March 8, 2017 / 7:38 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Bank of Montreal cuts jobs in buy-side equity unit -sources

(Adds more job cut details, fund moves)

By John Tilak and Fergal Smith

TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - BMO Global Asset Management has laid off several portfolio managers and management staff in a restructuring of its buy-side equity team, according to two people familiar with the situation.

The asset management division of Bank of Montreal, Canada’s fourth-biggest lender, has cut the size of the team to about 13 members, from about 21 previously, the people said on Tuesday and Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential.

A BMO Asset Management spokesman declined to comment.

The changes have affected some portfolio managers and management-level staff, the people said, but traders and research analysts have not lost their jobs.

The cuts in the Canadian division signaled a shift away from active management, at a time when competition from exchange-traded funds and index funds is increasing. BMO itself has pushed aggressively into the ETF space.

BMO also cut at least two people in its Canadian fixed income staff at the asset management division, including Denis Senecal, chief investment officer of Canadian active fixed income, the people said.

Some mandates are being transferred to Miami, including high yield, which was previously managed in Toronto by Monegy Inc., a high-yield focused fixed income investment management firm that sits within BMO Global Asset Management.

Earlier this week, BMO Investments Inc. announced portfolio management changes to funds run by Monegy.

Lesley Marks, head of the Canadian fundamental equities team, will leave as part of the overhaul, the people said. Marks oversaw portfolio management and research for fundamental Canadian equity strategies at BMO.

Portfolio managers Gino Di Monte and Jeff Bradacs will depart as well, the people said. Both had focused on Canadian large cap equities.

BMO Global Asset Management ranked 55th among global investment firms based on worldwide assets under management in 2015, according to Pensions & Investments. (Additional reporting by Rod Nickel; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Andrew Hay)

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