Neuberger completes full staff ownership


(Pictured: George Walker)

Senior staff at Neuberger Berman, the New York-based global manager, have completed their full acquisition of the firm – a process which commenced in 2011 after the Lehman Bros ‘estate’ agreed to sell its 48 per cent holding. Neuberger has shown the benefits of staff control since it emerged, in 2009, from the Lehman Bros collapse.

The final share purchases were completed just before Christmas. More than 20 per cent of the firm’s 2,000-odd employees, plus some former employees, now own shares in Neuberger, which started life as an independent partner-owned organisation in 1939.

According to George Walker, the chief executive: “Broad employee ownership more closely aligns us with the interests of our clients than other structures might achieve. Returning to our roots as a private partnership enables the firm to focus all of our resources and efforts on managing money and providing customized advice for clients, which further strengthens our culture.”

He said last week that, since 2009, Neuberger had improved stability and tenure of its investment teams, expanded its investment “platform” and expanded geographical spread and client coverage.

Neuberger has had a 97 per cent annual retention rate of management at senior vice president and managing director level since 2009.

“This stability has served clients well and resulted in asset growth from US$158 billion in May 2009 to the current US$247 billion, as at September 30,” he said.

Additions to the investment platform over the same time have included emerging markets debt, global equity long/short, global credit long/short, multi-asset class solutions and private debt strategies.

“In 2009, the firm had offices in eight countries serving fewer than 70 non-US clients,” he said. “Today, with offices in 17 countries, 248 non-US professionals serve 482 non-U.S. clients.” Neuberger’s Australian presence is based in Melbourne, led by managing directors Paul O’Halloran and Lucas Rooney.

The staff share purchases were funded by a mix of cashflow from operations and individual purchases.