Bank of Montreal has named Deland Kamanga as its new head of wealth management, adding an executive with expertise in markets and trading who has been a champion for diversity to the bank’s top leadership team.
Mr. Kamanga, who joined the bank in 2006, has been head of global markets at BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. since 2019, and previously ran the investment dealer’s fixed income, currencies and commodities desk. He is succeeding Joanna Rotenberg, who resigned in September to take a job at U.S.-based Fidelity Investments, where she now leads the personal investing division.
He takes the helm of the wealth management division at a moment when demand for financial advice is surging and technology is reshaping do-it-yourself investing, as well as the ways clients get investment advice. And he inherits a division with a sharpened focus after the bank recently pulled out of the reinsurance business, sold its private banking operations in Hong Kong and struck a deal to sell its emerging-markets asset management arm.
Mr. Kamanga is “consistently top-tier in delivering business performance,” said Darryl White, BMO’s chief executive officer, in an interview. As a leader, “he is really one of these people that is an exemplar on setting the pace that others follow.”
In recent years, Mr. Kamanga was the “chief architect” of two acquisitions BMO made in its capital market business – KGS Alpha Capital Markets, a New York-based broker-dealer, and algorithm-based trading software company Clearpool Group Inc. – and was responsible for integrating them into BMO, Mr. White said.
Dan Goldman and Levent Kahraman, co-founders of KGS Alpha who joined BMO in 2018, are the bank’s new co-heads of global markets, succeeding Mr. Kamanga.
Promoting Mr. Kamanga, who is Black, also adds diversity to BMO’s senior executive team. He has been vocal on issues of inclusion, serving on multiple committees that seek to promote equality at the bank, including the BMO Black Professionals Network Canada. Earlier this year, he was honoured as a business leader champion by Catalyst, a non-profit that advocates for women in business.
Like many wealth managers, BMO has had an influx of clients asking for advice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as savings in deposit accounts swelled to record levels. The bank has completed financial plans for customers five times more often than it did before the pandemic. At the same time, BMO has been homing in on do-it-yourself investors as the industry continues to see a boom in online traders opening up accounts, many of whom are younger, first-time investors.
Earlier this month, the bank’s online trading platform BMO adviceDirect – which offers investors access to advice through a team of portfolio managers – lowered account minimums to $10,000 from $50,000 and eliminated annual fees to cater to a broader segment of investors.
Mr. Kamanga could face challenges at BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., the bank’s full-service investment adviser business. Advisers voiced discontent earlier this year over an annual industry report by Investment Executive (IE) newspaper in which a majority of the bank’s investment advisers who were surveyed ranked the firm below industry averages – specifically for its strategic focus.
But Mr. Kamanga could be well-suited to restore confidence among advisers: Employee engagement scores among staff who report to him in the global markets business are “as high as it gets,” Mr. White said.
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