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Multi-manager trailblazer Gary Potter retires from fund management

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Multi-manager stalwart Gary Potter is retiring from fund management after over four decades in the industry.

The BMO Gam multi-manager co-head (pictured) has decided to step back from front-line fund management to spend more time with this family. He will transfer his responsibilities to the wider team over the coming months and leave his post at the end of Q1 2022.

Following his departure, Rob Burdett, Potter’s business partner of over 25 years, will become the sole head of BMO Gam’s multi-manager outfit. He will continue to be supported by the eight-strong team, including senior partners Kelly Prior, Anthony Willis, Scott Spencer and Paul Green.

BMO Gam said Potter would remain available as a consultant to the multi-manager team on an exclusive arrangement.

“After 41 years in the industry, I believe now is a good time to reflect on my career and set a course for the next few years of my life, allowing me to spend more time with my family,” Potter said.

“Looking ahead, I am stepping back at a really exciting and positive time for our team. Our fund performance has recovered strongly since the vaccination announcement date in November 2020, and we have a new corporate partner in Columbia Threadneedle, full of enthusiasm and wanting to take our business to the next level.

“I want to thank our clients, colleagues and the managers we have invested in over the years, as well as friends from across the industry for the support they have given me throughout my career, and I am sure the team will continue to deliver for our clients in the years to come.”

Potter brought multi-manager investing into the mainstream

Fund buyers described Potter as one of the major trailblazers in the multi-manager space.  

AJ Bell head of active portfolios Ryan Hughes said Potter “helped bring multi-asset investing into the mainstream for investors over many years”. 

“He has been a champion of our industry for the entirety of my career but importantly not afraid of calling things out when he needed to. After a long tenure, he has earned a long and happy retirement,” Hughes added. 

Tilney managing director Jason Hollands, who worked with Potter and Burdett at F&C, said in many respects the pair “were at the vanguard of multi-manager investing”.

Potter and Burdett’s double act began when they met at Rothschild in 1996 to spearhead its newly launched fund-of-funds business. From there they went to Credit Suisse to launch their own multi-manager business in 2001, before joining specialist manager Thames River Capital, which was acquired by F&C in 2010. The pair survived another takeover as F&C was acquired by the Bank of Montreal in 2014 in a £708m deal, forming BMO Gam.

“When Gary hangs up his boots he can look back at a successful career,” Hollands said. “He’s a well liked professional both by colleagues who’ve worked with and financial advisers.”

See also: BMO GAM to shed F&C brand

‘Business as usual’

Hollands said Potter’s retirement was unlikely to impact BMO’s multi-manager team moving forward.

“At BMO they’ve put a well regarded team in place over several years and so Gary’s long expected retirement is unlikely to change the approach.”

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott agreed it would be “business as usual” following Potter’s departure.

“We wish Gary well. He’s done a terrific job with Rob but it is a true team and it is fund-of-funds … so it is certainly no bad thing.” 

Burdett said Potter’s retirement was “bitter-sweet” but said the team was excited for the future.

“As co-head and as a friend, I want to thank Gary for everything that he has done for our team, the time and commitment he has given to deliver strong long-term investment performance for our clients, and the abundance of enthusiasm and passion he has bought to the industry to do the best by investors,” he said.

Earlier this month BMO’s Emea business, including its multi-manager business, was acquired by Columbia Threadneedle Investments for £615m.

See also: Columbia Threadneedle carves out roles for BMO Gam top brass following acquisition