Sector trends – September 2023: Asset/Wealth Management | White & Case LLP

Sector trends – September 2023: Asset/Wealth Management | White & Case LLP

Sub-sector M&A activity levels soar—market moving deals across wealth management, financial planning, fund management, debt servicing, trust administration, direct lending and private equity funds in the last 12 months.

Overview

Current market

  • Consistently high M&A activity levels

We are seeing

  • Market consolidation continues—the UK has been a hotbed of M&A activity in the previous 12 months:

    • Larger deals (e.g., Rathbones’ acquisition of Investec Wealth & Investment UK and Apex Group’s acquisition of MJ Hudson)

    • Medium-sized deals (e.g., Landsdowne Partners’ acquisition of CRUX Asset Management, First Sentier Investors’ acquisition of 75% of AlbaCore Capital Group and LGT’s acquisition of abrdn Capital)

    • Smaller deals (>10 UK consolidation deals)

  • Sub-sector M&A activity levels soar—financial planning, fund management and debt servicing were the hottest in the previous 12 months

  • Individual banks view centrality of AWM operations differently to competitors:

    • Exits (e.g., Handelsbanken’s disposal of Finnish private customer, asset management and investment services business)

    • Bulk-ups (e.g., J&T Banka’s acquisition of 80% of Amista)

    • Skin in the game (e.g., UniCredit’s asset management product distribution partnership with Azimut)

  • Investor appetite remains strong across PE investors, insurers, foreign investors and management teams

Key drivers/challenges

  • Snapshot of sub-sector M&A activity:
    • Financial planning (e.g., Perspective Financial Group’s acquisitions of Tees Valley Asset Management, P Bennett & Associates, Oak Financial Management and Marlborough Place)
    • Fund management (e.g., abrdn’s acquisition of Tekla Capital Management’s healthcare fund management business and FZN’s acquisition of International Fund Services & Asset Management)
    • Debt servicing (e.g., Intrum’s acquisition of CapQuest and Mars)
    • Trust administration (e.g., NT Butterfeld’s acquisition of Credit Suisse’s Guernsey, Singapore and Bahamas trust businesses)
    • Direct lending (e.g., Invalda INVL’s acquisition of 51% of Mundus Bridge Finance and Investcorp’s acquisition of Marble Point)
    • Private equity funds (e.g., Hunter Point Capital’s acquisitions of a minority stake in Coller Capital and 10% of Infexion)
  • Outlay on technology drives deal activity:
    • Established market participants open their wallets for top tech (e.g., FNZ’s acquisitions of YieldX, DIAMOS and Authenteq Tarbena’s IP)
    • Established market participants with 3rd party tech service providers (e.g., Blackrock’s WealthTech solutions partnership with Avaloq)
    • WealthTech champions bulk up operations (e.g., Backbase’s acquisition of Nucoro and MyInvestor acquisition of Finanbest)
  • Established managers expand their digital asset offerings (e.g., Cité Gestion’s share tokenisation partnership with Taurus Group and NORTIA’s crypto asset class partnership with Coinhouse)

Trends to watch

  • Smaller asset/wealth managers no longer being able to sustain high-cost solo operation models—more consolidation activity, with a whiff of stress/distress
  • Regulatory crackdown on greenwashing amidst growing appetite for funds compliant with ESG-investing principles (e.g., downgrade/stripping of fund ESG ratings, increased scrutiny of marketing and advertisement practices, etc.)

Our M&A forecast

Consolidation activity to continue as high-quality AWM assets come available into a market rife with eager trade, bank, insurer, private equity and mature WealthTech buyers.

Other financial services—Publicly reported deals & situations

Market consolidation

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, a joint venture between Mubadala and Falcon Edge Capital, on its investment in MEASA Partners, an investment manager focusing on sustainable development in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Asia.

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised LGT, the world’s largest independently owned wealth manager, on its acquisition of abrdn Capital, the FCA-regulated discretionary fund management business of abrdn PLC, with £6 billion of AuM across the UK, Jersey and Guernsey.

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised Catella on the acquisition of 60% of Aquila Asset Management, with €1.4 billion of AuM.

Larger:

  • Apex Group (UK): Acquisition of MJ Hudson (April 2023)
  • Rathbones (UK): Acquisition of Investec Wealth & Investment UK (April 2023)
  • Nucleus Financial Services (UK): Acquisition of Curtis Banks Group (January 2023)
  • Absa & Sanlam (South Africa): Merger (December 2022)
  • Stanhope Capital & Arche Associates (UK/Luxembourg): Merger (December 2022)

Mid-sized:

  • Catella (Sweden): Acquisition of 60% of Aquila Asset Management (June 2023)
  • Landsdowne Partners (UK): Acquisition of CRUX Asset Management (May 2023)
  • Kartesia Management (France): Acquisition of majority stake in Flexam Asset Management (April 2023)
  • BTG Pactual (Luxembourg): Acquisition of Freie Internationale Sparkasse (April 2023)
  • First Sentier Investors (UK): Acquisition of 75% of AlbaCore Capital Group (March 2023)
  • Apex Group (South Africa): Acquisition of Efficient Group (March 2023)
  • LGT (UK): Acquisition of abrdn Capital (February 2023)
  • BANTLEON (Germany): Acquisition of Warburg Invest (January 2023)
  • Icona Capital (Switzerland): Acquisition of 40% of Stoneweg (December 2022)
  • Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners (Middle East): Equity investment in MEASA Partners (November 2022)
  • Nuveen (UK): Acquisition of controlling stake in Arcmont Asset Management (October 2022)
  • CACEIS (Pan-European): Acquisition of RBC Investor Services (Europe) (October 2022)

Smaller:

  • La Banque Postale Asset Management (France): Acquisition of La Financière de l’Échiquier (July 2023)
  • Titan Wealth Holdings (UK): Acquisition of Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research (June 2023)
  • RiverRock (Monaco): Acquisition of 60% stake in Cfe Finance (May 2023)
  • Groupe Crystal (France): Acquisition of Delta Finance (April 2023)
  • Groupe Crystal (France): Acquisition of Cote Profinance (April 2023)
  • Herez (France): Acquisition of Partners Patrimoine (March 2023)
  • AssetCo (UK): Acquisition of Ocean Dial Asset Management (March 2023)
  • Anima Holding (Italy): Acquisition of 80% of Castello (February 2023)
  • Mapfre (France): Acquisition of 26% of La Financière Responsible (February 2023)
  • Milleis (France): Acquisition of Cholet Dupont-Oudart (February 2023)
  • Van Lanschot Kempen (Netherlands): Acquisition of Robeco Retail’s online distribution platform (February 2023)
  • GGW Group (Netherlands): Acquisition of NDB Groep (January 2023)
  • Groupe Crystal (France): Acquisition of Financière du Capitole (January 2023)
  • Oberon Investments (UK): Acquisition of 63% of Logic Investments (January 2023)
  • Apex Group (France): Acquisition of ALFI Partners (January 2023)
  • Arab Bank (Switzerland) (Switzerland): Acquisition of majority stake in Gonet & Cie (November 2022)
  • Monks Investment Trust (UK): Acquisition of Independent Investment Trust (November 2022)
  • Cfe Finance (UK): Acquisition of 60% of RiverRock European Capital Partners (October 2022)
  • Patrimmofi (France): Acquisition of Asfidia (September 2022)
  • Patrimmofi (France): Acquisition of Haskell Patrimoine Conseil (September 2022)
  • Patrimmofi (France): Acquisition of CoValeurs (September 2022)
  • Evelyn Partners (UK): Acquisition of Arena Wealth’s investment management business (September 2022)
  • Cardea (Switzerland): Acquisition of Trinkler & Partners (September 2022)
  • Vakifbank (Türkiye): Acquisition of 16.4% of Vakif Menkul Kiymet (August 2022)
  • Abanca Corporacion Bancaria (Spain): Acquisition of 61.65% of Imantia Capital (August 2022)
  • Tatton Asset Management (UK): Acquisition of 50% of 8AM Global (August 2022)
  • Delen Private Bank (Netherlands): Acquisition of Groenstate Vermogensbeheer (August 2022)
  • Foresight Group (Australia): Acquisition of Infrastructure Capital (July 2022)

Financial planning M&A

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised Adelis and its portfolio company Säkra on the acquisition of Göteborg Wealth Management, a staff-owned Sweden-based financial advisor.

  • Perspective Financial Group (UK): Acquisition of Tees Valley Asset Management (May 2023)
  • Perspective Financial Group (UK): Acquisition of P Bennett & Associates (May 2023)
  • Perspective Financial Group (UK): Acquisition of Oak Financial Management (May 2023)
  • Perspective Financial Group (UK): Acquisition of Marlborough Place (May 2023)
  • Fairstone (UK): Acquisition of Sacre Associates (May 2023)
  • Adviser Services Holdings (Ireland): Acquisition of North Financial Management (April 2023)
  • Adviser Services Holdings (UK): Acquisition of Sheafmoor Money Management (April 2023)
  • Alantra Wealth Management (Switzerland): Acquisition of Global Keys (April 2023)
  • Radiant Financial Group (UK): Acquisition of TWM (November 2022)
  • Kingswood Holdings (Ireland): Acquisition of 70% of Moloney Investments (September 2022)
  • Fairstone Group (Ireland): Acquisition of PAX Financial (September 2022)
  • Säkra (Sweden): Acquisition of Göteborg Wealth Management (September 2022)
  • M&G (UK): Acquisition of Continuum (Financial Services) (August 2022)
  • Vero Wealth Management (UK): Acquisition of Campbell Thompson (August 2022)

Fund management M&A

  • HSBC (China): Acquisition of remaining 51% of HSBC Jintrust Fund Management (May 2023)
  • Waystone Group (Australia): Acquisition of Link Fund Solutions (April 2023)
  • abrdn (US): Acquisition of Tekla Capital Management’s healthcare fund management business (June 2023)
  • TMF Group (UK): Acquisition of Goodbody Fund Management (April 2023)
  • One Four Nine (UK): Acquisition of McCrea Financial Services (March 2023)
  • FZN (Luxembourg): Acquisition of International Fund Services & Asset Management (February 2023)
  • Parmenion (UK): Acquisition of EBI Portfolios (September 2022)
  • Apex Group (UK): Acquisition of Mainspring Fund Services (September 2022)
  • Banca Consulia (Italy): Acquisition of Unica Sim’s fund management operations (July 2022)

Debt servicing M&A

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised Nordic Capital–backed Intrum on its acquisition of TDR Capital–backed Arrow Global’s UK unsecured, performing and non-performing consumer loan servicing operations, carried out under the CapQuest and Mars brands.

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised Pollen Street Capital on the acquisition of a majority stake in Pair Finance, an AI-based tech business for debt collection and receivables management.

  • BlackRock (UK): Acquisition of Kreos Capital (June 2023)
  • Intrum (UK): Acquisition of CapQuest and Mars (June 2023)
  • Banca Ifis (Italy): Acquisition of Revalea (May 2023)
  • PIMCO (Switzerland): Acquisition of Credit Suisse’s securitised products and financing business (October 2022)
  • Pollen Street Capital (Germany): Acquisition of a majority stake in Pair Finance (October 2022)

Trust administration M&A

  • NT Butterfield & Son (Guernsey, Singapore and Bahamas): Acquisition of Credit Suisse’s Guernsey, Singapore and Bahamas trust business (September 2022)

Direct lending/Credit management M&A

The rapid growth of shadow banks since the 2008 financial crisis has left Eurozone lenders increasingly vulnerable to liquidity, market and credit risks. Financial Times (May 2023)

Shadow bank funding creates risks for big Eurozone lenders. The largest Eurozone lenders are exposed to spill–overs of stress from outside the banking system, relying on so-called shadow banks for more than 15% of their funding. Financial Times (May 2023)

  • Invalda INVL (Lithuania): Acquisition of 51% of Mundus Bridge Finance (January 2023)
  • Investcorp (USA): Acquisition of Marble Point (December 2022)
  • Alpha Dhabi Holding (UAE): Direct lending JV with Mubadala Investment Company (December 2022)

Private equity fund M&A

Deals between European PE firms halve year-on-year as rising rates hit. Buyout houses seeking to exit investments have struggled to agree on prices. Financial Times (May 2023)

  • Brookfield Asset Management: Acquisition of DWS’s private equity solutions business (January 2023)
  • Affiliated Managers Group: Acquisition of minority equity interest in Forbion Capital Partners (June 2023)
  • Mubadala Capital: Acquisition of 90.01% of Fortress Investment Group (May 2023)
  • Hunter Point Capital: Acquisition of minority stake in Coller Capital (April 2023)
  • Hunter Point Capital: Acquisition of 10% of Inflexion (April 2023)

High investor appetite

Deal highlight:
White & Case acted for the Shareholders of Titan Wealth, Perdix (formerly Hambleden), Maven Capital and the senior management team on the sale of a majority stake in Titan Wealth to Parthenon Capital, a leading US private equity firm.

Financial sponsors:

  • KKR (Investment management): Participation in €200 million share issuance by Söderberg & Partners (June 2023)
  • Capital Constellation and Investcorp Strategic Capital Group (Alternative investment management): Participation in equity funding round in MML Capital (May 2023)
  • Alpina Partners (WealthTech): Participation in equity funding round in FINAplus (April 2023)
  • Parthenon Capital (Investment management): Acquisition of majority stake in Titan Wealth (February 2023)
  • Amboise (WealthTech): Participation in US$25 million Series B funding round for Yomoni (October 2022)

Insurers:

  • Vienna Insurance (Hungary, Poland, Romania and Turkey): Acquisition of Aegon’s asset management business (June 2023)
  • Apicil (France): Acquisition of 90% of Nalo (April 2023)
  • Generali (Poland): Acquisition of MetLife’s Polish pension business from NN Group (September 2022)
  • Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń (Poland): Acquisition of TFI Energia (July 2022)

Foreign investors:

  • Kingdom Holding (UK): Acquisition of 1.1% of M&G (May 2023)
  • Amundi (Thailand): Acquisition of 49% of Kasikorn Asset Management (January 2023)
  • GFH Financial Group (US): Acquisition of majority stake in Big Sky Asset Management (January 2023)
  • The Rohatyn Group (South Africa): Acquisition of Ethos (November 2022)
  • Azimut (US): Acquisition of 35% of Kennedy Capital Management (November 2022)
  • Azimut (US/UK): Acquisition of minority equity interest in RoundShield Partners (July 2022)
  • Kingdom Holding (Saudi Arabia/UK): Acquisition of 6.8% in M&G (July 2022)

Market appetite:

  • Helvetia (Switzerland): Successful €170 million share issuance (March 2023)
  • Hellman & Friedman, GIC and BNP Paribas (Netherlands): Disposal of stake in Allfunds (November 2022)

MBOs:

  • bfinance (UK): MBO of 51% of bfinance (February 2023)

Differing FI prerogatives

Hundreds of funds to be stripped of ESG ratings and thousands more will be downgraded in a shake-up being pushed through by index provider MSCI. Financial Times (March 2023)

A growing number of institutions will only invest in funds that are deemed to be compliant with ESG-investing principles. Financial Times (March 2023)

Tag-out (disposals):

  • Handelsbanken (Finland): Disposal of Finnish private customer, asset management and investment services business (May 2023)

Tag-in (acquisitions):

  • S-Bank (Finland): Acquisition of Handelsbanken’s Finnish private customer, asset management and investment services business (May 2023)
  • Van Lanschot Kempen (Belgium): Acquisition of 30% of Mercier Vanderlinden (December 2022)
  • J&T Banka (Belgium): Acquisition of 80% of Amista (November 2022)
  • Banca Finnat (Switzerland): Acquisition of 9.9% of Hedge Invest (August 2022)

Tag-in (JVs):

  • J.P. Morgan (UK): Single and multi-asset continuation fund secondary transactions JV with Campbell Lutyens (March 2023)
  • UniCredit (Italy): Asset management product distribution JV with Azimut (December 2022)
  • BNP Paribas Asset Management (China): China wealth management JV with Agricultural Bank of China (October 2022)
  • Qatar Islamic Bank/QInvest (Qatar): Shari’a-compliant asset management JV with Qatar Insurance Company (October 2022)
  • Julius Baer (China): Equity investment in and JV with GROW Investment

New markets/business lines

Digitalisation marches on

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised FNZ, a leading global wealth management platform which partners with large financial institutions and wealth management firms worldwide, on its acquisition of DIAMOS, a leading provider of software solutions and technology services for the wealth management industry in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, from ConQor Deutschland.

Deal highlight:
White & Case advised FNZ, a leading global wealth management platform which partners with large financial institutions and wealth management firms worldwide, on its acquisition of certain IP and assets of Authenteq Tarbena, a company that operated an AI-powered eKYC and ID verification platform.

Established players dig deep for tech:

  • FNZ (WealthTech): Acquisition of YieldX (January 2023)
  • J.P. Morgan Private Bank (WealthTech): Strategic equity investment in Edge Laboratories (December 2022)
  • J.P. Morgan Private Bank (WealthTech): Strategic equity investment in Evooq (December 2022)
  • Crédit Mutuel Arkéa (WealthTech): Participation in US$25 million Series B funding round for Yomoni (October 2022)
  • FNZ (WealthTech): Acquisition of DIAMOS (September 2022)
  • FNZ (WealthTech): Acquisition of IP and assets of Authenteq Tarbena (September 2022)
  • Storebrand (Digital mutual funds and pensions): Acquisition of Kron (September 2022)
  • abrdn (Digital securities exchange): Acquisition of strategic stake in Archax (August 2022)

Established players partner into WealthTech:

  • BlackRock: WealthTech solutions JV with Avaloq (June 2023)

Digital asset classes:

  • Cité Gestion (DLT): Share tokenisation JV with Taurus Group (January 2023)
  • NORTIA (Crypto): Crypto asset class JV with Coinhouse (November 2022)

Inorganic growth by WealthTech:

  • Backbase (WealthTech): Acquisition of Nucoro (June 2023)
  • MyInvestor (WealthTech): Acquisition of Finanbest (September 2022)