Evolution targets BNP Paribas private client arm for takeover

INVESTMENT management group Evolution is in advanced discussions to buy part of the wealth management arm of French investment bank BNP Paribas, it said yesterday, sending Evo’s shares up more than eight per cent.

Evolution’s Williams de Broë wealth management division, which invests on behalf of private clients, is looking to acquire BNP Paribas Private Investment Management to boost its size and presence.

No offer price was disclosed, but Williams de Broë has about £6.2bn assets under management and Evolution has about £90m cash.

Evolution, which also has a stockbroker and alternative finance provider, wants to expand its wealth management division to reduce its reliance on volatile trading-related income streams, which are under pressure in the current market.

Rivals such as Hargreaves Lansdown and Brewin Dolphin have profited from developing their wealth management divisions, where returns are high and stable, as trading revenues have declined across the sector.

Peel Hunt analyst Henry Biddle said the deal was strategically a good move as it would further bias group earnings towards asset management.