Russell hands UK institutional reins to Middle East specialist

Russell Investments' London offices on Regent Street

Russell Investments’ London offices on Regent Street

The UK institutional role was created in the wake of the departure of Shamindra Perera, who had been Russell’s managing director of institutional investment services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, last September.

Rob Bishop, head of implementation services in Europe at Russell, had been overseeing the UK institutional business on an interim basis since then.

Jim Leggate is moving from the Dubai office he helped set up to London to become the first permanent UK institutional head, the firm confirmed in a July 13 statement. Leggate joined Russell in July 2011 to run its Middle East business.

Before joining Russell, Leggate, who will keep his Middle East responsibilities, had been at index provider MSCI for 11 years, most recently as head of Emea asset owners and investment consulting.

His new duties will involve overseeing Russell’s fiduciary management business led by Sarah Leslie and the client strategy and research team led by David Rae. Leslie stepped up to the role in November after the departure of Perera, while Rae was promoted after the exit of Sorca Kelly-Scholte.

The relocation of a Dubai-based executive to take a senior UK role comes after Financial News reported in April, citing people familiar with the firm, that Russell was trimming 2% of its global operations team, with these reductions set to be achieved through the globalisation of its business.

Russell – which was up for sale for most of 2015 – has seen several senior staff leave since late last year. It was bought by private equity firm TA Associates in October from the London Stock Exchange Group for $ 1.15 billion. Most recently, its Emea chief investment officer Christophe Caspar left on June 1 for Swiss private bank Pictet.

In the statement, Pascal Duval, Russell’s Emea chief executive, cited Leggate’s “in-depth knowledge” of institutional investors, as well as a “strong contact book to our UK offering”.

Duval added: “This will be instrumental in growing our strong presence in the competitive and complex UK institutional market.” He said Russell had seen strong growth in demand from institutions for its de-risking, transition management and trading through its foreign exchange platform.

Leggate said in the statement: “The business is well placed to capitalise on the growing trends in the institutional market and already has a strong offering in the UK. I hope to bring experience to the role and to build on the market-leading foundations already in place.”

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