WisdomTree to take major European step with Boost takeover

WisdomTree Investments has said its plans to take a majority stake in specialist equity and commodity exchange traded product provider Boost will be its “most significant international effort to date”.

The American-based firm, which runs $34bn in exchange traded funds (ETFs), announced today it would make its way into the European market by taking a 75 per cent ownership stake in the UK-based business.

Boost was founded in late 2011 by former managing partners at ETF Securities, Hector McNeil and Nik Bienkowski, who helped grow the company from its inception to running $22bn by the time they left in 2010.

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WisdomTree said it would invest $20m into the business, which will be known as WisdomTree Europe, and will launch a range of Ucits-regulated exchange traded funds under both Boost and WisdomTree brands.

Mr McNeil and Mr Bienkowski will be named co-chief executives of WisdomTree Europe

Boost runs 54 exchange traded products in all focusing on equities and commodities. Its products predominantly offer investors a way of profiting from falls in an asset class, known as shorting, or are leveraged products, which use derivatives to amplify returns - both positive and negative.

WisdomTree said it launched its first US-listed ETF in June 2006 and is the only publicly-traded asset manager exclusively focused on ETFs. The company now has 61 ETFs across equities, fixed income, currency and alternatives.

It now claims to be the fifth largest ETF provider in the US and eighth largest globally.

WisdomTree chief executive and president Jonathan Steinberg said: “As the second largest ETP market after the US, Europe is a strategically important market and is the next natural step given our stage of development.

“Europe will represent our most significant international effort to date, and we are pleased to enter this market with an accomplished team.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval but is expected to complete in the first half of this year.

WisdomTree said it would acquire the remaining 25 per cent from Boost's shareholders at the end of four years based on a payout formula linked to assets under management and profitability.