Pioneer CEO presents plan for growth

Roger Yates, chief executive of Pioneer Investments, arrived in London this week to present his five-year business plan for the company. As first announced last year, the plan is based on organic growth, targeting expansion in emerging markets, the US and Germany.

The most immediate focus for Pioneer, said Yates, is Korea and Taiwan, where Pioneer has already had net sales of €700m in 2011. Heading up the operation there is Jack W. Lin, who comes over from Franklin Templeton. Pioneer’s footprint in Asia is “a lot smaller than it should be”, indicating plenty of scope for growth.

Korea and Taiwan are part of Pioneer’s biggest initiative, which is its new emerging markets hub, recently launched in London. Pioneer’s aim has been to concentrate all its emerging markets teams that were previously based in different offices.

Chief investment officer Giordano Lombardo, presenting alongside Yates, said Pioneer is still in the process of recruiting for the equity and credit research teams, which he said was 75% completed, and which he expected to be done by June.

An important feature of this hub is that the fixed income and equities teams sit together. Lombardo said: “The world is much more macro than it used to be. This [arrangement] makes possible the cross-fertilisation of ideas.”

Two other markets at the forefront of Yates’ mind are Germany and the US. In these markets, too, Yates is confident that Pioneer can either “do much better” or be a “much bigger operation”.

The business plan was first announced last year when Pioneer’s parent UniCredit presented the results of its year-long strategic review on the future of the asset manager. One of the options under consideration was its sale, eliciting interest from a number of parties, mainly French groups. 

In the end, UniCredit decided to keep Pioneer and to build it up through organic growth. Effectively, this was the only option open to UniCredit after it had rejected all offers made for Pioneer.

The decision must have resulted in some straight talking between Yates and the parent company, which oddly he describes as the ‘shareholder’. He said: “There were talks with our shareholder UniCredit to make sure they knew what it was they thought they owned.”

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