Boutique behemoth in the making

A global insurer and asset manager is aiming to become one of the world's five largest multi-boutique platforms in the next five years as it acquires a London-based alternative manager.

Generali is acquiring CM Investment Solutions (CMISL) from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. CMISL delivers alternative UCITS strategies for its international client base and has about $15 billion (US$11bn) in assets under management.

Generali Investments Partners chief executive Carlo Trabattoni said: "The acquisition of CM Investment Solutions is an important step ahead in shaping our multi-boutique strategy, as their undisputed expertise in the delivery of liquid UCITS funds and other bespoke strategies gives us the opportunity to offer a selection of top quality alternative products to our clients."

Generali Asset Management chief executive Tim Ryan added alternative investments are growing in importance in customer portfolios.

CM Investment Solutions chief executive Philippe Lopategui said: "This partnership will enable CMISL to invest in infrastructure and resources, further attract the very best investment managers in the liquid and illiquid alternatives space and deliver tailor made investment solutions to our investors."

Over the last 10 years, the search for uncorrelated positive absolute sources of returns has fuelled investor appetite for non-traditional asset classes, Generali said.

"In line with this trend, assets invested in alternative UCITS strategies have been witnessing a significant increase, from below €100 billion in 2008 to over €582 billion as of August 2018, with a 2.5 times growth in the last four years alone," a Generali statement said.

CMISL will operate autonomously and will continue to be headquartered in London.

The acquisition marks an "acceleration in the execution of Generali's asset management strategy, which targets an expansion into alternative strategies and growth outside of Europe."

"Generali aims to build one of the five largest multi-boutique platforms in the world in terms of overall profits in the next five years," the asset manager said.

Read more: GeneraliinvestmentCMISLCM Investment SolutionsUCITSBank of America Merrill LynchBAMLCarlo TrabattoniPhilippe LopateguiTim Ryan
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