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Citi Buys Legg Mason's Managed Accounts Trading Platform

Christopher Owen

27 February 2008

Citi Global Wealth Management is to acquire the overlay and implementation business of Legg Mason Private Portfolio Group, including its managed account trading and technology platforms. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close by April, were not disclosed. Citigroup said in a statement that the purchase of the technology and trading platform from Legg Mason would “improve operating efficiencies and increase customisation” of its high net worth clients’ portfolios. Citi is looking to expand its managed accounts business. Part of that expansion will include unified managed accounts, which can customise and consolidate for individual clients a combination of mutual funds, exchanged traded funds, as well as asset classes such as bonds and equities. They can also contain separately managed accounts. According to a spokesman, Citigroup now oversees about $212 billion in separately managed accounts. It does not disclose numbers for unified managed accounts but said it expects more clients to use them. Legg Mason said: “Brokerage firms such as Citi have been taking this kind of technology in-house, so it made sense for us to sell it back to them and focus our energies on managing assets for all of our clients.” As part of the deal, Legg Mason Private Portfolio Group’s chief investment officer Scott Paradiso and chief investment strategist Michael Scotto will join Citigroup’s wealth management division. Both previously worked for the bank until Citigroup swapped its asset management business for Legg Mason’s brokerage unit in 2005.