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Sanlam to build sales culture and adopt big bank approach
by James Phillipps on Jan 16, 2013 at 12:50
Sanlam is hoping to follow through on its grand expansion plans by encouraging a sales-minded culture among its staff and develop a ‘hunter’ mentality among its investment managers.
The acquisitive group, headed by chief executive officer Craig Massey, is looking to broaden its reach across the whole of the UK and treble assets under management in five years.
‘Traditionally, particularly on the [acquired firm] Principal side it was very much a business that relied on the strong relationships they had with intermediaries and they allowed the [asset] flows to come to them. What we are trying to do is change that to a sales-minded culture, to not so much be farmers as hunters,’ Massey explained.
To help establish this culture, Sanlam has hired Bruce Ely Johnson as head of business development from London & Capital, and part of his role will be working with the investment managers to develop a more sales-focused approach.
‘What I would like to do is upskill the workforce that we have got,’ he said.
Massey undertook a review of the business last year and made a number of redundancies following a restructure. He recognises there was ‘a lot of uncertainty as this South African company came in here and said “we are turning this business on its head”’.
But Massey said his plans to grow the business will also involve creating a big bank-style separation of roles between the people who manage the money and those who are client-facing, mirroring the structure of the business in South Africa.
‘We had people that were fulfilling dual roles so an investment role researching a particular sector of the market or portfolio construction, but at the same time they were also client-facing, so they had dual responsibility,’ he said.
‘And we felt that given our experience at home we wanted a dedicated investment team… and then we want our client-facing team to go out and sell the product.’
Even though Sanlam has ‘a very big balance sheet’ and Massey does hope to acquire more wealth management firms, the cost of operating in the UK is eating in to profits with 18%-25% of Sanlam’s costs being spent on regulation and compliance.
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