Financial institutions M&A: Sector trends - July 2020: Asset/Wealth Management

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP Financial Institutions M&A sector trends: Asset/wealth management — H1 2020 and outlook for H2 2020

Differing bank prerogatives drive deal-making—-some European banks tag-out from non-core business lines, while others tag-in for stable returns.



  • Consistent activity levels


  • Market consolidation as smaller asset / wealth managers consolidate in the COVID-19 climate— mostly smaller deals (>7 smaller UK deals), with a sprinkling of medium-sized deals
  • Differing bank prerogatives:
    • Some banks tag-out (e.g., Banco Sabadell's disposal of Sabadell Asset Management)
    • Other banks tag-in (e.g., Andbank's acquisition of Esfera Capital)
  • Specialist asset management sub-sector consolidation:
    • Fund platform (e.g., Clearstream's acquisition of 51.2% of UBS Fondcenter)
    • Debt servicing (e.g., Cerved's acquisition of 50.1% of Quaestio)
    • Trust administration (e.g., Intertrust's acquisition of Wells Fargo Trust Corporation)
    • Direct lending (e.g., Bridgepoint's acquisition of EQT's credit business)


  • COVID-19 exacerbates industry-wide pressure on profitability:
    • Customers tightening belts and reducing spend
    • Shift towards market-driven pricing on account of MiFID II fee transparency requirements
    • Increasing customer familiarity / confidence with WealthTech (Smarterly, Alpian, Capdesk and InvestSuite all successfully raised growth capital notwithstanding COVID-19 chaos)
  • Tagging-out:
    • Monetisation of non-core assets—wide potential buyer universe (e.g., local / foreign trade, PE and insurers)
    • Favouring lower-cost WealthTech opportunities (e.g., Hauck & Aufhäuser's wealth management partnership with Raisin)
  • Tagging-in:
    • Seeking stable returns (e.g., FNZ's acquisition of Irish Progressive Services International)
    • Tapping into new customer bases (e.g., J.P. Morgan's acquisition of remaining 49% of China International Fund Management)
  • Implementation of digitalisation strategies (e.g., Deutsche Bank's equity investment in Qplix)


  • Stressed / distressed opportunities involving smaller asset / wealth managers with high cost bases
  • Consolidation amongst direct lenders / credit managers
  • Will the FCA's DP20/2 proposals for a new UK capital regime for investment firms level the playing field, or create winners and losers


Consolidation activity to continue as COVID-19 exacerbates profitability pressures and turbocharges customer familiarity with more costeffective WealthTech options

Publicly reported deals & situations

BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street have seen their assets shrink by an estimated US$2.8 trillion in 2020 as a result of recent market chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (FT - March 2020)

Market consolidation

Market highlight:

Tilney's and Smith & Williamson's successful merger to create Tilney Smith & Williamson, the UK's leading integrated wealth management and professional services business, with approximately £44 billion in AuM and co-investments from Warburg Pincus and Permira


  • Tilney (UK): Acquisition of Smith & Williamson (September 2019)


  • PGA & Banco Santander Totta (Portugal): Merger of asset management operations (April 2020)
  • Credit Suisse Asset Management (Switzerland): Acquisition of AgaNola (March 2020)
  • ARA Asset Management (UK): Acquisition of majority stake in Venn Partners (March 2020)
  • Jupiter Fund Management (UK): Acquisition of Merian Global Investors (February 2020)
  • Denge Varlik and Deren Varlik Yonetim (Turkey): Merger of asset management operations (January 2020)
  • Amundi (Spain): Acquisition of Sabadell Asset Management (January 2020)


  • Pacific Asset Management (UK): Acquisition of Parallel Investment Management (June 2020)
  • Jupiter Fund Management (UK): Acquisition of Merian Global Investors (May 2020)
  • Andbank (Spain): Acquisition of Degroof Petercam's Spanish private banking business (May 2020)
  • Quintet Private Bank (Switzerland): Acquisition of Bellevue Group's wealth management business (May 2020)
  • Fairstone (UK): Acquisition of Goodman Chartered Financial Planners (April 2020)
  • Stonehage Fleming (UK): Acquisition of investment management activities of Cavendish Asset Management (April 2020)
  • Ascot Lloyd (UK): Acquisition of Ring Associates (April 2020)
  • Rathbone Brothers (UK): Acquisition of Barclays Wealth Management (April 2020)
  • Capitalworks PEP (South Africa): Acquisition of Peregrine Holdings (March 2020)
  • Hauck & Aufhäuser (Germany): Acquisition of Bankhaus Lampe (March 2020)
  • Mattioli Woods (UK): Acquisition of Hurley Partners (March 2020)
  • Ypsilon Capital (Greece): Acquisition of Attica Wealth Management (February 2020)
  • AgioFunds TFI (US): Acquisition of 30% of Symphony Wealth Management (January 2020)
  • eQ Asset Management (Finland): Acquisition of business of Best Global Ideas and European Small & Mid Cap (January 2020)

Differing FI prerogatives

Tag-out (disposals):

  • Bellevue Group (Switzerland): Disposal of wealth management business (May 2020)
  • Grupo Esfera (Spain): Disposal of Esfera Capital Gestion (March 2020)
  • Attika Bank (Greece): Disposal of Attica Wealth Management (February 2020)
  • Banco Sabadell (Spain): Disposal of Sabadell Asset Management (January 2020)

Tag-in (acquisitions):

  • Singular Bank (Spain): Acquisition of MG Valores (June 2020)
  • Andbank (Andorra): Acquisition of Esfera Capital Gestion (March 2020)

Tag-in (JVs):

  • Investcorp (Bahrain): Establishment of JV with Tages, Investcorp-Tages (May 2020)
  • BNP Paribas (France): Investment management integrated solutions JV with BlackRock's technology platform, Aladdin Provider (April 2020)

Fund platform M&A

  • Netfonds (Germany): Acquisition of Easyfolio (June 2020)
  • J.P. Morgan (China): Acquisition of remaining 49% of China International Fund Management (April 2020)
  • Clearstream (Switzerland): Acquisition of 51.2% of UBS Fondcenter (January 2020)

Debt-servicing M&A

  • DoValue (Greece): Acquisition of 80% of Eurobank Financial Planning Services (December 2019)
  • Bogazici Varlik Yonetim (Turkey): Acquisition of Vera Varlik Yonetim (May 2020)
  • Cerved (Italy): Acquisition of 50.1% of Quaestio Cerved Credit Management (February 2020)

Trust administration M&A

  • Sanne (UK / Cayman Islands): Acquisition of Inbhear Fund Services and Inbhear Management Services (January 2020)
  • Intertrust (UK): Acquisition of Wells Fargo Trust Corporation (January 2020)
  • ZEDRA (Singapore): Acquisition of BNP Paribas Singapore Trust Corporation Limited (January 2020)

Direct lending M&A

  • Bridgepoint (Sweden): Acquisition of EQT Partners' credit business (June 2020)

High investor appetite

Deal highlight:

White & Case advised Catella Group, a Sweden-based specialist in property investments and fund management, on its sale of 70% of fund manager Catella Fondförvaltning to Athanase Industrial Partner

Financial sponsors (acquisitions):

  • Athanase Industrial Partner (Sweden): Acquisition of 70% of Catella Fondforvaltning (June 2020)
  • Nordic Capital (Sweden): Acquisition of Max Matthiessen (May 2020)
  • Bridgepoint (France): Acquisition of 20% of Cyrus Conseil (April 2020)
  • AnaCap (UK): Acquisition of Wealthtime (February 2020)
  • CBPE Capital (UK): Equity investment in Perspective Financial (January 2020)

Financial sponsors (WealthTech funding rounds):

  • Major Oak: Participation in £7 million Series A funding round for Smarterly (May 2020)
  • Fuel Ventures: Participation in £3 million Series A funding round for Capdesk (April 2020)
  • PMV: Participation in €2 million Seed funding round for InvestSuite (April 2020)

SWFs (WealthTech funding rounds):

  • GIC: Participation in US$107 million Series D funding round for Pagaya (June 2020)

Trade consolidators:

  • City of London Investment Group: Acquisition of Karpus Management (June 2020)
  • Natixis Investment Managers: Equity investment in Smart Pension (May 2020)

Foreign investors:

  • Pinnacle Investment Management (UK): Equity investment in Aikya Investment Management (May 2020)

Market appetite:

  • Ninety One (South Africa): £1.2 billion LSE and JSE IPO (March 2020)


  • Prudential (China): Asset management JV with CITIC Group (April 2020)

New markets / business lines

  • KBC (Belgium): Launch of everyoneINVESTED (April 2020)
  • Vanguard (UK): Launch of UK investment advisory services (January 2020)

Digitalisation marches on

Established players believe in WealthTech:

  • Refinitiv: Acquisition of Scivantage (March 2020)
  • Deutsche Bank: Equity investment in Qplix (March 2020)
  • Credit Suisse Asset Management: Acquisition of NorthPoint Technology (February 2020)
  • FNZ: Acquisition of Irish Progressive Services International (February 2020)
  • DWS Group: Acquisition of 24.9% of Arabesque AI (January 2020)

Established players partner with WealthTech:

  • FNZ: Blockchain-enabled administration utility JV with FinSwitch (May 2020)
  • Hauck & Aufhäuser: Wealth management partnership with Raisin (April 2020)
  • Deutsche Bank: Extension of wealth management alliance with Avaloq (April 2020)

Innovation consortia:

  • Clearstream, Credit Suisse Asset Management, Luxembourg Stock Exchange and Natixis Investment Managers: Collaboration on DLT-based platform for investment funds FundsDLT (March 2020)

Start-up support:

  • Fidelity: Launch of Silicon Roundabout digital hub (January 2020)

Inorganic growth by WealthTech:

  • Finantix: Acquisition of InCube (March 2020)

Click here to download Financial services M&A experiences shortness of breath in H1 2020 (PDF)

[View source.]

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