Formica lands on his feet for new UK challenge

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Andrew Formica, Australian boy made good – very good – in London, has had little time off between big jobs. The former chief executive of Henderson Group (HHG Plc) and co-chief of Janus Henderson Group, will become chief executive of troubled Jupiter Fund Management in March.

Jupiter, a predominantly retail house, has been suffering substantial outflows for the past two years and its current chief executive, Maarten Slendebroek, announced his resignation to coincide with Formica’s news last week. Slenderbroek had been chief executive since 2014.

Jupiter suffered outflows of about STG1.5 billion (A$2.75 billion) in the December quarter, when, coupled with the down market, funds under management fell STG5 billion (A$9.2 billion) to STG41.7 billion (A$76.6 billion). Jupiter’s fixed income funds were worst affected in the latest quarter.

Formica was chief executive of Henderson since 2008 and co-chief, alongside Dick Weil, at Janus Henderson from the merger of the two firms in May 2018 until he resigned last July, together with global head of distribution Phil Wagstaff.

According to a report in the Australian Financial Review last August, Formica, an actuary by training, was being sounded out about a return to AMP as its chief executive, but, if it was true, this came to nothing.

AMP acquired the listed Henderson in 1998 as a central plank marking its expansion into the UK. The asset management business was integrated into that of AMP Capital. After several years of losses, the two demerged and Henderson re-listed as HHG Group. AMP sold its last stake in 2005. HHG also sold the AMP-orchestrated 50 per cent holding in Virgin Money of the UK in 2004.

Formica entered the funds management industry at AMP Capital in Sydney in 1993, after finishing a Master’s degree at Macquarie University. He was awarded an MBA by London Business School in 2001.

While at Henderson, he quickly earned the reputation as a deal-maker, buying a big but-troubled retail house, New Star, in a competitive bid against Schroders just a year into his chief executive job.

Also on the rumour mill from time to time over the years, Jupiter has looked at establishing an Australian beachhead, either through a staffed office or a third-party marketing contract, which would sell its institutional capabilities. Perhaps under Formica’s leadership this is a more likely possibility.

– G.B.

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