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Close bolsters multi-manager business with Aon acquisition

Close Investments has bought Aon Asset Management’s 2bn multi-manager business.

The move follows Close’s acquisition of Escher, now called Close Teams, in July 2005. The two businesses will be combined and rebranded Close Multi-Manager.

Launched in March 2003, the Aon business is headed by Adrian Swales and has six Dublin-based Oeics offering access to numerous global asset classes. Its clients include Norwich Union. Swales will take over as chief executive of Close Multi-Manager, with Steve Delo of Close Teams becoming managing director and Aon’s Tommy Garvey chief investment officer.

Close Investments head of distribution Stuart Alexander says: “This is an interesting acquisition as it is a strong business that virtually mirrors Close in terms of its investment style and process. We therefore complement each other well.”

Alexander says gaining approval from regulatory bodies in the UK and Ireland was straightforward as Close has a Dublin-based Oeic so the business was well-known to the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority.

On the integration, Alexander says Aon has already moved into the Close Investments offices, with Close Teams soon to follow. He says: “We will be looking at integrating overlapping funds while we will also look at new funds across all sectors. While both are strong in the institutional arena, Aon does a small portion of retail business, something we may look to harness in future.”

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