Russell Investments' history

A history of growth and innovation

1936 — Our company started simply, when Frank Russell opened his brokerage firm in Tacoma, Washington. 

1958 — George Russell, fresh from Harvard Business School, joined his grandfather's business 22 years later. After just a few months, Frank died unexpectedly, leaving George and one assistant as the total staff. George didn't falter. For 10 years, he built our company into a successful money management business.

1969 — George identified a need—companies required help determining which money managers were the best at managing pension investments. George developed an evaluation process and pitched it to JC Penney. The era of institutional investment consulting began. And JC Penney is still a client today. To expand George's idea to other American businesses, the company opened a New York office. In five short years, we acquired 40 major U.S. clients.

1979 — It was time to go international. George hired Jan Twardowski to open an office in London and our global commitment began.

1980 — We started managing money directly for institutions rather than simply providing advice. Our assets under management (AUM) began to grow.

1984 — Our researchers saw a need for a better measurement of money manager success. So they created the Russell Indexes—benchmarks that are used more today than all other institutional indexes combined.

1986 — Our global expansion continued, with new offices in Tokyo and Sydney.

1990 — Six months after the Berlin Wall fell, George founded Russell 20-20 to connect countries in need of capital with influential money managers and financial experts.

1993 — George appointed Mike Phillips as our CEO, only the third CEO since 1936.

1999 — Northwestern Mutual, the largest provider of individual life insurance in the U.S., acquired us, but our name, management, office locations, investment approach, and company culture remained intact. In fact, that was the same year we received honors as number 15 on the Fortune Magazine "Best Companies to Work for in America" list.

2003 — Craig Ueland was appointed president in July 2003 and then became our fourth CEO, effective January 2004.

2004 — We reached US$100 billion in assets under management this year. By the end of 2004, our AUM rose to $134 billion. This is also when we acquired Pantheon, the global private equity fund-of-funds specialist headquartered in London, and the Australian HR services operation of Towers Perrin in August—a move that added more than 270 Russell associates to our ranks and enabled us to offer an unmatched array of investment and administrative services.

2005 — We began our Focused Giving Initiative by committing new philanthropic dollars to support projects that address financial literacy and children.

2007 — Our market-leading family of U.S. equity indexes went global with the launch of the Russell Global Indexes. And we were proud to be ranked number 30 on Fortune Magazine's "Best Companies to Work For in America" list. In addition, we surpassed US$220 billion in assets under management (AUM) by midsummer.

2009 — The firm announced a new suite of innovative services called Enhanced Asset Allocation (EAA); introduced our global innovation council to help bring our associates’ best new ideas to market globally; and named Andrew S. Doman as president and CEO.

2010 — We opened our new headquarters office in the Russell Investments Center in downtown Seattle, Washington; and launched our multi-manager commodity strategies fund.

2011 — We celebrated the firm’s 75th anniversary; introduced our Conscious Currency™ investing approach; and named Len Brennan as president and CEO.

2012 —The firm launched more innovative funds (strategic call overwriting, multi-strategy alternative & U.S. strategic equity) for U.S. investors through their advisors; launched our series of target duration liability-driven investing (LDI) funds for institutional investors; and expanded our LDI team.

2013 — Russell investments appointed Jeff Hussey as global chief investment officer and Pete Gunning as CIO for the Asia-Pacific region; launched our global infrastructure and global real estate pools for Canadian investors; unveiled our “next generation” of target-date investing for institutional plan sponsors; received the Asia Transition Manger of the Year in Asia Asset Management’s “Best of the Best” awards; and won aiCIO magazine’s industry innovation award for investment outsourcing.

2014 — We surpassed $250 billion in assets under management; made a strategic investment in NextCapital to help propel our Russell Adaptive Retirement Accounts in the defined contribution marketplace; while London Stock Exchange Group completed its acquisition of Russell Investments.

2015 — The firm established a wholly foreign-owned enterprise in China: Russell Investments Advisors Shanghai Ltd.; opened a new office in Shanghai; expanded tax-managed fund offerings & enhanced strategic asset allocation in tax-managed model portfolios; launched our multi-strategy income fund for U.S. investors through financial professionals; boosted our global team of investment strategists with an additional U.S.-focused strategist; received Chief Investment Officer magazine’s “Industry Innovation Award” for transition management; launched Russell FX Network, a comprehensive execution service for institutional investors; and introduced our decarbonization investment strategy as part of our ongoing, cutting-edge research into environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

2016 — TA Associates and Reverence Capital Partners completed its acquisition of Russell Investments’ asset management business from the London Stock Exchange Group. Meanwhile, Russell Investments expanded its executive leadership team by naming Vernon Barback as president; signed our landmark agreement with China Asset Management Co., Ltd; appointed Mark Spina to lead the U.S. advisor-focused business; expanded RFX Network’s accessibility via Eze Software and through the Charles River Network Service; was honored with the Strategist of the Year award by Envestnet | PMC and Investment Advisor magazine; and formed our new Global Client Strategy & Research team within the Investment Division in order to integrate the firm’s full breadth of asset allocation expertise across businesses and regions.

2017 — Russell Investments named Michelle Seitz Chairman & CEO; earned Chief Investment Officer’s 2017 CIO industry innovation award for investment outsourcing; achieved the highest possible “A+” grade for eight categories of responsible investing practices from the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment; appointed Joseph "Joe" Linhares as head of EMEA, Toby Hoden as the first global chief marketing officer in the firm’s history and Bryan Weeks to lead the Americas Institutional business; and launched our low-carbon global equity fund in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and in several Eurozone countries.

2018 — We received Money magazine’s “Best of Best” multisector fund award for providing Australian investors with the most innovative multi-asset solutions.

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