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Fund Flash: Schroders and Pictet exits/US groups eye $40bn UK firm

Fund Flash: Schroders and Pictet exits/US groups eye $40bn UK firm

Citywire Americas rounds-up the biggest news in the funds and Ucits investment universe as reported by Citywire’s global publications this week.

Federated, Eaton Vance weigh Hermes deal

US asset management giant Federated Investors is reportedly eyeing a bid for UK-based shop Hermes Fund Managers, which manages over £30 billion ($41.2 billion) in assets.

Old Mutual Asset Management, Eaton Vance and Australian fund manager Challenger are also rumored to have expressed an interest in Hermes at various stages of the process, although it is unclear whether they are still in the race.

According to UK broadcaster Sky News, talks have been underway for several months between potential buyers of Hermes and its current management team. Hermes was set up in 1983 to manage the assets of the pension scheme for UK telecoms giant British Telecom (BT). The firm is still owned by the scheme.

Schroders EMD absolute return chief to exit

Schroders named Abdallah Guezour its new head of emerging market debt absolute return and commodities following the announcement Geoff Blanning is set to retire in April 2018 after nearly 20 years with the firm.

Guezour was most recently head of emerging market debt absolute return and has been with the company since 2000. He is a named manager on the Schroder ISF Emerging Markets Debt Absolute Return fund.

This transition will be aided by Mark Lacey, a fund manager within the commodities team, who will oversee the leadership of the group and the firm's overall energy sector responsibilities from January. Lacey is currently the lead manager on the Schroder ISF Global Energy and Schroder Global ISF Global Gold funds.

Pictet quant chief exits, takes team with him

Pictet's chief quantitative strategist quit the Swiss firm and is set to take his team to a new venture being set up by an Asian alternative investment group.

The move sees Edgar van Tuyll end two decades with Pictet to join the newly-launched Geneva business of PAG Asia Capital.

His last role at the private bank was chief of quant strategy, overseeing a $1 billion portfolio. His team of quantitative strategists from Pictet are now set to join him at PAG. These include: Dr Wanfeng Yan, Guillaume van Baalen, Dr Mingxi Wang and Eyal Hanouna.

Legg Mason launches ESG EM fund

Legg Mason expanded its emerging markets range of products with the launch of an environmental, social and governance (ESG)-focused emerging markets fund, which will use filters to better invest in underdeveloped market-based companies.

The Dublin-domiciled Legg Mason Martin Currie Global Emerging Markets fund is managed by veteran Kim Catechis, head of emerging markets at Martin Currie, Legg Mason’s equity specialist affiliate.

The new strategy complements the range of funds run by Catechis and his team, who manage a combined $1.9 billion in assets.

Due to increasing investor interest in ESG, Geneva-based Quaero Capital also launched an Accessible Clean Energy fund managed by Martina Turner and Zoë VanderWolk this week. The fund aims to reduce carbon emissions by investing in listed fast-growing clean energy stocks.

Japanese giant takes stake in $200bn TCW

Japan’s largest private life insurance company Nippon Life Insurance Company announced a ‘strategic investment’ in fixed income specialist asset manager TCW Group, with the Japanese firm becoming a minority shareholder.

Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of 2017, were not disclosed. However, Japanese financial publication Nikkei Asian Review pegged the price of the stake at an estimated 55 billion yen ($489 million).

TCW is home to several high profile fund managers running Ucits-compliant funds, including Citywire + rated Tad Rivelle and Bryan Whalen, who own 40% of the company.

BlackRock hands China chief new flex fund

BlackRock expanded its efforts in the Chinese equity market with a new approach for Citywire AA-rated Helen Zhu and her team.

The BGF China Flexible Equity fund, which is Luxembourg-domiciled, is designed to capitalize on opportunities in the onshore (A-Share) and offshore (H-Share and ADR, among others) markets.

BlackRock said it has designed this fund to operate across both markets, rather than investors having to invest in two distinct funds. It will hold between 20 and 50 companies, drawn from a universe of 3,300 onshore and 1,000 offshore stocks.

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