Liontrust has agreed to buy the Architas UK investment business in a deal worth £75m as it looks to expand its distribution reach among financial advisers.
The fund house announced today (July 1) it had agreed to buy Architas Advisory Services and Architas Multi-Manager from Axa in a move which would bring £5.6bn of assets under management and advice to Liontrust.
Liontrust's total AUM will grow to £25bn once the deal goes through.
Following the integration, the Architas UK Fund Management team — headed by Sheldon Macdonald — will merge with Liontrust’s multi-asset investment team.
Liontrust’s John Husselbee will lead the multi-asset department with Mr Macdonald as his deputy.
The purchase includes the Architas multi-asset active, blended and passive multi-manager fund ranges as well as specialist and income funds, creating a multi-asset multi-manager proposition with £6.6bn in AUM.
The Liontrust brand will be used for all Architas funds on completion of the acquisition.
Architas’s UK distribution team will also move to Liontrust as part of the deal.
John Ions, Liontrust's chief executive, said: “Buying the Architas UK investment business will expand our distribution among financial advisers through the scale of the combined businesses, the strength of the merged investment team, the broad range of multi-asset multi-manager portfolios and funds and enhanced client service.
“Financial advisers are key clients for Liontrust because of the responsibility they have as guardians of people’s savings.”
Mr Ions added the enlarged proposition would enable Liontrust to provide “superior customer service” through expanded online tools, noting a key attraction of the deal was the ability to strengthen the digital support the fund house could now provide financial advisers.
Matthieu Andre, chief executive of Architas, said he was confident Liontrust was a “great strategic and cultural fit” for the business as it already occupied an “excellent position in the UK” with “strong links to financial advisers”.
He added: “Our UK investment business has grown steadily over the past decade, which is a testament to the strength of our relationships with both financial advisers and clients, and a reflection of the passion and dedication of our staff.
“As such, the decision to sell has been a difficult one but is the best for this business to continue to flourish.”
Liontrust has since hinted it was on the lookout for more acquisitions after reporting strong profits and boosted AUM over the past few years.
The Liontrust and Architas deal is expected to complete by the end of the year, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.
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