Natixis is in talks to sell its stake in H2O Asset Management, its global macro affiliate that has recently come under scrutiny.
The firm's money management unit, Natixis Investment Managers, holds a 50.01% stake in London-based manager H2O. The firm had €20 billion ($23.4 billion) in assets under management as of Sept. 30, accounting for about 2.2% of Natixis AM's total €910 billion.
The firm is considering the "progressive and orderly unwinding of our partnership" with H2O AM, Nicolas Namias, CEO of Natixis, said on a third quarter earnings call Thursday.
Two key elements are under discussion: the "possible and progressive sale of our stake in H2O ... (and) the orderly assumption by the company of its distribution over a transition period," Mr. Namias said. H2O AM will no longer be considered "as a strategic asset of our multiboutique model," he added. Any moves are subject to regulatory approval.
H2O AM suspended trading on some of its strategies this year over valuation concerns related to the firm's relationship with German financier Lars Windhorst. Investors panicked last year when Morningstar flagged concerns about thinly traded securities tied to Mr. Windhorst in H2O's funds, leading them to pull €8 billion.
The scandal recently came back to haunt H2O when the French regulator pressured it to freeze a series of funds containing the securities, which it's in the process of selling back to Mr. Windhorst. The funds were reopened last month and investors pulled more than €400 million within days.
In a Q&A part of the earnings call, Mr. Namias said the situation has been "stabilized" and added that H2O had "always had a kind of singular positioning within our affiliate portfolio."
In a joint communication to clients, Natixis and H2O said: "The asset management company indeed intends on giving a new direction to its development as the 10-year lock-up period provided for in its shareholder covenant with Natixis IM has come to an end." H2O AM launched in 2010.
A spokeswoman for Natixis declined to comment.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.