In the midst of all the speculation surrounding which United Asset Management Corp. managers would make it onto the coveted asset gathering platform of Old Mutual PLC and which wouldn't, one small affiliate quietly bought itself back from its new parent company and another is trying to.
Chicago Asset Management Co., Chicago, regained ownership of the company in December. Chairman Jon F. Holsteen declined to name the terms of the deal, but said all investment professionals at the firm now have a stake in the company.
"It just seemed like the natural time to buy the company back and Old Mutual was agreeable," said Mr. Holsteen. The firm manages $1.9 billion for institutional investors in small- and large-cap equity strategies.
Meanwhile, Sterling Capital Management, Charlotte, N.C., has filed with the SEC to form a new company and effectively buy itself out from Old Mutual. Sterling executives Mark Whalen, Dave Ralson, Ed Brea, Alex McAlister and Brian Walton plan to buy the firm, which will retain the Sterling name, according to the filing.
While Chicago Asset's return to management ownership meant no changes in investment style or operations, the firm has started an initiative to manage high-net-worth client assets in separate accounts in a strategy that has more of a growth-at-a-reasonable-price approach than the contrarian value approach used for institutional accounts.
The company also is beefing up its investment teams, hiring three portfolio management staffers last year and another who will start by the end of the first quarter.
With staff ranging from their 20s to their 50s, Mr. Holsteen said succession planning has been under way for a long time. "You start it as soon as you think of it. It takes many years to get it right. You can't decide to retire two years from now and expect that you'll have the right people in place. It takes years to hire and develop people to take over."