EUROPE - Morley Fund Management, one of the UK's largest investment houses, is eyeing offices in Spain and Germany as part of a European expansion bid.
A spokeswoman said that the move would take place later this year and would look to replicate Morley’s UK business model with a focus on third-party distribution.
The news follows the opening of Morley’s first Italian office in Milan, led by Massimiliano Guidi.
In Italy, Morley will concentrate on the institutional and third-party distribution market, as well as leveraging the existing distribution capabilities of its parent company, Aviva.
The firm will be looking to promote its international funds range, Privilege Portfolio, which is a Luxembourg-based SICAV or open-end mutual fund.
Privilege Portfolio is already available to investors in 15 countries across Europe, including Spain, Germany and the Nordic region. Key products include a range of SRI funds, as well as European equities, bonds and property funds.
Recent data shows that Italian mutual fund assets are set to grow to E190bn by 2006 - up from E166bn at the end of June 2002, according to research and consulting firm, Cerulli Associates.
The Italian mutual fund market is already the largest in the world, even outstripping the US which has US$130bn under management and 59% of mutual fund inflows derive from bank distribution channels.
Commenting on the opening of the Milan office, Raoul Bachmann, a managing director for Continental Europe, said: “This move is an important step in our strategy to develop a continental European business in a small number of key markets.
“Italy was our first choice as it is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic mutual fund markets in Europe.”
London-headquarterd-Morley has over £105bn assets under management. It actively manages several asset classes and has investment management operations in London, Tokyo, Singapore and an associate office in Boston.
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