RobecoSAM, the sustainable investment manager, has created a new sales and client relationship unit in its home base of Zurich and hired four senior sales staff to complete a team of ten professionals with client relationship management (CRM) responsibilities to intensify the promotion of its thematic and core funds, indices and impact investing products. The hires mark a major recruitment drive by Aris Prepoudis, the manager’s CEO, to boost RobecoSAM’s sales offering. Prepoudis took the reins at the start of this year after leaving the CEO post at rival, Vescore, the former sustainability and quant investment business of Notenstein, the Swiss private bank. He replaced former CEO Michael Baldinger, who quit unexpectedly last summer after five years as CEO and re-emerged at rival UBS Asset Management as head of sustainable and impact investing, based in New York.
Prepoudis told RI that the absence of a specialised sales force to promote its sustainability fund range had been a brake on growth.
He said the new team was a blend of sales people and client portfolio managers (CPMs), with the aim of strengthening the manager’s focus on markets and clients.
Stéphane Matile has taken up the role of Head of Wholesale Clients and Country Head Switzerland. He joins from Raiffeisen in Austria where he was Head of International Clients and Country Head for Switzerland and Lichtenstein.
Rüdiger Zeppenfeld has joined as Head of Institutional Clients. He was previously at Berenberg Asset Management where he was Senior Business Development Manager. Johannes Weisser has come in as Senior Client Portfolio Manager.He was previously with Rothschild Bank Zurich where he led the fixed income investment team as a Senior Investment Manager.
Susanne Linhardt is working as Client Portfolio Manager. She was formerly an equity research analyst for Citi – Banchile in Chile, an institutional equity sales person for Bradesco Securities in London and a European equity portfolio manager at Munich Re & ERGO Asset Management (MEAG), Munich.
The four report to Marius Dorfmeister, Global Head of Clients & Marketing and Member of the Executive Committee. Dorfmeister joined his former boss Prepoudis at RobecoSAM in January, leaving Vescore, where he had been Head of Clients and a Member of the Executive Committee.
Prepoudis said he was pleased to have been able to attract talent that had “options with bigger companies”. “After taking a look at the capacity we have here, and seeing the momentum in the market place, the people we have hired have said ‘this is the place we want to be’.
He said the new sales team would primarily be focused on Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and the Nordic region, and co-operating closely with Robeco staff on the ground in the UK where the sister company has an office.
At the same time, RobecoSAM’s sister fund manager, Robeco, the Dutch firm, has announced that it is creating a dedicated Swiss company Robeco Switzerland AG in order to differentiate the products that the two managers sell in the Swiss market. The new Robeco unit is to headed by Marco Büchler, who will join at the end of June from RobecoSAM where is Head of Wholesales Switzerland & Austria.