Skip to content

As chief investment officer, Brian Andrew, who began his position at Johnson Financial Group last August, is tasked with leading Johnson Bank's investment strategy and overseeing its portfolio management. Constantly learning is part of the job, he said.

A lot of people may prefer to spend the early hours of Saturday lounging in bed or catching up on sleep they missed during the busy workweek. But not Johnson Bank's CIO Brian Andrew.

At the crack of dawn on an upcoming Saturday, Andrew likely will be wide awake to teach an online portfolio management course to a group of students located 4,000 miles away at Spain's IE University. Exploring the intricacies of investments and portfolios with students is not part of his job and not how most people kick off their Saturday morning, but for Andrew, this interaction is key to keeping him competitive and in the loop.

“I'm a voracious reader and I think you have to be learning all the time,” he said. “In most businesses, things change rapidly and if you stop learning, then you're going to have a problem... Being focused on always learning and engaging with young people is critically important.”

As chief investment officer, Andrew, who began his position in August, leads Johnson Bank's investment strategy and oversees its portfolio management.

“Constantly learning is part of the job,” he said.

And with more than 25 years in the financial services industry, he's already absorbed quite a bit of knowledge.

“I like strategy,” he said. “I like thinking about how to get a disparate group of people to come together to work on a problem. And if you think about investment, that's essentially what it is.”

Last year, Andrew arrived at Racine‐based Johnson Financial Group after most recently serving as president and chief investment officer for investment advisory business Cleary Gull Advisors Inc. in Milwaukee. Johnson Financial Group, parent company of Johnson Bank and Johnson Insurance, is poised to acquire that business soon and the combined company post‐merger will have more than $8.5 billion in assets under administration.

In fact, Andrew's move to Johnson Bank is what sparked talks between Cleary Gull and Johnson Financial Group.

“I always say that if you're managing an investment team, you're really managing conflict,” Andrew said. “Most of my job is managing conflict because I want a team with different opinions. If I say, ‘This is where I want to invest and everybody says, ‘Yeah that's a great idea,’ then that's a problem.”

The IE University in Spain and his new Johnson Bank office aren't the only places where Andrew adds his wealth of knowledge in portfolio management. At the University of Wisconsin‐Milwaukee, Andrew has a substantial role in the Lubar School of Business Investment Management Certificate Program.

“Brian has been very, very supportive of this program from the start,” said Kevin Spellman, the program's director. “I met him in 2010 and he basically said, ‘How can I help?’”

Through the program, Andrew has spoken to classes, hired both interns and employees from the program, organized student trips and helped ensure sponsorship of educational conferences, said Spellman, who also co‐teaches the IE University course with Andrew.

“Every firm he's been at, even if he hasn't started out as a leader, he's ended up as leader,” Spellman said.


Read the article by Melanie Lawder | Milwaukee Business Journal