Our Capabilities

Global Investment Solutions

The bespoke solutions journey

Client needs drive our Global Investment Solutions business. Our journey together starts with a commitment to understanding the client’s business, the outcomes they are trying to achieve, their specific challenges and the regulatory environment that they operate in.

We take a consultative approach in identifying investment requirements and then combine the necessary building blocks to engineer a truly customised, fit-for-purpose investment solution. Our open architecture approach offers clients access to a wide range of capabilities from within Columbia Threadneedle Investments and external managers from around the world, carefully identified and selected by our manager research team.

Nowhere is our brand promise – Your Success, Our Priority – more evident than it is in our Global Investment Solutions business.

At Columbia Threadneedle, we have been collaborating with clients to customise portfolios for more than 20 years. We have a strong conviction in our track record of building sophisticated investment solutions, from liability matching to growth strategies and regulatory-sensitive insurance mandates. Today we manage US$178bn¹ in bespoke active, passive, multi-asset and single strategy portfolios, making us one of the world’s largest outsourced solutions providers.

Our heritage as a manager of insurance assets provides us with the necessary investment, risk management, governance and oversight tools to effectively build portfolios tailored to specific client needs and outcomes. Around 30% of our firm’s total assets are managed for our strategic insurance partners, with the remainder split between pension funds, foundations, corporations, trusts, investment advisers and individual investors.2
Our Global Investment Solutions capability comprises close to 50 dedicated investment professionals who also draw on the expertise and resources of our parent company Ameriprise Financial. Each solution is designed by a team of portfolio construction specialists, complemented by our manager research and selection experts, and managed by investment and asset allocation professionals with expertise across all geographies and asset classes.

Our bespoke solutions offering

We offer our clients access to leading investment management capabilities, technology resources and institutional-quality portfolio implementation.

¹ Source: Columbia Threadneedle Investments, data as at 30 September 2020.

² Source: Columbia Threadneedle Investments, data as at 30 June 2019.

Solutions Graphic

Find out more

heands and wooden blocks

Insurance solutions

A solution mindset remains essential in the construction of portfolios, from initial design to implementation. This is especially true in insurance.

Manager Research

Manager research and selection

A key component to our solutions offering is our multi-manager platform. We have adopted an open architecture approach, ensuring that clients can access institutional-calibre managers, whether they be part of Columbia Threadneedle or external.

Solutions in action

Take a look at some of the investment solutions we have designed for our clients.

A dynamic return asset allocation solution

A new multi-asset solution for Italian retail investors via one of their life assurance subsidiaries.

Columbia Threadneedle Investments partnered with a global financial services firm to design and deliver an innovative and new multi-asset solution for Italian retail investors via one of their life assurance subsidiaries.

From the outset, it was clear from the risk limits and return targets that a dynamic approach to portfolio construction would be required, but the best fit only emerged after a series of client engagement and design iterations. These enabled the client to identify where to make the best trade-off between various desired characteristics and allowed our Global Investment Solutions team to fine-tune the proposal to fully meet the client needs.

The collaborative engagement started with an open discussion between the client and our client centric investment solution designers: our initial understanding suggested that our high conviction multi asset model delivery approach would be suitable. This includes a dynamic portfolio construction process which combines multi-asset investing and manager selection capabilities and that focuses on delivering risk adjusted returns, with well diversified portfolios which only hold desired allocations. In addition, we also presented a risk-based allocation process. These shared a common portfolio construction philosophy but ultimately the dynamic return asset allocation driven approach was identified as providing the most appropriate fit to the client needs.

As well as determining and designing the right strategy, we also discussed several delivery approaches – from allocation through an existing actively-managed multi-asset fund through to allocation using passive funds. The final agreed structure involves an allocation to a range of single- and multi-asset funds from Columbia Threadneedle as building blocks. The strategy is delivered to the client as a model portfolio, governed by an investment committee within our firm and with portfolio allocations being managed by the client directly.

The interactive client discussions played a crucial role in ensuring the final portfolio met multiple objectives (risk, return, transparency, reporting, marketing etc). Collaboration across multiple functions within Columbia Threadneedle (asset allocation, solutions design, reporting, distribution) mirrored the collaboration between us and the client.

Asset allocation for a US healthcare provider

Improving the management of a defined benefit plan

A US healthcare provider was investigating how to improve the management of its defined benefit (cash balance) plan. It sought a partner able to deliver an end-to-end solution, from portfolio design through to implementation and reporting.

Our initial review quickly concluded that a traditional duration-matching approach would be inappropriate, but that multi-asset allocation would better meet a multiplicity of client objectives. Based on our capital market assumptions, we designed a set of strategic asset allocations targeting a range of returns. The portfolios incorporated alternative investments alongside global equities and global fixed income, with the allocation to fixed income providing the required duration match.

The construction and implementation of these duration-aware, object-oriented portfolios needed the expertise of our manager selection team, to deliver open architecture solutions. We therefore built portfolios using the most appropriate managers, both internal and external as building blocks for each asset class, taking into account the client’s requirements. The blend was able to account for the interactions between managers’ positionings by leveraging our rigorous approach to manager research and selection. The ongoing implementation and review of the portfolio is controlled by our manager selection team, with customised outcome-oriented reporting tailored to the client’s needs.

Asset allocation for an insurance provider

Reviewing range of assets with profits funds

Columbia Threadneedle has several strategic partnerships with insurance companies. Among the services we provide, a regular review of the strategic asset allocation (SAA) of numerous portfolios is needed, be they for unit-linked funds, with-profit portfolios or balance sheet assets.

These SAA reviews involve a broad range of considerations and high degree of client interaction. Regulatory capital charges and asset-liability interactions must be considered alongside the risk and return views (capital market assumptions) for the various potential asset classes. After putting together an initial proposal, we engage with the client and enter an iterative process where we discuss, challenge and implement any feedback to capture additional or evolving client requirements.

In a recent case, we reviewed the range of with profits funds for a client. They had traditionally held a large fraction in domestic assets, representing 75-90% of the portfolio risk, and the client was keen to diversify while maintaining tight constraints on the regulatory capital charge. The final solutions were more globally diversified in both equity and fixed income components of the portfolio, with the capital charge essentially unchanged. The iterative process involved taking into account feedback and perspectives from the client and portfolio managers in each market while maintaining the target improvements in agreed quantitative metrics.

Customised equity solution for a wealth manager

Style analysis and risk overlay for active equity manager

Columbia Threadneedle Investments has broad-based relationships with several wealth managers. Selection, delivery and monitoring of specific products along with consistent investment performance is clearly of primary importance. Our multi-asset services include regular strategic asset allocation (SAA) reviews and we offer design of bespoke solutions where off-the-shelf products do not meet client needs.

We managed a multi-asset portfolio for one of our clients, part of which is invested in a global equity income strategy. Due to the income tilt and the constraints originally imposed by the client, this strategy had large style biases (value/growth and high dividend) which contributed significantly to the active risk of the portfolio and the client was concerned about the impact of these style factors on performance.

We explored with the client several different ways to design a solution which would rein-in these unwanted factor contributions. Following extensive engagement and in-depth analysis, we determined that the best route would be to run a factor-completion portfolio alongside the existing portfolio. The factor-completion portfolio is designed to reduce the style biases of the global equity income strategy resulting in lower active risk that is more aligned with the active manager’s stock selection decisions.

In addition, we helped the client to restructure the overall portfolio to incorporate an index-tracking portfolio alongside the active components. This further reduced the active risk and the costs faced by the client.

Meet the team​

Stuart Jarvis
Quantitative Research Director Global Investment Solutions
David A. Weiss, CFA
Vice President, Global Head of Multi-Manager Solutions
Lorenzo Garcia
Head of Investment Solutions, EMEA & APAC
William Landes, Ph.D.
Global Head of Investment Solutions


June 2021

Stuart Jarvis

Investment Solutions Quantitative Research Director

Lorenzo Garcia

Head of Investment Solutions

Kavit Tolia

Investment Solutions Senior Quantitative Analyst

Is the bond broken?

An allocation to government bonds within a multi-asset portfolio has traditionally played a vital role in terms of risk management and diversification. But with a decade-long bull era in both government bonds and equities, is this assumption still valid?
Read time - 5 min
June 2021

Stuart Jarvis

Investment Solutions Quantitative Research Director

Lorenzo Garcia

Head of Investment Solutions

Kavit Tolia

Investment Solutions Senior Quantitative Analyst

Is the bond broken?

An allocation to government bonds within a multi-asset portfolio has traditionally played a vital role in terms of risk management and diversification. But with a decade-long bull era in both government bonds and equities, is this assumption still valid?
Read time - 5 min