For the first time in its 61-year history, mutual fund company AGF Management Ltd. will not be run by someone named Goldring.
Toronto-based AGF, which oversees $39-billion, announced on Wednesday that president and chief investment officer Kevin McCreadie will become chief executive on Dec. 1, succeeding Blake Goldring, who took the reins 18 years ago at the firm his father founded in 1957.
Mr. Goldring, 60, will become AGF’s executive chairman and his family retains control of the company. Judy Goldring, currently AGF’s chief operating officer and the founder’s daughter, will become president. In an interview, Mr. Goldring said AGF has been working on succession since Mr. McCreadie joined the firm four years ago after a six-month recruiting process. “I believe the hallmark of successful organizations is that there is renewal in leadership,” he said.
Mr. McCreadie, 57, joined AGF from Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc., where he ran the bank’s asset-management business. As CEO, he will face the challenge that dominated Mr. Goldring’s tenure: How to build a mid-sized asset manager in an industry that is increasingly dominated by massive global platforms, which enjoy economies of scale, and niche fund managers who can still command premium fees if they turn in strong performance.
Canada’s mutual fund industry has consolidated around the banks and a handful of large fund families such as Power Financial Corp. AGF remained proudly independent, but the stock price declined from record highs in the $30 range 10 years ago to $6 levels recently.
“We are experiencing unprecedented and rapidly changing client and market environments,” Mr. McCreadie said in a news release. “I look forward to building on the momentum AGF is experiencing today.”
AGF hired Mr. McCreadie in part to improve fund performance and stem a client exodus. His appointment was announced on Wednesday at the same time AGF released financial results that showed assets under management increased 11 per cent over the past year, with growth across all lines of business.
“Kevin was brought on board as president and CIO with a strategic focus on driving change within AGF’s investment-management platform,” said Wayne Squibb, the lead director on AGF’s board. "Given Kevin’s track record in firmly establishing disciplined processes to deliver consistent results we are confident in him as a natural successor to Blake.”
AGF made its name as the one of the first Canadian mutual fund companies with international offerings, such as stock and bond funds focused on the United States and Japan. Warren Goldring, the company’s founder, handed over the CEO title in 2000. He died in 2009.
On Blake Goldring’s watch, AGF broadened its client base to institutional investors, and added new products to the shelves, such as alternative assets – including infrastructure funds – and exchange-traded funds. Assets under management grew from $12-billion to $38.8-billion during Mr. Goldring’s 18 years as CEO.
As AGF’s executive chairman, Mr. Goldring said he plans to focus on strengthening the firm’s key client relationships, while at the same time doing community work and managing his personal investments in private companies. Mr. Goldring co-founded the Canada Company, a charity that links military veterans to the business community, and is on the boards of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Film Centre.