Trillion Dollar Man: Financial Services Executive Salim Ramji Named New CEO of Investment Advisor Vanguard 

  • Most recently the global head of iShares & Index Investing, he also headed BlackRock's U.S. Wealth Advisory business.

Salim Ramji, 53, a longtime financial services executive, has been named the chief executive officer of Vanguard, the Malvern, Pennsylvania-based investment advisor, effective July 8. He succeeds Tim Buckley, who, as previously announced, will retire and step down as chairman and CEO. In his new role, Ramji “will run the $9 trillion asset manager, a behemoth responsible for the retirement assets of tens of millions of Americans,” The Wall Street Journal reported. 

A senior financial services executive with “more than 25 years of experience in investments, capital markets and wealth management,” according to his Vanguard profile, he most recently was global head of iShares & Index Investing. There he was responsible for managing a majority of the firm’s client assets and evolving the iShares platform to provide an even broader set of innovative low-cost products for investors globally. 

Before leading iShares, he was head of BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth Advisory business where he was responsible for leading the firm’s relationships with wealth management firms, uniting the iShares and active teams around the mission of building better portfolios and applying new portfolio technologies to reach tens of thousands of advisors. He joined BlackRock in 2014, serving initially as the global head of Corporate Strategy. He started his career as a lawyer at Clifford Chance in London and Hong Kong.

Son of Tanzanian immigrants of Indian origin, Salim was raised in Canada. A year ago, during his appearance on the Jon Schultz Podcast show, he shared his childhood dream. “I grew up in Canada, and like every good Canadian, I grew up wanting to be a professional hockey player,” he said. But hockey didn’t work out, and he later joined law school. 

Thanking his parents for his achievements, he said they influenced him in two ways as a child — the importance of education. He said his parents couldn’t even complete their high school studies, so they were adamant about education. “They were very adamant about the need to go to college.”

That motivated him to pursue higher studies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and politics from the University of Toronto and later completed his MA in law at Cambridge.  

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His parents also taught him about financial security. He told The Wall Street Journal that his mother gave him an early insight into his future customers. She put money away in the equivalent of a 401(k) plan each month, even if it was as little as $100, despite a lack of financial security and “a lot of ups and downs.”

Growing up in British Columbia, he spent summers working in the grocery store his father ran, The Wall Street Journal said. During the school year, he debated. “Salim, who has won every debate he has entered in four years, is the first Canadian to win the World Student Championship,” the Journal reported, citing “a local newspaper report in 1988 after he advanced all the way from Victoria, B.C., to a global competition in England.” 

He plans to relocate from New York to the Philadelphia area with his wife and two teenage sons. 

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