Dzanis departure leaves questions over future of NTAM’s European ETF business

The firm currently runs three UCITS ETFs

Tom Eckett

Marie Dzanis

The departure of Northern Trust Asset Management’s head of EMEA Marie Dzanis and a number of senior employees has called into question the future of the firm’s ETF business in Europe.

Dzanis (pictured) was instrumental in bringing NTAM’s ETF range – FlexShares – to Europe in March 2021, which started with the launch of two smart beta ESG strategies.

However, NTAM has only launched five ETFs in that time despite making a raft of senior hires including Nick Flanagan as head of EMEA ETF sales from DWS and Chirag Pandya as head of ETF capital markets for EMEA from Vanguard.

Following the announcement of Dzanis’ departure in June, NTAM shut its two emerging market smart beta ETFs in September after gathering a combined $9m assets under management (AUM) since launch in 2021.

As part of the changes to its ETF business, ETF Stream understands NTAM’s Karem Abdallah, who was responsible for active and passive sales coverage across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and its EMEA ETF marketing head Anne Vainikainen are also both set to depart after two years with the firm.

NTAM said in a statement: “We believe our FlexShares ETFs are an attractive option for institutional investors in Europe, and we remain committed to meeting their investment needs.

“The investment goals and objectives of our funds and strategies remain unchanged, as do the investment teams that manage them. We do not comment on specific personnel matters.”

Dzaniswas responsible for managing the firm’s business in EMEA, a role she held since May 2018.

She is replaced by John McCareins who has been appointed to the newly-created role of head of international which includes the firm’s EMEA and APAC arms.

His appointment comes amid a raft of senior leadership changes since NTAM president Daniel Gamba joined from BlackRock in April.

This included the appointment of Michael Hunstad as deputy CIO and CIO of global equities and Sheri Hawkins, head of investment platform services.

‘Low barriers to entry, high barriers to success’ is a phrase synonymous with the European ETF market.

Recent research conducted by ETF Stream found just over half of UCITS ETFs are currently in profit-making territory despite almost €100bn inflows in the first three quarters of 2023, according to data from Morningstar.

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