For our clients, it must feel as though financial services is a very restless market.
Today we have received notification of yet another planned business sale, that will ultimately lead to rebranding of funds held by many of our clients.
Today BMO announced that they have reached an agreement to sell their asset management business in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) to Ameriprise Financial, Inc., who trade in the UK as Columbia Threadneedle. Subject to regulatory approvals we expect the transaction to be complete by the end of the calendar year.
This email is for information only and there is no specific concern – rather it’s just reporting on the machinations of big businesses reorienting their businesses to meet future plans. It will be relevant to you, if you hold funds branded either as BMO or possibly F&C. Because the BMO funds have been around in one name or another for over 20 years, it is likely that many of our clients will hold a fund, either directly or via an investment platform, such as Aegon-Cofunds, Aviva or Funds Network or in a portfolio run by Rathbones or Parmenion. We are therefore notifying all clients – on an information only basis.
What does it mean for you as an investor? Well for one thing it cuts the link with a parent company(BMO) heavily involved in the Canadian Tar Sands market – which can’t be a bad thing. On a more positive note for ethical and sustainable investors, Columbia Threadneedle stated in their announcement, that one of the key strengths of BMO is their position in the responsible & sustainable investment market. Whereas Columbia Threadneedle currently has only two ethically focused investment funds, BMO will bring a wider range of responsibly managed investment funds of differing styles and a large research and management team. The BMO team have strong credentials in the sector and a heritage of running ethical research policies for over 30 years. As such, that is a key part of the attraction of BMO to Columbia Threadneedle who have a weakness in this growing and important sector of the investment market.
Any actions required?
No, as we said at the top – this is just for your information. As the sale progresses, we will expect you to receive notification of a change of fund names either directly, if you hold a direct investment with BMO, or via your platform or portfolio manager. Name changes will not require any action. We shall of course be monitoring the development of this new ownership to ensure that funds remain suitable for our clients.