Aviva Investors, the investment arm of insurer Aviva, is reported to be laying off ten equity managers in an attempt to cut costs, with high-profile managers including Mikhail Zverev set to leave the firm.
Aviva Investors has confirmed that "a number of roles have been put at risk" in its equities team, and said that consultations with the "impacted individuals" were underway, adding that "we are unable to provide further details while we go through the consultation process".
According to The Mail on Sunday, the decision to reduce its equity management team will leave 25 fund managers at Aviva Investors and comes as activist investor Cevian Capital has built up a 5% stake in the insurer.
We have taken the decision to focus our equities business on sustainable outcomes and core strategies."
Aviva Investors has confirmed that chief investment officer for equities David Cumming has already left the business.
In a statement, Aviva Investors said: "We have taken the decision to focus our equities business on sustainable outcomes and core strategies where there is clear client demand, namely UK and global equities, while retaining sufficient coverage to support our multi-asset strategies."
It added: "As a result of this decision, we have mutually agreed with David Cumming that he will leave Aviva Investors to pursue other opportunities. We would like to thank David for his positive contribution to the business since joining in 2018 and wish him all the best for the future."
Global head of equities Zverev is also in line to lose his job at Aviva Investors, The Mail on Sunday reported, with the closure of ten funds expected.
Aviva chief executive Amanda Blanc has been slashing costs by pulling the company out of markets in Asia and Europe, and focusing instead on the UK, Ireland and Canada,
Cevian Capital is said to have recommended that the company reduces costs by £500m by 2023.
In May this year, Aviva Investors expanded its climate transition range with the launch of its Climate Transition Global Credit fund.
In February, Daniel McHugh was appointed as chief investments officer of its £47.3bn real assets business, following the appointment of former real assets CIO Mark Versey (pictured) as chief executive of Aviva Investors.
"Since taking over as CEO of Aviva Investors in January, Mark Versey has been clear on the need to focus on areas where we have a competitive edge and are winning business," the firm said. "In addition to our established position in real assets, credit, multi-asset and wealth and retirement solutions, this means drawing on our strength in responsible investing to build a market-leading sustainable outcomes franchise, including net-zero aligned propositions.
"This is aligned to what Aviva wants for its own investments and what our third-party clients need to meet their own ESG ambitions."
First published by our sister title Investment Week