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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Where Will Allspring Expand Under Sullivan?

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

M&A, product expansion, and distribution team expansion are all on the table at a $587-billion-AUM (as of September 30), freshly independent asset manager.

Joseph A. "Joe" Sullivan
Allspring Global Investments
Chairman & CEO
So says Joe Sullivan, executive chairman and CEO of Allspring Global Investments [profile]. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm (fka Wells Fargo Asset Management, i.e. WFAM) spun out of Wells Fargo and Company last month and is now private equity-backed. (Allspring employees also hold a sizable chunk of the firm, and Wells Fargo still owns a 9.9-percent stake.)

"It's just a great time to emerge as a new company ... We do feel that this is a moment in time to kind of design the firm that we need to be and that we want to be," Sullivan tells MFWire. "We're emerging at a very important time and exciting time, a changing time."

"We intend to try to deliver more. We want to be a leader in that regard," Sullivan says, pointing to DE&I, ESG, and greater customization and personalization as key areas where investors are looking for more. "Clients, communities, regulators, and employees expect more of the firms in our industry. That 'more' is certainly financial performance ... but it's also impact."

The Allspring team's investment strategies will "continue to evolve in a way that's increasingly personalized and customized to the investor," Sullivan says. And he hints at areas of interest for future product development, like infrastructure, private market strategies, and real estate.

"We'll always be open to new investment capabilities that are capability accretive," Sullivan says. "There could be opportunities to expand the repertoire of what we can offer."

Sullivan also plans to expand his team, which currently includes more than 1,400 employees around the world.

"We'll certainly be adding distribution capabilities," Sullivan says. "We have a need there, both geographically around the world as well as in certain channels in the U.S. We need more good sales people."

"We're going to be investing in technology," Sullivan adds. "You will see us continue to add talent and capabilities on a pretty measured, consistent basis. We're not looking to make a big splash all at once with something."

And perhaps Sullivan, who previously led a big publicly traded asset manager that was acquired by a rival last year, will get in on some of the asset management industry M&A, too.

"We're certainly open to that ... We're going to be thoughtful about it and opportunistic about it," Sullivan says. "We're going to be open to M&A as long as it makes us better." 

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