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Bank of Montreal wealth management head Joanna Rotenberg at her home in Creemore, Ont., on June 26, 2020.

Cole Burston/The Globe and Mail

Bank of Montreal wealth management head Joanna Rotenberg is leaving the bank to take a new job.

BMO chief executive officer Darryl White told staff in an internal memo that Ms. Rotenberg is stepping down “to pursue another opportunity,” after she informed the bank of her decision this week.

Ms. Rotenberg’s new role has not yet been announced, but Mr. White said she will help with a transition over the coming weeks and that he expects to announce her successor “in the near future.” Until then, the bank’s senior leaders in wealth management will report directly to him.

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“She will be missed around the leadership table,” Mr. White said in the memo.

Ms. Rotenberg was one of the more prominent members of BMO’s executive team, having led the bank’s wealth management arm since 2016. She spent 11 years at the bank after working for a decade at consulting giant McKinsey & Co., where she was a partner.

Over the last five years, Ms. Rotenberg played a pivotal role in growing the bank’s wealth management segment through both BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., a full service advisory business, and BMO InvestorLine, a direct investing brokerage – two businesses that have seen a spike in client activity since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The pandemic saw a surge in the number of do-it-yourself investors signing up for online accounts that resulted in BMO’s trading volumes jumping more than 40 per cent year-over-year – which also includes the bank’s robo-adviser SmartFolio and online portfolio manager adviceDirect.

Demand for advice from clients also spiked since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with BMO’s wealth division completing financial plans for clients five times more often.

Ms. Rotenberg accelerated plans to bring more sophisticated advice to do-it-yourself investors by upgrading BMO adviceDirect to offer clients the opportunity to connect one on one with a dedicated investment adviser to help with their trading and investment decisions, as well complete customized financial plans.

Some of the increasing assets managed by the bank include flows into BMO Global Asset Management’s exchange-traded funds business, another growth segment for Ms. Rotenberg, which currently manage more than $77-billion in ETF assets as of July 31, the second-largest ETF provider in the country.

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