No longer Frank Russell's company (it's a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual), Russell Investments provides investment services to institutional clients in more than 35 countries. Previously known as Frank Russell Company, the firm is perhaps best known for lending its name to equity indices, such as the Russell 2000 and others in the US, the UK (the FTSE indices), and Japan. Founded in 1936, Russell manages more than $160 billion in assets on behalf of millions of individual investors and some 2,300 institutional clients such as pension plans, endowments, foundations, and corporations, including AT&T, Boeing, and Caterpillar.
Russell's products include 401(k) plans, separate accounts, alternative investments, and some 20 proprietary mutual funds under the Rusell and LifePoints banners, in addition to funds managed by other firms. It also performs investment management, financial consulting, and securities research. The company has nearly 20 offices around the globe and enhances its international reach by partnering with other financial services providers in markets where it does not have a direct presence. Russell is targeting Asia, the Middle East, and Australia for growth. In the latter country, it added exchanged-traded funds (ETFs) to its product menu in 2010. The company has also been building its ETF business stateside, adding several new funds and buying ETF U.S. One during 2011.
Also in 2010 Russell sold its Pantheon unit, a London-based private equity investment manager, to AMG for some $775 million in order to raise capital. Some industry observers have speculated that Northwestern Mutual may be looking to unload Russell in a sale as well, but the parent company has said that is not the case.
The speculation came after Russell hit a rough patch that, not coincidentally, began around the same time that the global economy started to go in the tank. The company exited the fund-of hedge-funds business in 2008, and exposure to bankrupt Lehman Brothers compelled parent company Northwestern Mutual to provide up to $764 million to prop up Russell's money market funds. The turmoil led in part to a reduction of approximately 20% of Russell's workforce and an exodus of several of senior executives, including former CEO Craig Ueland, who was asked to resign.
Since then, the company has had three chief executives. John Schilfske succeed Ueland, then returned to a position with Northwestern Mutual after Andrew Doman was named CEO in early 2009. Len Brennan, who also heads Russell's business in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, became CEO in 2011 and Doman became chairman of the board. – less