Towers Watson has moved further into investment implementation with the proposed acquisition of the UK global multi-manager Oxford Investment Partners (OXIP).
The big asset consultant, which has for some time being offering “delegated CIO” services to usually smaller pension funds and other fiduciaries, announced on December 20 that it would acquire its former client OXIP, subject to regulatory approvals, and thereby expand its investment execution capabilities. Towers Watson has been the sole investment adviser to OXIP since the firm’s formation in 2006.
OXIP is an interesting manager, formed by two former Deutsche Asset Management executives, Karl Sternberg and Paul Berriman, with a group of Oxford colleges as their initial partners. It currently has about $US1 billion under management.
It has two main funds, which select balanced portfolios from a universe of between 30-50 managers and direct investments. One portfolio is designed for DB funds and the other for DC and other funds requiring greater liquidity. The asset allocations are designed to provide growth-type risk/return profiles with a reduced exposure to equities.
Chris Ford, EMEA head of investment at Towers Watson, said in a statement: “The acquisition is part of the company’s strategy to provide investors, regardless of whether they are large or small or investing actively or passively, with the best net-of-fees investment propositions.
“This strategy has resulted in the development of a wide range of investment solutions in the past ten years. Among these are 20 smart beta solutions, managed by best-in-class asset managers, to which Towers Watson’s clients have allocated over $18 billion in the past five years. The acquisition also enhances the company’s delegated investment services capability, where it is now responsible for the day-to-day management of over US$57 billion for investors worldwide.”
The purchase price for OXIP was not disclosed.