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INTERVIEW: UK Specialist Investment House Seeks New Brand Identity

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 15 August 2013

INTERVIEW: UK Specialist Investment House Seeks New Brand Identity

The chief executive of SVG Investment Managers is looking for a new, distinctive name for this business after its parent, UK-based SVG Capital, agreed to sell it to Swiss-headquartered Hansa Aktiengesellschaft.

Hansa, which has more than $1.8 billion of assets, has agreed – subject to regulatory clearance – to buy a business which has around £200 million ($309 million) of assets. Hansa will be the majority stakeholder in SVGIM, with the senior management of SVGIM holding a significant minority stake. Hansa will also acquire SVG Capital’s holdings in certain SVGIM managed funds.

"We will have a new brand that is recognisable as us," Adam Steiner, SVGIM’s CEO, told this publication in an interview. He said that it was necessary to distinguish between the firm and the old parent, SVG Capital, which is very much a private equity business.

 "Hansa decided that it wanted a team in London and looked for one with cash-flow based investing with large-caps and a constructive engagement and shareholder activism approach."

"They [Hansa] can access our skills and management, mostly in public equities. Their large shareholding will fund growth in our business,” he continued, arguing that SVG IM's work in advisory and discretionary asset management will benefit, he said.

Although not central to the Hansa reason for buying SVG, the Retail Distribution Review has benefited those asset managers able to put consistent strong performance and quality on the table, as SVG has been able to do, he said.

"People will look even more at you with your risk-adjusted numbers," he said. "The emphasis with us remains on quality and performance not gathering of assets," he said. "We want to retain our style of investing,” he said.

"We look at what firms are worth, not just in what you see from the public equity side, but from a trade buying and private equity point of view as well.

In terms of scale, the fund management firm could grow to £500 million or so in the next few years, but given its specialist form of investing, there is an upper limit on AuM in its UK corporate engagement strategy, he said.

"A couple of billion is more than enough for us to work effectively,” he added.

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