Octopus Investments, part of Octopus Group, today announced that it has appointed a new CEO to lead its retail and institutional fund management business.
Benjamin Davis, a 12-year veteran within the Octopus Group and current CEO of Octopus Real Estate, will succeed Ruth Handcock as of today. Octopus Investments has also announced its plans to invest £50 billion in the people, ideas and industries that will change the world, by 2030. To help it raise significant new capital to meet this target, it will be exploring new growth opportunities in areas adjacent to its current investment focus. Jonathan Digges, Chief Investment Officer, will be leading these plans.
Benjamin joined Octopus in 2010 and has held several roles across the business, including investment manager for Octopus Investments across multiple retail investments products, fund manager for the Octopus Apollo Venture Capital Trust and CEO for Octopus Healthcare. For the past four years, Benjamin has been CEO of Octopus Real Estate, our specialist real estate investment team. Before joining Octopus, Benjamin worked in the venture capital, consulting and technology industries in London and New Zealand, his native country.
As CEO of Octopus Real Estate, Benjamin grew the team’s funds under management from £2 billion to £3.8 billion, launched several new funds – including an affordable housing fund to accelerate the much-needed delivery of affordable homes in the UK – and spearheaded the Greener Homes Alliance partnership with Homes England to enable small-to-medium-sized housebuilders to build more high-quality, energy efficient homes in England.
In his new role, Benjamin will oversee all parts of the Octopus Investments business, including retail and institutional fundraising and the investment teams, which includes Octopus Ventures, Octopus Real Estate, sustainable infrastructure and the listed smaller companies team. Benjamin will report into Simon Rogerson, founder and CEO of Octopus Group.
Ruth Handcock, who has been CEO of Octopus Investments for four years, will be remaining within the wider Octopus Group, leading its drive to help more people get access to help with their money. She will support Benjamin through a transition period in an advisory capacity and remain on the Octopus Investments board. Ruth will continue to act as Chair for Octopus MoneyCoach, Seccl, and Guardian Angel. She will also continue reporting into Simon.
Simon Rogerson said: “Today’s announcement represents a hugely exciting moment for Octopus, for three reasons. Benjamin is a perfect example of the leaders we look for at Octopus. He is passionate about our mission and has already delivered several significant initiatives that have contributed to it. This is the latest milestone for Benjamin in what’s already been a brilliant, varied career at Octopus, and I have supreme confidence in his ability to lead Octopus Investments.
“It is a bittersweet moment, particularly for Octopus Investments customers and employees, to see Ruth move to another part of the Group. Ruth has achieved an extraordinary amount during her four years as CEO and I can’t wait to see what I’m sure will be equally successful results in her new Octopus endeavour. Like Benjamin, Ruth epitomises what it means to be part of our Group: someone who places just as much emphasis on how she behaves as a colleague and leader as what she does.
“Beyond the leadership changes, our ambition to invest £50 billion in line with our mission within the next seven years is one that everyone at Octopus is excited and motivated by, and no one more so than Jonathan. To reach such a bold target will require new, disruptive ideas, something Octopus has always thrived on.”
Benjamin Davis said: “When I joined Octopus Investments as an investment manager more than 12 years ago, the business had fewer than 200 employees and less than £2 billion funds under management. Today, it has nearly 700 employees and £12.8 billion under management. To now have the opportunity to lead such a phenomenally successful business, as it continues to explore new areas of growth and grab opportunities that set it apart from other investment companies, is extremely exhilarating. I’m looking forward to working with all of Octopus Investments’ sensational employees and loyal customers in the months and years to come.”
Ruth Handcock said: “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to lead a business like Octopus Investments over the past four years. I’ve learnt a huge amount from our customer-obsessed teams and I’m so proud, in particular, of them achieving a five star rating in the Financial Adviser Service Awards for 9 years running. Perhaps even more powerfully I’ve learnt from our financial planning customers about the extraordinary power that conversations can have in delivering brilliant financial outcomes. I’m sad to leave Octopus Investments but the experience has strongly shaped my belief that more people should have access to these outcomes.”
As part of the leadership changes, Octopus Investments is also delighted to announce that Edward Clough will succeed Benjamin as Managing Director of Octopus Real Estate. Edward has been with Octopus Real Estate for more than five years, with positions including Head of Corporate Development and Head of Care Homes.