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Rothschild looks for a partner

Rothschild Australia is looking for a partner to buy into its asset management business to help it move into the big league.

Tuesday, December 11th 2001, 4:30PM

by Philip Macalister

The company is planning to have discussions with a select group of potential asset management partners with a view to establishing an alliance and or taking an equity stake in the business.

The move by fund managers to find partners is one that is catching on throughout the industry. ANZ has been looking for a partner (the latest rumour is that it is talking to the ING group), AXA formed a relationship with Alliance Capital and Tower last week raised the possibility it could outsource funds management to another group.

Rothschild already has a number of alliances. One is with US firm Putnam Investments, and it has an alliance with hedge fund manager Grosvenor.

Rothschild's is understood to have had discussions with its US alliance partner Putnam Investments, and has now decided to formalise and open up the process.

However, Putnam is still in the frame.

Rothschild's managing director Peter Martin says the company needs to find a partner to help the company accelerate its growth.

"Rothschild has previously been approached by a number of major financial organisations expressing an interest in participating in the high quality investment management business that RAAM has established in Australia," Martin says.

The firm runs two separate operations in Australia. One is an investment banking operation, and the other is a retail and institutional funds management that looks after about A$10.5 billion. Some of the retail funds are sold in New Zealand.

On a size basis Rothschild clearly is a second tier manager.

Martin hopes to finalise a partnership with another asset manager in the first half of 2002 that could result in the partial sale of the business.

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