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$930 billion Nuveen’s head of private markets is stepping down amid ‘challenges’ to the asset management business

Screen Shot 2019 03 21 at 10.15.02 AMNuveen’s Heather Davis is leaving the asset manager after 24 years, while four equity portfolio managers are out. 
Davis was the head of private markets for $930 billion Nuveen where she oversaw private equity, private debt, infrastructure and energy. 
Her departure follows four equity portfolio managers earlier this week. Asset managers have been cutting both staff and senior executives in a push to cut costs.
Both Nuveen’s private and public markets teams are seeing cuts amid a challenging environment for the asset management industry.

In a Thursday memo to employees, Jose Minaya, the $930 billion firm’s chief investment officer, said private markets head Heather Davis would retire. 

Davis did not respond to requests for comment, and the firm’s spokesman declined to comment. 

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Davis led private equity, private debt, infrastructure and energy for Nuveen, the investment arm of TIAA. Her job is not being replaced, a source said, and the private markets group will report to Minaya, according to the memo.

Davis joined the firm in 1995 and has served as president and chief investment officer for private markets since January 2017, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

Her departure follows those of four equity portfolio managers who left Nuveen earlier this week, Business Insider previously reported. 

Despite notching “one of the asset management industry’s strongest organic growth rates last year,” Minaya wrote that Nuveen faces “many of the same challenges as our peers, including the continued downward pressure on fees and clients’ desire to do business with fewer managers who can do more for them.” 

In addition to the departures, Nuveen is consolidating its real estate and real assets team, which will be led by Mike Sales, the head of real estate.

Other asset managers have already announced cuts this year. In January, State Street started cutting 15% of its management, while BlackRock announced layoffs for 500 staff the same month.  

"Many firms are already planning for reductions during the first quarter of 2019 through both attrition and terminations," said Francine McKenzie, managing director at consultancy Johnson Associates.

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