… as Cambridge lays off staff internationally

The big global consulting firm Cambridge Associates, which has traditionally specialised in alternative asset classes but in recent years has gone mainstream as well, has laid off an estimated 48 staff globally.

It is understood the Australia and New Zealand business, however, is not affected by the staff cutbacks. Locally the firm, headed up by Eugene Snyman and Travis Schoenleber, has been doing well in the past couple of years.

But not so elsewhere, according to the Wall Street Journal. A report published on March 14 said that David Druley, the Cambridge chief executive, told staff on an internal call that the firm was increasingly transitioning from a consulting to an investment firm.

It has an “Outsourced CIO” service, which the Journal says has about US$20 billion invested. This service, which is like an implemented consulting business, is offered to both institutions and high-net-worth individuals. Rival consultant Willis Towers Watson also has an OCIO service in the UK. Neither is known to market that sort of funds management in Australia or New Zealand. Of the other global firms, Mercer offers investment trusts, which it pioneered in Australia.

The Journal reported: “We overstaffed, and as we start to be more of an investment firm and less of a consulting firm we need to make room” for investment experts, Druley said on the call, according to some of the people.

“The layoffs altogether comprise nearly 50 of Cambridge’s roughly 1,300-person workforce, including a handful of employees who were laid off in February. Cambridge hasn’t had layoffs in the past decade, including during the crisis, said current and former employees. Druley said some hires, particularly of experienced investors, are planned. The Boston-based firm plans to open an office in New York, he said.

“We will continue to invest in our business to maintain our consistent record of positive growth… The firm said it expects its head count to be back around 1,300 by year-end.”