ES Fund Managers, one of the largest asset managers in the UK, has sold its $800m (£492.5m) activist shareholder division Hermes Focus Asset Management to London-based boutique fund manager RWC Partners.
The three team division, owned by Hermes’ parent company the BT Pension Scheme, will transfer to RWC next month. The funds use shareholder activism to improve poor performing small companies.
RWC chief executive Peter Harrison said: “This is very attractive to a whole range of absolute return investors. The world we’re in at the moment means it’s pretty timely. There is a massive marketing opportunity that hasn’t been taken forward here.”
Hermes chief executive Saker Nusseibeh added: “The Focus team was designed to add value and alpha through activism and that's done through things like small cap, illiquid holdings.
“That’s likely to be better fitted to the high individual net wealth end of the market in the future rather than the institutional end, so it became clear to us it didn’t quite fit. We discussed finding them a home and RWC’s distribution and structure is right to allow their methodology to survive and for them to continue to grow.”