Money manager M&A activity up slightly in first 6 months; less AUM involved

The number of announced money manger acquisitions globally was 50 in the first half of 2015, up slightly from the first half of 2014 when 48 deals took place, said a report from investment banking firm Freeman & Co. on Wednesday.

In the U.S. and Europe, however, activity was down 6% and 10%, respectively, with 32 and 18 announced transactions in the first six months of 2015.

Money management transactions announced in 2015 represented $925 billion in assets under management, down 15% from the first half of last year. However, the report noted that acquired asset volume in the first half of 2014 was dominated by a number of large deals such as London Stock Exchange’s acquisition of Russell Investments and TIAA-CREF’s acquisition of Nuveen Investments.

The largest deal in the first half of 2015 was the merger of Santander Asset Management and Pioneer Investments, which combined more than $200 billion in assets, the report said.

Freeman & Co. said in the report it expects money manager M&A activity to remain robust in the remainder of 2015. In all of 2014, 99 deals took place.

The report also found that private equity transactions (entry and exit) involving financial institutions was up in the first half of 2015, with 44 deals taking place compared to 37 in 2014. However, the combined value of the transactions dropped to $11.5 billion from $27.2 billion in the first half of 2014, which Freeman & Co. attributed to a “flurry” of multibillion dollar buyout deals in 2014, which have not been repeated in 2015.