Russell Investments has named Kate El-Hillow as global chief investment officer and Kevin Klingert as president following various other changes to its senior leadership team.

El-Hillow, who held several senior investment leadership roles at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, brings vast expertise in portfolio management, trading, outsourced CIO and multi-asset investment solutions.

Klingert has extensive industry experience in managing global operations and distribution. He has held leadership roles at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and BlackRock. Both El-Hillow and Klingert will serve on Russell Investments’ executive committee and report to chair and CEO Michelle Seitz.

“Kate and Kevin join us at a critical time, as asset owners increasingly look to partner with solutions providers that deliver highly customised investment strategies tailored to specific outcomes,” said Seitz, adding that both hires will ”further enable Russell Investments to capture the industry’s growth while leveraging our expansive global franchise.”

El-Hillow will work closely with Seitz to build upon Russell Investments’ 85-year commitment to improving people’s financial security. She will oversee all aspects of the firm’s investment division, including portfolio management, implementation and research.

During her 17 years at Goldman Sachs, El-Hillow worked in the firm’s New York and London offices in the $150bn global multi-asset solutions business. Most recently, she served as deputy CIO and prior to that, she was a senior portfolio manager for OCIO portfolios and head of portfolio management and trading.

El-Hillow said: “There are very few firms that offer Russell Investments’ one-stop access to end-to-end investment solutions, proprietary risk management tools and trading and implementation capabilities. Clients today are grappling with more complex investment problems and Russell Investments is uniquely positioned to provide holistic solutions that will help them achieve their goals.”

As Russell Investments’ new president, Klingert will focus on day-to-day business execution. He will work alongside Russell Investments’ leadership team, overseeing the firm’s sales and support functions.

During 10 years at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, he held a variety of senior roles including chief operating officer, acting CIO of fixed income and head of liquidity and managed futures. He developed and expanded Morgan Stanley’s global distribution efforts and led numerous technology and operations upgrades, including the firm’s risk and order management systems.

Prior to Morgan Stanley, Klingert spent 15 years at BlackRock. In 1991, he launched BlackRock’s Tax-Exempt Fixed Income business. He also managed the firm’s cash management businesses, worked extensively on new client development and served on the management committee.

Additionally, COO Rick Smirl has accepted a position at another asset management firm. He left Russell Investments at the end of April and Klingert now oversees the firm’s operations functions.

Pete Gunning, Russell Investments’ CIO since 2018 and a 25-year veteran of the firm, will take on a new role as vice chair and strategic relationships officer. Reporting directly to Seitz, Gunning will focus on deepening the firm’s relationships with key clients while embracing responsible investing practices.

Gunning will also work to ensure that Russell Investments’ global client base can seamlessly leverage the firm’s exceptional open-architecture investment solutions.

According to Seitz, Russell Investments will continue to focus on enhancing its strength in open-architecture investment solutions, as evidenced by the recently announced partnership with private markets investment firm, Hamilton Lane.

“We have seen tremendous demand from institutional investors and wealth managers for customised investment solutions that incorporate public and private markets allocations, innovative new approaches to best-in-class investment and risk solutions, and, increasingly, responsible investment strategies,” said Seitz.

He added that the three appointments combined “have decades of experience working directly with the world’s largest and most sophisticated investors and they will play instrumental roles in helping us amplify and extend our full range of investment solutions and services to a wider range of clients”.

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