The firm’s seven wholly owned but autonomous investment affiliates mostly focus on distinct asset classes. Smits streamlined this arrangement in February 2021 by consolidating most of BNYIM’s active fixed-income and equity capabilities into two affiliates, Insight and Newton, respectively, and by trimming overlapping investment teams; further, the firm sold private-credit-focused Alcentra to Franklin Templeton in May 2022 partially because of that boutique’s operational complexity. Smits believes these organizational changes should help BNYIM’s affiliates manage their strategies more effectively. Yet the firm’s broad strategy lineup remains bloated owing in part to the affiliates’ openness to customized client requests regardless of asset size.
Smits has sought to improve collaboration across the firm’s investment teams, including by pushing affiliate CEOs to replace “star managers” with comanagers on most strategies. This is a noteworthy effort, but it led to the departure of some managers who didn’t want to partake in the new model. Amid the uncertainty of how these and other changes ultimately shake out, the firm retains its Average Parent rating.