Buxton’s elevation on Wednesday, came after a shakeup at Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI), which saw previous chief executive Julian Ide leave the firm with immediate effect.
The shakeup also saw a new investment division of Old Mutual Wealth created, headed by Martin Baines who has become its chief investment officer. He stepped up from the chief executive role at Quilter Cheviot, which was acquired by Old Mutual in a deal completed earlier this year.
Buxton is certainly not the first stockpicker to take over the top role at an asset manager – most recently Euan Munro, an architect of Standard Life Investments’ GARS strategy, took on the CEO role at Aviva Investors.
While fund management is undoubtedly a full-time job and more, fund buyers point out that Buxton’s steady long-term approach to stockpicking makes him more suitable than most to take on additional responsibilities.
"it would have been more logical for OMGI to promote Buxton to chief investment officer rather than CEO"
“It will be unlikely to have a major impact on his funds as he is such a low turnover manager and he has such a strong team around him,” said Peter Toogood, investment director City Financial.
“If you look at OMGI’s history, all of the previous CEOs were from the investment side. Julian Ide has done a great job of bringing the group to where it is, but the appointment of another investment-focused CEO is good news for the firm. There is a lot of precedent for such a move and one could argue that the broader investment team will benefit from having an investor at the helm.”
Andrew Johnston, senior investment research analyst at Square Mile Investment Consulting & Research, also points to the low-turnover of Old Mutual UK Alpha Fund as a blessing.
“Whilst we have yet to speak to Buxton about the change, we have few concerns at this stage,” he said.
“His wealth of experience and knowledge of the industry will help in his role as CEO, getting the right people to do the right things.”
However, for Lucy Walker, associate partner and fund manager at Sarasin & Partners, it would have been more logical for OMGI to promote Buxton to chief investment officer rather than CEO.
“They have also appointed a managing director, Warren Tonkinson, which will take some of the burden but the higher up one goes the more time needs to be devoted to other things,” she said.
“If we were existing investors, I am not sure we would have been too happy with the news.”