Frankfurt am Main / London, September 14 2016
British private equity firm acquires shares of existing owners Berenberg and Bankhaus Lampe
Proven business model as largest independent investment company in the German-speaking region remains unchanged
New owner committed to continuity
Operating through three divisions – Administration, Insourcing and Risk Management – Universal-Investment focuses on efficient, risk-oriented administration of funds, securities, alternative investments and real estate. Established in 1968, Universal-Investment is headquartered in Frankfurt/Main with subsidiaries and holdings in Luxembourg and Austria. As pioneer of the investment industry Universal-Investment is today market leader in the areas of master funds (Master-KVG) and private label funds. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial terms and further details of the transaction. The completion is subject to regulatory approval.
Universal-Investment’s leading position is based on independence and first-class services. Based on this track record, Montagu will invest in the further development of Universal-Investment’s business model and ensure its continuity by working in partnership with the existing management team. Daniel Fischer, Director at Montagu Private Equity, commented: “For more than 45 years, Universal-Investment has been a pioneer in the investment industry and the benchmark for servicing master funds (Master-KVG) and private label funds. We’re particularly impressed by the performance of the management team, which has developed Universal-Investment into a growing platform with an outstanding reputation. We’re excited to work closely with Bernd Vorbeck and his team going forward, accompanying them through the company’s next growth phase.”
Following the acquisition of Swiss-based Equatex from UBS Bank in 2015, Universal-Investment represents Montagu’s second investment in the financial services sector in the German-speaking region. Montagu, founded in 1968, currently invests its Montagu V Fund with a volume of EUR 2.75 billion. The investment focus is on differentiated and market-leading companies operating in stable markets with an enterprise value ranging from approximately EUR 100 million to EUR 1 billion. Headquartered in London, Montagu has offices in Frankfurt/Main, Paris, Amsterdam and Warsaw.
Universal-Investment’s present owners Berenberg and Bankhaus Lampe will focus on their core business. “With Montagu, we have found a new partner for Universal-Investment who will value the company’s independent business model and continue the strategic course as successful Master-KVG,” both private banks said.
In the previous ten years, Universal-Investment has quadrupled its assets under administration from about EUR 70 billion to EUR 280 billion. Thus, being one of the fastest-growing investment companies in Germany and Luxembourg. According to the German investment industry association BVI, the company repeatedly recorded the highest net inflows in its sector with around EUR 15 billion during the first half of 2016.
“Our recipe for success includes our employees’ commitment and expertise, our independence as well as our distinct business model as leading Master-KVG platform. That’s why we’re especially excited to have found a new partner and owner in Montagu, which will continue to actively support this strategy in future,” said Bernd Vorbeck, Spokesman of the Management Board of Universal-Investment. He sees growth potential in all business areas, including traditional fund administration for institutional investors. However, in the current low-interest-rate environment, he also sees opportunities in alternative investments. With regard to the latter, Universal-Investment has structured projects worth more than EUR 15 billion for institutional investors over the past few years in such areas as infrastructure, renewable energy, private equity and private debt. In addition, the company has invested about EUR 6 billion in global real estate assets through institutional funds since 2011.
Universal-Investment’s private label business continues to develop positively. It launches mutual funds on behalf of independent asset managers, investment boutiques or other asset managers in Germany and Luxembourg. The number of mutual funds administered through this platform has increased from about 400 to more than 550 over the past five years. At the same time, the fund volume has grown by EUR 7 billion to EUR 24.4 billion.
The quantitative portfolio management business of Universal-Investment provides institutional investors with comprehensive solutions around risk management through overlay management mandates as well as efficient, customised passive investment solutions. The company manages EUR 27 billion in client funds in this segment.
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