Perpetual is set to purchase Boston-based ESG investment firm Trillium Asset Management for $54 million, with plans to establish a US distribution arm.
The Australian wealth group will buy 100 per cent of Trillium, which is reported to have funds under management of $5.5 billion (US$3.8 billion).
The US firm has focused on ESG investing since its foundation in 1982 and it holds a variety of ESG-focused US, global and thematic equity and US fixed income offerings.
It will continue to operate under the Trillium brand, with current management and no changes to its investment teams or process.
Perpetual said the acquisition is consistent with its current strategy to grow via additional investment capabilities across asset classes, investment strategies, geographies and client groups.
The Australian company has also commenced building out a US-based distribution team, saying it will be finalising and announcing the appointment of the head of the new team in the coming weeks.
The new distribution staff will be responsible for driving the growth of Trillium’s ESG and impact investment products across the US.
Perpetual’s existing team is looking to extend its reach to targets in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and into Europe.
Rob Adams, Perpetual managing director and chief executive said investor demand, partly driven by the largest intergenerational wealth transfer, alongside regulatory change and links to long-term performance are all factoring to growth of the ESG sector.
“This is an important initial step for our business as we execute our strategy of adding world-class investment capabilities and expanding our global reach,” Mr Adams said.
“We are at a vital stage in the evolution of responsible investing. In the US, total assets committed to ESG have grown 75 per cent from 2013 to 2019 and in Australia, ESG was the fastest growing category, rising 53 per cent over the year to June 2019.”
He added the two companies have a cultural alignment, with Perpetual having an 18-year history in ethical investing.
“We look forward to supporting Trillium by building on the deep and respected relationships they have with existing individual investors, foundations, endowments and institutional clients in the US, as well as adding distribution resources to expand their footprint globally,” Mr Adams said.
The transaction is expected to be complete by the end of the financial year, subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.
Trillium chief Matthew Patsky commented: “For almost 40 years we have provided for the financial needs of our clients while leveraging their capital for positive social and environmental impact in alignment with their values.”
“In Perpetual, we have found a partner who supports our overall mission and who will help [us accelerate] our growth and enable us to focus our efforts on delivering investment returns, as well as positive social and environmental outcomes on behalf of a larger client base.”
Perpetual stated the purchase will be funded by available cash, with it being earnings accretive in the first year.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
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