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George R Aylward, Virtus' president and chief executive officer

Virtus and Kleinwort Benson Investors form partnership for US market

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Kleinwort Benson Investors (Dublin) (KBID), which provides equity strategies primarily to institutional investors, and Virtus Investment Partners, which operates a US-based multi-manager asset management business, are entering into a partnership to develop business interests in the US retail marketplace.

Virtus is acquiring a 24 per cent interest in Kleinwort Benson Investors International (KBII), a 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of KBID. KBII is a US registered investment adviser that subadvises the Virtus Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund, an open-end mutual fund that Virtus launched in September.

Sean Hawkshaw, chief executive officer of Kleinwort Benson Investors, says Virtus’ multi-boutique model and its powerful distribution position in the US retail market were important considerations in establishing the alliance.

"Providing specialist equity strategies to institutional investors has been the core of our US business until now and our commitment on this front will continue. When we considered further growth opportunities for KBII, we looked to partner with a company that has a proven track record in retail distribution, which Virtus has clearly demonstrated," he says.

George R Aylward (pictured), president and chief executive officer of Virtus, says the agreement is consistent with the Virtus strategy of bringing distinctive product from boutique investment managers to the retail marketplace.

"Kleinwort Benson Investors is a distinguished firm with a global client base. Its institutional-quality investment processes specializing in income-oriented equities and resource strategies are very attractive. This agreement expands on the relationship when we first partnered with KBII to offer our new Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund, and provides for a strong alignment of interests in pursuing multiple growth opportunities," Aylward says.

Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. The acquisition is expected to be completed early in 2013, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

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