Ameriprise, Amundi add to their European rosters: Firms target EMEA, ETF expansions in new deals with BMO, Lyxor

Ameriprise Financial Inc. and Amundi made moves earlier this month to bolster their European capabilities.

Ameriprise Financial signed a definitive agreement to acquire BMO Financial Group's EMEA money management business in a £615 million ($850 million) all-cash deal, while Amundi announced it is in exclusive negotiations with Lyxor Asset Management's parent company to acquire the European exchange-traded funds specialist in an €825 million ($970 million) deal.

The Ameriprise agreement will add $124 billion in European assets under management and is set to complete in the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.

The acquisition will complement Ameriprise-owned Columbia Threadneedle Investments' core business and global growth strategy, adding a substantial presence in the European institutional market, an Ameriprise news release said. Columbia Threadneedle's AUM will increase to $671 billion and push EMEA AUM to 40% of its total assets.

Ameriprise and BMO also struck a separate deal for U.S. clients, giving certain BMO money management clients the opportunity to move to Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Terms of the U.S. deal were not disclosed, a separate news release by BMO said.

The deal allows BMO to focus on long-term profitability as a North American bank and wealth manager "and enables us to focus our resources where we have a competitive advantage and are well-positioned to deliver growth and accretive returns," Joanna Rotenberg, group head, BMO Wealth Management, said in the BMO release. "We will continue to invest in our diversified North American wealth businesses, including our Canadian asset management business, to provide an unrivaled experience for our clients as their needs change."

Under the acquisition, BMO Wealth Management also established a strategic relationship with Ameriprise to give its North America-based wealth management clients access to Columbia Threadneedle strategies.

"Adding BMO's EMEA asset management business is an exceptional growth opportunity," Ted Truscott, CEO at Columbia Threadneedle, said in the Ameriprise release. "The transaction advances our strategy and enhances our geographic and asset class diversification, enabling us to serve more clients and meet more of their needs."

It is anticipated that the majority of BMO's more than 800 staff in EMEA will join Columbia Threadneedle including some of the senior team, a spokeswoman for CTI said.

"For those teams and capabilities that are new to Columbia Threadneedle we don't envisage major change and it will be largely business as usual as we welcome new teams to Columbia Threadneedle. Where we have established teams we will look to enhance our existing capabilities by bringing together talent and expertise from both organizations," she added.

Meanwhile, Amundi is looking to create a €142 billion ETFs manager, the firm said in a news release April 7. Lyxor is owned by Societe Generale SA and was founded in 1998.

Lyxor had €124 billion in assets under management as of December, with €77 billion in ETFs and €47 billion in active management assets under management. The deal would accelerate Amundi's development in the ETFs market and also complement its offering in active management — in particular in liquid alternative assets as well as advisory solutions, the release said.

By bolstering France-based Amundi's passive money management business, the move also "will contribute to the post-Brexit positioning of the Paris financial center," Yves Perrier, CEO of Amundi, said in the release.

The deal is also fully aligned with Amundi owner Credit Agricole SA's group strategy, which aims to reinforce the financial services firm's position in asset gathering, the release added.

The deal is expected to be completed by February 2022 at the latest, following various approvals. Both brands will continue to co-exist until the deal closes and nothing has yet been decided for the brands, an Amundi spokeswoman said. Amundi does not anticipate any departures of key people at Lyxor — its management team has actively participated in the process, alongside SocGen, and was involved in all key steps of the deal, the spokeswoman added.

Amundi has a total €1.7 trillion in assets under management.

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