Grand opening, cutting red ribbon

BMO Private Wealth, a banner that comprises BMO Private Banking and BMO Nesbitt Burns, has appointed Geoff Newton as its new head of strategy and execution.

Effective Nov. 1, Newton will take on the newly created role and will be responsible for implementing the firm’s growth strategy as well as focusing on “recruitment, client and advisor loyalty, sales strategy and programs,” a Wednesday release said.

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Andrew Auerbach, head of BMO Private Wealth, to whom Newton will report, said in the release that Newton not only has “deep understanding of the wealth management industry” but also “well-established relationships with our diverse team of advisors and experts.”

Newton has cultivated these relationships throughout his decades-long career with BMO. He’s been with BMO Nesbitt Burns for approximately 24 years — most recently serving as a managing director and senior vice-president — and he was GTA regional president for BMO Private Wealth for approximately one year during his tenure.

By leveraging this expertise, Auerbach expects Newton will help “drive the development and growth of our full-service solutions and continue building the strong entrepreneurial culture of the firm.”

Newton’s appointment follows a recent trend among wealth firms looking to expand and innovate, in part, by introducing fresh executive roles. Throughout 2021, firms such as Richardson Wealth Ltd., Manulife Investment Management, iA Financial Group, Sun Life Financial and IG Wealth Management have all added positions to their management teams that have mandates tied to new themes or specific growth goals.

BMO Private Wealth is likely also looking to overcome recent challenges. After its decision to merge BMO Private Wealth and BMO Nesbitt Burns in early 2019, advisors were feeling unsettled — that resulted in weakened sentiment about the bank-owned firm in Investment Executive‘s (IE) 2020 Brokerage Report Card (BRC).

The firm’s BRC results for 2021 still lagged past years, though some advisors were confident change was on the horizon and that their feedback was being taken seriously. In the Report Card, Auerbach told IE that connecting with advisory councils was key, as was ensuring their input helped drive the firm’s strategy.