Two new joint ventures (JVs) in a week have seen Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) cause waves in the asset management and private-equity markets.
ASI – the investment arm of Scottish financial services giant Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) – teamed up with Virgin Money for one JV.
It also joined forces with Italian investment group 21 Partners to work on JV plans for a £1billion direct private-equity fund being launched later this year.
The first of these will combine Virgin Money’s brand and retail distribution expertise with ASI’s strength in asset management, financial technology and digital expertise.
It is expected to transform Virgin Money’s retail investment business, driving significant growth in assets under management and capital-light returns.
ASI is poised to acquire 50% of Virgin Money Unit Trust Managers Limited, with the £40million deal expected to complete by the end of 2018.
Virgin Money currently has more than 200,000 retail investment customers and £3.7billion in assets under management.
The joint venture is expected to leverage the strength of both brands to increase assets under management over time.
Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said: “Our new partnership with Aberdeen Standard Investments will bring together two outstanding innovative brands.
“We look forward to using our brand and customer reach, combined with ASI’s strength in asset management and its digital capability, to provide a market-leading customer proposition.
“This mutually beneficial relationship will give our customers a broader fund choice and the tools and capability to invest for the future with confidence.
“As a result, it offers a compelling proposition for our customers and offers excellent value for our shareholders.
“It is expected to generate significant growth in assets under management, drive additional capital-light returns and to be game-changing for our investment business over the longer term.”
SLA co-chief executive Martin Gilbert added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Virgin Money to develop their retail investment business.
“Their customer focus mirrors that of Aberdeen Standard Investments and we look forward to working together and sharing a strong and profitable relationship over many years to come.”
ASI’s new JV private-equity fund – 21 Aberdeen Standard Investments (21ASI) – will target active minority stakes in European companies, with the aim being to provide funding to support and facilitate their growth without the owners having to give up control.
With offices in London and an initial team of six people, 21ASI’s board will be led by Italian businessman Alessandro Benetton, the founding managing partner of 21 Partners and former chairman of the group behind global fashion brand Benetton.
Mr Gilbert said: “The joint venture is a powerful combination of a team led by one of the most reputable figures in the private-equity industry combined with our own expertise.”