Head of Passive Management in the Americas, Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management, Deutsche Bank
When she hasn't been flying a helicopter or piloting a powerboat, Fiona Bassett has been busy growing Deutsche's nascent U.S. exchange-traded fund business into one of the fastest-growing ETF platforms in North America.
After having worked for Deutsche Bank in London since 2004, Bassett last year was chosen to lead Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management's foray into the highly competitive U.S. market. At the start of 2014, the business had $1 billion in assets under management, ranking 25th in the American marketplace. It finished 2014 with $4.4 billion in assets, good for 15th place. In 2015, as of the end of May, assets under management had soared to $18.4 billion, putting the group in 11th place and in a strong position to crack the top 10 by the end of the year.
"When I asked Fiona to go to New York with a mission to establish Deutsche AWM as a serious ETF and passive mandates provider, I knew that I was sending her into the world's most competitive and crowded index fund market," says Michele Faissola, head of Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management. "But I also knew that if anyone could engineer the rapid advancements that I had envisaged, it would be her."
After identifying what the group needed to do to grow, Bassett began hiring aggressively. Her ETF sales team consisted of four people at the start of 2014; now there are 21. The product development team has expanded from six to 11. She now oversees a total of 40 people.
Bassett took to New York immediately. "How can you not have fun coming to New York and building a startup? The bank made it super easy, and everyone here is very friendly," she says.
Bassett keeps plenty busy outside of the office. She now has 45 hours of training as a helicopter pilot and also bought a boat, which she keeps at New York's Chelsea Piers, giving occasional harbor tours to friends visiting from overseas. She volunteers every Sunday morning at a soup kitchen next door to Deutsche's Park Avenue offices in Manhattan. And she chairs the Advisory Group of the Community Impact Initiative, which Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management recently created to engage employees in volunteer work in the community.