Business Irish

Friday 20 April 2018

KBI sale set to trigger new focus on Irish market

The deal is subject to Central Bank approval.
The deal is subject to Central Bank approval.
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Wealth manager Kleinwort Benson Investors (KBI) is eyeing a push back into the Irish market following this week's sale to European asset management giant Amundi.

Dublin-based KBI has €7.6bn under management, a majority of which is invested by the Irish firm on behalf of US investors including state and local government employees. Revenue was €31m last year.

The firm manages investments for clients in markets as diverse as Korea and the Shetland Islands.

Ten years ago all of the assets managed by KBI were from Irish clients.

A sale announced this week will see 87.5pc of KBI sold by French financial services group Oddo & Cie to Amundi, one of the largest asset managers in Europe.

The remaining 12.5pc stake will be owned by KBI management. KBI, previously known as KBC Investors, will be renamed once the deal closes.

The Dublin-headquartered firm will operate at arm's length from Amundi, with its own board and management.

The deal is subject to Central Bank approval. Chief executive Sean Hawkshaw says there will be no job losses among KBI's 62 staff in Dublin, Boston and New York, and the firm is hiring.

KBI's specialisation in global equities has limited KBIs scope to grow among bond and property focused pension managers in Ireland, he said.

The link to Amundi, a huge bond market player, which had €987bn in assets under management as of the end of March, creates an opportunity to be more engaged with the Irish market, Sean Hawkshaw said.

KBI's main focus will be on international markets, however.

Sean Hawkshaw said Amundi and KBI are highly complementary in terms of product and geographic focus.

KBI's Global Equities expertise will strongly augment Amundi's equity franchise. Likewise, KBI will leverage Amundi's strong retail and institutional presence in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, he said.

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