iShares appoints head of fixed income EMEA

iShares, the exchange-traded funds platform of BlackRock, has announced the appointment of Brett Olson to the newly-created position of head of fixed income for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Olson has nearly 15 years’ experience in structuring and marketing fixed income securities, primarily gained with major banking groups.

He joins iShares from Nomura, where he was a managing director and head of the EMEA teams responsible for the sales of asset backed securities and the distribution of illiquid debt instruments. Prior to this, Olson worked at Standard Chartered Bank and spent nine years at Lehman Brothers in London and New York, building relationships with fixed income issuers and investors and supporting global debt placements.

As iShares explained, the firm has established the position of head of fixed income EMEA to respond to the significant long-term demand for fixed income ETFs, and for a greater range of bond exposures to be made available through ETFs.

Olson will be responsible for co-ordinating iShares’ fixed income initiatives and activities across its product development, sales and capital markets teams, ensuring its fund range provides the access to bond markets that investors need today, and that clients receive excellent trading and execution support.

He will report to Tom Fekete, who recently joined iShares as head of product development for EMEA and David Heike, Global Head of Fixed Income iShares.

Commenting on the appointment, Joe Linhares, Head of iShares in EMEA, said: “Fixed income ETFs have gathered strong assets over the last three years, but we’re now seeing a revolution in demand and in how they are being used. A seismic shift is taking place. Institutional investors such as insurance companies are looking to hold more bond ETFs and fewer individual fixed income securities, and at the same time retail investors are learning more about these funds and their benefits, which is further fuelling uptake.

“Our focus is on remaining a leading provider of high-quality fixed income ETFs in the region. Brett will play a pivotal role in this effort, leading our fixed income proposition across the business. His excellent credentials in fixed income structuring will be particularly valuable as we develop our fixed income product range and engage ever more closely with clients and market participants. We’re excited Brett’s joining us at this critical time in the growth of the ETF market.”

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