The current head of European equities for Citigroup Asset Management, London-based Reece Birtles, is to take up the job as head of Australian equities and balanced funds for Legg Mason Australia.

Birtles, an Australian, has had a rapid rise within Citigroup, which has been renamed Legg Mason in Australia and soon to be in the UK. He was a senior analyst for the financial sector in Melbourne and helped design the modern equities process used by the firm, and then transferred to London as global head analyst for financials. He was promoted to portfolio manager for European equities and then head of European equities. He is expected to start at Legg Mason in Melbourne by the end of the month, replacing Michael Wood who has decided to pursue other interests. Meanwhile, Legg Mason’s head of property securities, Stuart Cartlidge, will also leave the company, to be replaced by his long-time senior property analyst, Ashton Reid. Cartlidge has been a top-performing manager of listed property in recent years, helping Legg Mason to $1.6 billion under management in that sector, which is approaching capacity. The changes follow the takeover of the Citigroup asset management business by Legg Mason worldwide, in a complicated deal whereby Citi received Legg Mason’s brokerage operation in return for the asset management business. The deal also involved some shares and cash. Legg Mason has several well-known funds management companies under its umbrella, including Western Asset Management, Brandywine and Batterymarch. The expanded range is expected to be rolled out to Australian investors starting this year.

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