• BlackRock’s Larry Fink tops the ranking in Peregrine Communications’ inaugural CEO report analyzing the personal brands of CEOs at the world’s 150 largest asset management firms across five key metrics, including personal brand awareness, share of voice, media sentiment and social media presence.
• Report shows ~10% CEO turnover in the last 12 months with 14 asset management CEOs leaving their posts.
• Alternative investment management CEOs dominate in terms of Brand Awareness making up more than 65% of the 20 most searched for names.
• Asset management CEOs receive more scrutiny than CEOs in many other industries with leaders like Larry Fink and Citadel’s Ken Griffin receiving Google search interest orders of magnitude higher than peers at Exxon, McDonald’s, or Starbucks.
Peregrine Communications, a strategic communications firm for asset managers, has released its inaugural CEO Report looking at the personal brands and communication strategies of leaders at the world’s largest 100 asset management firms and 50 leading alternative investment (“alts”) managers. The report analyzes CEOs across a range of criteria, including personal brand awareness, share of voice, sentiment of media coverage and social media presence.
The report found that the top five CEOs based on a composite score are:
Larry Fink, BlackRock
Larry Fink is the co-founder, CEO, and chairman of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm. Fink has been with BlackRock since its inception in 1988 and has played a key role in its growth and success.
Under Fink’s leadership, BlackRock has become a global leader in investment management, with over $9 trillion in assets under management. Fink is known for his long-term vision and his advocacy for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. He has been a vocal advocate for sustainable investing and has pushed for companies to take action on issues such as climate change and diversity.
Fink is also known for his influence in global financial and political circles. He has advised government leaders and is often called upon to provide his perspective on economic and financial issues. Fink is a regular commentator in the media and has been recognized for his contributions to the finance industry and his philanthropic efforts.
Nicolas Moreau, HSBC Global Asset Management
Nicolas Moreau is the CEO of HSBC Global Asset Management, the asset management division of HSBC Holdings, a multinational investment bank and financial services company. Moreau has been with HSBC since 2017 and has been instrumental in driving the growth and transformation of its asset management business.
Under Moreau’s leadership, HSBC Global Asset Management has expanded its global reach and product offerings, with a focus on sustainable investing and emerging markets. Moreau has also been a vocal advocate for the role of asset managers in promoting sustainability and responsible investing practices.
Prior to joining HSBC, Moreau held senior executive positions at Axa, a French multinational insurance firm, where he led its global asset management division. Moreau has been recognized for his leadership in the asset management industry and his contributions to promoting sustainable investing practices.
Robert F. Smith, Vista Equity Partners
Robert F. Smith is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in investing in software and technology companies. Smith is a prominent figure in the finance industry and has been recognized for his contributions to business and philanthropy.
Under Smith’s leadership, Vista Equity Partners has become one of the world’s most successful private equity firms, with over $73 billion in assets under management. Smith is known for his expertise in software and technology investing and has led numerous successful acquisitions and exits in the sector.
Smith is also known for his philanthropic work and has made significant donations to support education, healthcare, and other causes. In 2019, Smith made headlines when he announced that he would pay off the student loan debt of the entire graduating class at Morehouse College, a historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia.
Smith has been recognized for his contributions to business and philanthropy and has received numerous awards and honours, including the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy and the Order of the Distinguished Eagle Scout.
Mary Callahan Erdoes, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Mary Callahan Erdoes is the CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, one of the largest asset management firms in the world. Erdoes has been with J.P. Morgan for over 25 years and has played a key role in the growth and success of its asset management business.
Under Erdoes’ leadership, J.P. Morgan Asset Management has expanded its global reach and product offerings, with a focus on delivering innovative investment solutions to clients. Erdoes is known for her expertise in portfolio management and has been recognized for her contributions to the finance industry.
Erdoes is also a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and has taken steps to promote gender equality and support women in leadership roles. She has been recognized for her philanthropic efforts and serves on the board of several non-profit organizations.
Erdoes has been named one of the most powerful women in finance by Forbes magazine and has received numerous awards and honours for her contributions to the industry.
Luke Sarsfield, Goldman Sachs Asset Management (International)
Luke Sarsfield is Chief Commercial Officer of Asset & Wealth Management, with overall global responsibility for driving the business’ client franchise, distribution capabilities, product development and marketing. He is a member of the Management Committee.
Prior to assuming his current role, Mr. Sarsfield was Global Co-Head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Before that, he was Global Co-Head of the Client Business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Previously, Mr. Sarsfield held several senior leadership roles within the Investment Banking Division (IBD), including serving as Global Head of the Financial Institutions Group, Global Chief Operating Officer of IBD, and Co-Head of the Healthcare Group in the Americas. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 and was named Managing Director in 2007 and Partner in 2010.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Sarsfield worked as an investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston.
Mr. Sarsfield is Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Montclair Kimberley Academy and the Treasurer of the Board of Safe Horizon, the largest victim services agency in the US. Previously, he served as the Board Chair of Literacy, Inc.
While many CEOs in financial services shy away from the limelight, there is demonstrable interest from earned media and investor audiences. Media interest in CEOs was high in the last 12 months, with leadership changes at New York Life Investment Management (15th among CEOs ranked in the report), Bridgewater, and Carlyle capturing notable attention. The almost 10% CEO turnover fueled some of this media interest. Many asset management CEOs received more attention than CEOs at household names in other sectors, such as Starbucks, Exxon, and McDonald’s.
It is noteworthy that many CEOs in the top 10, especially among alts firms, are founders with decades of tenure, highlighting that legacy and track record are significant drivers of investor and media interest.
“The past few years have been incredibly difficult for senior leaders in all industries, but especially asset management firms’ C-suites,” says Max Hilton, Co-Chief Executive Officer at Peregrine Communications. “With a challenging macro environment, fast-changing regulations, high CEO turnover, and the conflicting demands of stakeholders, particularly notable in the case of ESG, a cohesive personal brand that helps to tell a wider authentic corporate story is invaluable. As the market witnesses a secular shift from ‘business as usual’ communication, it is important for leaders to drive communications through a strategic, data-driven, and multi-channel lens.”
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