Streur Transforms Distro While Slimming Calvert Down
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Friday, June 24, 2016

Streur Transforms Distro While Slimming Calvert Down

John Streur is shaking up how Calvert Investments [profile] handles distribution, even as the overall company slims down.

"We recently adopted a new client service model intended to provide financial professionals and clients more direct access to our platform, research, and intellectual capital," Streur, CEO of the Bethesda, Maryland-based SRI mutual fund shop, tells MFWire. "Our distribution strategy focuses on client relations, engagement and business development."

Streur has shifted Calvert away from a traditional distribution model (driven by external wholesalers in the field) to one that includes a national client service and business development team support advisors. Yet Calvert also continues to have a field wholesaling force specifically focused on the West Coast.

Streur took over as CEO at the beginning of 2015. The distribution evolution comes amidst his broader, three-part strategy for transforming the company: "strengthening Calvert's commitment to internal investment capabilities and ... research system"; "lowering mutual fund expense ratios"; and using intellectual capital to drive marketing, "to provide advisors and investors tools to better understand ESG investing."

And Streur has also dramatically reduced Calvert's headcount: Calvert has about 100 employees today, down from about 200 when Streur took over. Word is that about 30 sales and distribution people left as part of those cuts. The external field force now numbers nine in total, including three wholesalers dedicated to the West Coast.

Streur also outsourced a call center (to BFDS, transfer agent to Calvert's funds), some fund administration functions (to State Street, custodian and more to Calvert's funds), and an IT help desk. Meanwhile, he's been expanding Calvert's research staff and he's looking to fill some open client services and business development positions.

"To aid Calvert's broader evolution, we restructured the organization to strengthen Calvert's services to clients, lower mutual fund expense ratios and focus more on our commitment to leadership in responsible investing," Streur says. "We outsourced non-core functions and added several research analysts -- an area which we continue to grow."

Meanwhile, watch for Streur to extend Calvert's reach in a non-mutual-fund area: separately managed accounts. He says that the SMA space is "very exciting" and "presents new opportunities for Calvert."

"US SIF has found that over $6 trillion is invested in some form of ESG, with a vast majority in the SMA space -- and it's growing rapidly," Streur says. "Based on our team's research, we are also seeing demand in the SMA space and have the ability to create custom passive strategies for investors who want to integrate ESG factors."

Calvert, a subsidiary of the insurer Ameritas, has about $12.2 billion in AUM.

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