Northern Trust Global Investments, which spent the summer strengthening its money management business in Europe, has a chief investment officer with extensive experience there waiting in the wings.
"We have the platform to perform in Europe," said Orie L. Dudley Jr., who was named last month to succeed James M. Snyder as the company's head of investment strategy. Mr. Dudley, 55, will take the post Oct. 15, when Mr. Snyder becomes vice chairman. Mr. Dudley's mission includes picking stock and setting strategy.
Like e-commerce, the investment products market is "congested in the United States - but there is a big untapped market overseas," he said. "That is where the American firms are heading, and Northern Trust will be right there." The initiatives come when competition from European financial firms in the U.S. wealth management market have been heating up.
In May the parent Northern Trust Corp. of Chicago bought Ulster Bank Investment Services of Dublin for $12.8 million. Six weeks later it opened Northern Trust Global Investments Europe Ltd. to focus on the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Switzerland.
This summer Northern Trust Global Investments started marketing investment products there, including pension products and active, passive, and multimanager funds. It also hired an international equity team from Julius Baer Investments to focus on managing money in Europe, Australia, and the Far East.
With these additions and a four-year-old London division that manages $2.7 billion of pension funds and $1.2 billion of mutual funds and segregated accounts in the United Kingdom, Northern Trust is ready to pounce, Mr. Dudley said.
The company has built a strong reputation domestically over the past five years, increasing assets under management to $332 billion, Mr. Dudley said.
He now has to find a way to translate that success internationally, he said.
"Not enough people know how successful Northern Trust Global Investments has been," Mr. Dudley said. "It's just not as widely known as it should be.
"Increasing the profits means increasing the profile and improving the brand recognition," he said. "Making a push globally is all a part of the big picture.
Outside the United States, the Northern Trust name is associated with custody, not investment management excellence.
If we keep the momentum of our success going, growth abroad will be a natural extension."
Mr. Dudley, 55, hails from Iowa, but has spent much of his career in investment-product management outside the United States.
For the last two years he has been chief executive officer and acting chief investment officer for Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Ltd. in Edinburgh, Scotland. He oversaw the firm's merger with Hill Samuel Asset Management, an experience that he said was a lesson in how not to handle a merger.
"That was a nightmare scenario," he said. "We announced that deal in June , and I was the CEO of a combined entity with no authority and limited access to information for six months until a combined shareholder group could vote on the merger. In this environment, for acquisitions or mergers to flourish, they have to be implemented quickly."
Before working for Scottish Widows, Mr. Dudley was at Barclays Group, first as president and CEO of Barclays McConnell Ltd. in Toronto, and then as managing director of Barclays Asset Management, where he handled the group's $7 billion European business.
Earlier he worked at Putnam Cos. as head of research, institutional marketing, and European development.
When it comes to European development for Northern Trust, Mr. Dudley said he has his sights set on integration and alliances, especially in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
"France seems so obvious because of its size, but the French are very protective of their banking, and there are a lot of hurdles that are deterring American banks from entering the French market," he said. "Of the Big Four, we probably want to go to Germany first, because it is the largest and is very equity driven. Spain is very attractive, because very few people are looking there, and people are buying investment products in Italy."
Continental Europe is "set for an explosion," because the strong banking network that controls distribution there has become more open about outsourcing, which has prompted U.S. asset management companies to target the market, he said.
For Northern Trust, it is crucial to get in on the ground floor, he said.
Kevin Rochford, managing director of Northern Trust Global Investments, said the recent expansion illustrated the company's commitment to Europe.
Stephen B. Timbers, president of the subsidiary, said bringing Mr. Dudley aboard is the next step in building on the foundation. "We have had many years of consistent asset growth, investment performance, and product expansion," he said. "Orie will help us continue our positive result by pushing the global frontier forward. His experience is invaluable."
Mr. Dudley said he is determined to make the summer's deals pay off. "The footprints we are putting in place are very telling and, interestingly, when you look at them together and put them in context, Northern Trust is unquestionably sending a message - we are a global investment provider, and we will be heard," he said.