Mackenzie still looking for leader as Carney takes over at IGM

The hunt for a new leader at Mackenzie Financial Corp. continues as former CEO Jeff Carney prepares to take over as the sole leader of parent firm IGM Financial Inc.

Last month, the company announced Mr. Carney would be leaving the asset management side of the business to replace Murray Taylor as chief executive officer of IGM, as well as president and chief executive officer of the advisory firm Investors Group. Mr. Carney has co-led IGM since 2012.

IGM Financial is a subsidiary of Power Financial Corp., and houses both wealth managers Investors Group Inc. and Investment Planning Counsel Inc., along with asset manager Mackenzie Financial.

As Mr. Carney prepares to step into his new role, Mackenzie Financial has yet to announce who will be filling his shoes.

“We are working through a process and still in the interview stage,” Mr. Carney said in an interview. “It is a position I would like to see filled as soon as possible because right now I have a lot of direct reports.”

The deadline is fast approaching as Mr. Carney starts his new job following the IGM Financial’s annual general meeting on May 6. Then he plans to get to know the financial advisers he will be leading.

“I don’t expect to be sitting in the office those first few weeks as I’m going to hit the road to spend as much time as possible out in the field with the advisers, … hearing what issues they are facing today and what they need from me to continue to build their value propositions for their clients,” Mr. Carney said.

The announcement of Mr. Carney’s leadership appears to have been viewed positively by investors. IGM’s stock price has rallied to $39.25 from $31.78 in early February.

The firm’s strong RRSP season and Mr. Carney’s leadership could drive further strength in performance, Canaccord analyst Scott Chan said in a note.

“We are very interested to hear [Mr. Carney’s] early commentary at Investors Group as he was very active in changing the Mackenzie Financial brand and culture,” Mr. Chan wrote. During his tenure at Mackenzie, Mr. Carney replaced senior management roles, entered a new product market with the launch of exchange-traded funds, revamped his sales team and extended coverage across Canada.

When he starts next month, Mr. Carney will oversee 5,320 financial advisers – a record high at Investors Group. The majority are mutual fund licensed advisers who manage $75-billion in assets under management.

Shifting from the product side of the business to the distribution platform won’t be a daunting task for Mr. Carney, as he has spent most of his 25-year career in roles where he interacted with advisers.

In 1992, he played an integral role in launching TD Bank’s brokerage division TD Evergreen Investments, now known as TD Private Wealth. In 2001, he moved south of the border to take on executive positions with Fidelity Investments and then Charles Schwab Corp. He returned to Canada in 2008 when he joined Putnam Investments, also a subsidiary of IGM’s parent firm Power Financial.

Mr. Carney is stepping into his new role just two months before major regulatory changes will hit the financial services industry, requiring firms to provide more transparency to clients around the cost of advice and on investment performance. These changes could see more Canadian investors turn to lower-cost products, such as exchange-traded funds.

Currently, ETFs cannot be sold directly by mutual fund advisers because they don’t have access to an exchange. Whether Mr. Carney will decide to bring more securities licensed advisers onto the Investors Group platform, or invest in a technological platform to provide mutual fund advisers access to the funds has yet to be determined.

“It’s too early for me to say what we are doing in those areas because I haven’t stepped into the premises yet, but we will certainly be looking at those issues as we go forward,” says Mr. Carney.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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