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Schroders on acquisition hunt for fixed income manager

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Schroders’ new boss Peter Harrison says he is on the hunt to buy a fixed income manager to fill gaps in the asset manager’s product line-up.

The new chief executive at Schroders, who replaced former boss Michael Dobson in March, told the Financial Times that there are areas where the asset manager is weaker. He said Schroders had “the vast majority [of asset classes] covered” but highlighted fixed income as an area of opportunity.

He says: “There are a couple of spots within fixed income we would like to fill. We are very well represented in emerging market debt, [but] there is potential in the asset-backed area. That is an interesting market.”

His comments are a departure from former boss Dobson, who had shied away from a large programme of acquisitions.

Schroders bought wealth manager Cazenove and US fixed income manager STW in 2013, with Dobson saying the acquisitions were all the asset manager needed.

At the time, Dobson said: “We have achieved what we need in fixed income with our acquisition of STW in the US and Cazenove Capital in the UK. We have got what we want and will focus on these.”

Harrison was promoted from head of investments when Dobson announced he was stepping down. Dobson’s subsequent appointment as chairman at the asset manager prompted protests from some shareholders, who said the move broke corporate governance practices.

In its latest results, for the first quarter, Schroders saw net inflows almost halve to £2.7bn compared to a year earlier. Assets under management at the group reached £324.9bn in the first three months of the year, compared to £313.5bn in December.

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