Spencer sells Origin stake to US group

ORIGIN Asset Management, a boutique fund manager backed by Icap’s Michael Spencer (pictured), was snapped up by US asset manager Principal Financial Group for $66m (£41m) yesterday.

Iowa-based Principal has agreed to buy a 74 per cent stake in Origin, which manages £2bn of equity portfolios out of London for institutional clients, while Origin’s partners will retain 26 per cent of the equity.

The partners have also committed to reinvest “a substantial share” of the proceeds of the sale back into the funds that Origin manages.

The sale will mark the end of Spencer’s involvement in Origin, however. The firm was founded by fund managers in 2005 and supported by Spencer’s holding company IPGL, but all passive investors have now sold out.

Principal has more than $327bn assets under management and manages pension funds for individuals as well as broader business and institutional-focused funds.

Its chief executive Jim McCaughan targeted Origin due to its recently-launched funds focused on small companies and emerging markets, “where additional high-quality investment capacity is much sought after, but in relatively short supply”.

Origin managing partner Nigel Dutson said the takeover would “allow us to continue the development of our business around the world while maintaining our operating independence, distinctive investment process and organisational culture.”

The Origin deal, expected to close in October, is Principal’s third such takeover this year.