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US focus: Columbia Threadneedle restructures legal division post-merger

Following its US merger, international asset manager Columbia Threadneedle has carried out a restructure of its UK legal team, scrapping the head of legal and head of compliance roles.

Threadneedle Investments was rebranded Columbia Threadneedle Investments after the 20-year-old City fund manager merged its investment capabilities with US sister company Columbia Management in early 2015. The deal created the 30th largest asset manager in the world with combined assets of $505bn.

Since the merger there has been a reshuffling of the legal division and the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) legal team now reports to US-based global head of asset management legal, Scott Plummer. The UK team is now led by managing legal counsels Alison Hepburn, Eva De Gracia, Alex Ollier, and Lesley Smith who all report to Plummer. EMEA legal head Abi Thomas has departed the business after seven years.

The compliance team has also been restructured with a heavy US management focus – the EMEA compliance function now report to the global head of asset management compliance Steve Buff. Compliance head Darrel Buckley has had his job title change to lead compliance officer, a role which also reports to Buff.

A spokesperson for the company said that the decision to restructure the teams’ reporting lines was to ‘enable a combination of strong local decision making and knowledge with greater access to local capabilities, direction and support.’

‘Columbia Threadneedle is part of the Ameriprise group and benefits from its global legal and compliance framework and resources.’

High-profile in-house shake-ups this year include Shell whic overhauled its legal function after its takeover of BG Group, while Lloyds Banking Group made multiple redundancies and simultaneously appealed to staff to help fill senior leadership roles after a string of exits – all part of a drawn out restructure.

Yesterday (29 June), after much speculation, Legal Business revealed firms including Clifford Chance, Ashurst, Eversheds, Mayer Brown, Reed Smith, Simmons & Simmons, Hogan Lovells, Pinsent Masons, DWF and Bond Dickinson won places on banking giant Barclays’ reduced legal roster, while DLA Piper lost its spot following the global panel review.