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Blake Goldring, CEO of AGF Management

Yvonne Berg/The Globe and Mail

AGF Investments Inc. is on the hunt for a new chief investment officer to boost investment performance and develop innovative new strategies.

The Toronto-based company said Martin Hubbes, its chief investment officer, will be leaving the firm. AGF is currently looking for his replacement, and Mr. Hubbes will stay on to help with the transition after someone is found.

"Working closely with his senior leadership team and AGF's executive, Martin has engaged the talent and built the structure required to ensure our investment management team has the tools and resources they need to succeed," said Blake Goldring, AGF's chief executive, in a statement.

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The independent investment manager has made many changes to its business in the past year, reducing and simplifying its retail fund lineup and streamlining its team of portfolio managers. AGF is hoping to build more momentum in 2014 as investors rotate into equities and as new investment products add assets. The company's stock is up 31 per cent in 2013.

AGF also wants to increase its focus on institutional clients both in Canada and internationally, which could mean venturing into new asset classes. The firm disclosed a large redemption of $2.6-billion from a single institutional client during the month of November, but went on to announce nearly nearly $1-billion of new assets flowing into its funds.

Mr. Goldring has said on recent earnings calls that he thinks the institutional business could double in five years. It currently has about $15-billion in assets.

AGF and other independent managers are facing stiff competition from Canada's large banks, who have a strong grip on the mutual fund industry, with a 54 per cent market share. They captured about half of the net new sales in the third quarter, according to Scott Chan, analyst at Canaccord Genuity.

Several analysts are predicting modest expansion at AGF, but the company plans to accelerate its growth, thanks to the continued stability in the markets and the fresh perspective of the incoming CIO.

Mr. Hubbes was appointed head of the firm's investment management operations in 2005, but joined the company more than two decades ago as an equity research analyst.

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