his imminent retirement requires him to step back.
Five new executives will join the group. LGIM has yet to appoint a successor to Mr Zinkula so the company will no longer be represented.
The forum, which is occasionally chaired by the chancellor Philip Hammond, has become an important point of interaction between the £9tn industry and Westminster.
The meetings give executives the chance to put the fund industry on the political agenda and Brexit has added to asset managers’ desire to make their voices heard.
Mr Zinkula’s departure is one of several changes being made as the Treasury seeks to refresh the initiative as Britain prepares to leave the EU.
The five new faces are Patrick Thomson, who leads JPMorgan Asset Management in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; Michelle Scrimgeour, head of Columbia Threadneedle’s Emea operations; Cuan Coulter, Emea chief for State Street; Caroline Connellan from wealth manager Brooks Macdonald; and Helen Dean, who heads up Nest, the UK’s state-backed workplace pension scheme.
Mr Zinkula is not the only person to relinquish his place. Maarten Slendebroek, the Jupiter CEO who is to hand the helm of the £50bn manager to Andrew Formica next month, will also leave the task force.
Andrew Carter, at Royal London Asset Management, and Mike O’Shea, at Premier Asset Management, will step back too. Andrew Warwick-Thompson, who is set to leave LGPS Central, will also relinquish his seat.
The political uncertainty over the terms of Brexit has led to tension between business and government. Asset managers have won key concessions — such as an agreement to allow the crucial practice of delegation to continue after March 29 — but remain concerned about the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a deal.
City minister John Glen, who chairs the task force, said finding international opportunities for the UK fund sector was a priority. “Asset managers own over a third of all UK-listed companies, and the sector is an essential component of the UK’s economic engine,” he said. “Now is the time to focus on what it is the sector needs to fully realise the global opportunities that Brexit offers.”
Mr Glen also wants the task force to focus on stewardship and responsible investment. He believes these growing areas would help Britain enhance its position as a global investment centre.
The UK auditing watchdog is consulting on changes to the stewardship code, the principles that dictate how asset managers hold investee companies to account. The revised code follows criticism that the UK is losing its stewardship edge.
The Investment Association, the UK fund industry trade body, is represented on the task force by its chief executive Chris Cummings and chairman Peter Harrison, who is also Schroders’ chief executive.
Other participants include Rachel Lord, head of Emea at BlackRock; Sean Hagerty, head of Europe for Vanguard; Keith Skeoch, co-chief of Standard Life Aberdeen; Anne Richards, Fidelity International chief; and Catherine Howarth, CEO of ShareAction, the responsible investment campaign group. The Financial Conduct Authority is represented by Megan Butler and Chris Woolard.
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