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T Rowe Price incoming chief vows to prioritise impact investing move

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When Rob Sharps, T Rowe Price’s group chief investment officer, takes over as the company’s chief executive in January, he will be taking the reins at a time when the manager is seeking to further define its impact investing framework and roll out a new slate of fixed-income ETFs.

Bill Stromberg, who has been chief executive of the Baltimore-based group since 2016, will step down from his role at the end of 2021, the company has announced.

Stromberg and Sharps have worked together for more than 20 years, and the change did not signal any strategic pivot for the firm, Sharps noted.

Sharps plans to prioritise finishing the development of the company’s impact investing framework, he said.

This article was previously published by Ignites, a title owned by the FT Group.

In March, the company launched Global Equity Impact, its first dedicated impact investment strategy.

T Rowe’s plans to develop an impact investing framework “could be a big deal”, said Jeff Tjornehoj, senior director of fund insights at Broadridge. “Impact investing is a niche skill, and large investors have been slow to adopt it, choosing instead simpler exclusionary or generalised sustainability practices,” he added.

Another focus for T Rowe will be expanding its fixed income suite, Sharps said. Later this year, the manager plans to launch a suite of active, transparent fixed income ETFs, he said. The suite will include three new products, the Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF, Total Return ETF and QM US Bond ETF, filings show.

“This would be a nice complement to the active equity ETFs they launched last year, and [it] reflects a longer-term commitment to their ETF business,” Tjornehoj said.

Sharps will also continue to prioritise T Rowe’s separately managed accounts business, he said. “SMA has been an area of emphasis for some time, and [we] have a number of strategies available in model account form and are growing that business nicely,” Sharps added.

In distribution, the group plans to continue expanding into the Asia-Pacific region, Sharps noted. The firm also aims to increase its distribution in the broker-dealer and advisory channels.

T Rowe had $1.62tn in assets, across all its products, as of June 30, up 7 per cent from March, the company reported last week.

*Ignites is a news service published by FT Specialist for professionals working in the asset management industry. It covers everything from new product launches to regulations and industry trends. Trials and subscriptions are available at ignites.com.

T Rowe Price incoming chief vows to prioritise impact investing move

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