AGF details succession plan

By Steven Lamb | May 3, 2006 | Last updated on May 3, 2006
3 min read

The executive suite at AGF Management is seeing some big changes, with changes at the top including co-founder Warren Goldring stepping down as chairman to take an honorary role.

The fund company’s board of directors has announced the senior Goldring will assume the role of honorary chairman effective June 30, 2006. On that date, current president and CEO Blake Goldring will take over as chairman. The announcement puts in place the succession plan for the company, which though publicly listed, is tightly controlled by the Goldring family.

“On behalf of the board, I want to thank Warren for his excellent leadership and guidance since co-founding AGF in 1957. He truly is an innovator and is responsible for laying the foundation of success at AGF,” said Winthrop H. Smith Jr., newly named lead director on the board. “This move is the next step in AGF’s succession plan and is designed to continue moving the firm forward. Blake has the board’s full endorsement and we know he will continue to deliver value for shareholders in this new role.”

Randy Ambrosie, currently executive vice-president, sales and marketing of AGF Funds, will become president of that investment management division, effective June 1, 2006.

“As president, Randy is responsible for driving forward the AGF Funds Inc. business plan and ensuring we continually enhance our position as a premier investment management firm,” said Blake Goldring. “Randy and his excellent team of professionals will continue to deliver the superior products and excellent service that our clients have come to expect from AGF.”

AGF has struggled in recent years with net redemptions, but broke this trend in February of this year with positive net sales in long term funds. The positive trend has continued so far, which Ambrosie credits to company’s re-focusing on the advisor.

In an interview with earlier this spring, he said advisors had grown unhappy with the level of service provided by AGF and he made it his mission to correct that impression. Ambrosie and his sales team embarked on a cross-country tour to find out what had gone wrong.

“We had just stopped showing up,” he said. “We had just failed to deliver on the relationship promise and I think that was the most universal feedback that we got.”

To ensure better service and closer contact with the advisor community, AGF greatly expanded its sales team and has enjoyed positive net sales in long-term funds since February.

Goldring legacy

The 78 year old Warren Goldring founded AGF Management Limited in 1957, along with Allan Manford. The pair launched the American Growth Fund &#151 from which the overall company derived its name — to give Canadian investors access to American equities listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Goldring was named president of the firm in 1975 and chairman of the board in 1983. In 1965 he was on the Attorney General’s Committee on Securities Legislation and served as the president of IFIC from 1974 to 1976.

The company he co-founded has chalked up a number of firsts in the Canadian investment industry. It was the first to offer a Japanese equity fund (1969), a Canadian money market fund (1976), a global government bond fund (1986) and a Chinese equity fund (1996).

AGF has about $39 billion in total assets under management and serves more than one million investors.

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Steven Lamb