Cresset Capital Management, a $15 billion RIA founded in 2017 by two former private equity executives, has added two senior executives to its leadership team and tasked them with building an RIA unlike any other.
Archan Basu recently joined Cresset to become its deputy chief investment officer and Paul Algreen is the firm’s new chief technology officer.
“It’s pretty unusual for a wealth manager of any shape or size to have people like Paul and me on the team. It represents a level of commitment where others give lip service but not more,” Basu told RIA Intel.
Basu was most recently the head of Portfolio Construction Guidance at Fidelity Institutional Asset Management, which helped professional investors improve their model portfolios for investors. Prior to that, he was global head of Portfolio Construction at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, director of Quantitative Research at Bernstein Global Wealth Management, and co-founded LifeHarbor, the portfolio management and trading firm now known as Vestmark.
At Cresset, Basu will oversee the implementation of Cresset’s investment views across client portfolios and support Cresset CIO Jack Ablin across all other investment activities. Ablin said his new deputy brings “experience and innovative thinking that will help us further refine and customize our investment offerings.”
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Algreen is also an experienced leader. Prior to joining Cresset, he led the integration between Janus Capital Group and Henderson Global Investors and became the chief information officer at the new Janus Henderson Investors, a $427 billion asset manager.
Before Janus, Algreen was a managing director and the CTO at financial information and services company Markit Group. He also spent a decade as a trader, portfolio manager, and lead the technology and analytics group at III Associates, a fixed income hedge fund.
“Paul is exactly the person to build upon that vision and lead Cresset into the next phase of our digital transformation story,” said Randy Conte, chief operating officer at Cresset.
Basu and Algreen said they weren’t familiar with Cresset or necessarily seeking new jobs. But people in their networks were familiar with the company and that created enthusiasm about the opportunity. Basu called it his “dream company.” Algreen had suggested candidates to recruiters in the past, and one asked if he knew someone who would be a good fit for the CTO role at Cresset. When he learned more about the opportunity, Algreen decided to submit himself, too.
After meeting Cresset’s leadership, and becoming aware of each other, Basu and Algreen decided to join a company where they saw opportunity. Although Cresset was founded only five years ago, it is attracting advisors and clients in part because it isn’t bogged down by legacy technology, the new executives said.
They expect to leverage third-party services and develop proprietary technology throughout the business, especially related to data and information. “We can be a little bit more nimble and really find partners that are both willing and able to work with Cresset on customized solutions,” Algreen said.
“We never want to build something that already exists. There is not a lot out there that’s in the form that it needs to be,” Basu said.
Improving the client experience and investment outcomes at Cresset is an opportunity to elevate wealth management at the “industry-level,” according to the new executives.
“In my career, I've observed that true competitive advantage is a very rare and valuable thing. But it never lasts forever and it is really, really important to make hay while the sun shines,” Basu said.
Cresset has more than 200 employees and 10 offices across the U.S.
Michael Thrasher (@Mike_Thrasher) is the editor at RIA Intel and based in New York City.