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Henderson would opt for boutique buy over big firm

Henderson chief executive Andrew Formica says the firm is more likely to acquire a boutique rather than a big asset management business in the UK.

Formica says following the takeover of New Star in 2009, the firm is happy with its platform and distribution reach, meaning any future acquisitions would need to bring in new investment expertise.

He says: “A further acquisition in the UK would need to be complementary for us from an investment perspective. Areas like emerging markets interest us, as do property and commodities.”

Last week, Henderson posted a 79 per cent increase in profits for the first half to £48.5m from £27.1m in 2009.
Formica, who would not comment directly on speculation that Henderson is planning a bid for rival fund firm Gartmore, says the company is now far more interested in acquisitions in both the US and Asia.

He says the group plans to bolster its offering in the absolute return sector.

He says: “That remains a major focus for us. What we have seen with the market turmoil in the past couple of years is that investors do not want to wear the downside. We have offerings that can do that, for example, within the fixed-income range within our hedge funds, and the question is how do we bring them under the Ucits umbrella.”

Formica highlights emerging markets, global equity and global fixed products as three areas the group is keen to add if the opportunity arises.
He says: “The goal is that we should be a top five player in the UK retail space over three to five years for net and gross flows.”

Hargreaves Lansdown investment manager Ben Yearsley says: “They are probably lacking most in the UK fund range, with none of the acquired New Star team shooting out the lights.”

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