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Pershing CEO to step down in surprise shakeup at custodial giant

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Some seven million clients of independent broker-dealers, RIAs and other wealth management firms will have a different CEO leading their custodian by midsummer.

Lisa Dolly, CEO of BNY Mellon's Pershing, will step down on July 1, to be replaced by COO Jim Crowley, the clearing and custodial giant said in a surprise announcement on May 8. BNY Mellon’s board appointed the 35-year company veteran to succeed Dolly.

She had taken the reins at Pershing in February 2016 after spending some 25 years with the firm. While the company says she will remain chairman of the firm through the end of 2019, representatives declined to comment beyond the abrupt press release on the move.

“We respect Lisa's desire [to] do something different after over 30 years at one firm, and we are grateful to her for her leadership and many contributions,” Todd Gibbons, CEO of BNY’s clearing, markets and client management unit, said in a statement.

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Noting that Dolly and Crowley have worked together for several years, Gibbons added that “clients can expect a seamless transition between now and the end of the year.”

Pershing’s revenue ticked up by 3% year-over-year to $2.26 billion in 2018, according to BNY’s annual report, which references “muted” performance for the year due to “two large client losses (which we’ve spoken about at length).”

The firm has $1.7 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, a presentation for BNY’s annual meeting of shareholders in April shows. Last year, it listed 750 RIAs, 800 BDs and 100 funds as clients, including more than $615 billion in custodied RIA assets.

RIA assets had soared by more than 1,000% from around $50 billion in 2010, and Dolly unveiled $50 million in new investments in Pershing’s advisory offerings at its annual Insite conference last year. The company planned to use the money for technology, staffing and new programs.

In the annual report, BNY stated that Pershing helps its BD clients “create more operating leverage by using our scale and platform to lower their costs and increase the quality of the products they offer.”

The company is also devoting more resources to “meaningful opportunities” in the U.K. and to the RIA marketplace “as the wealth management business shifts towards this model,” the document states.

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