Nov 20, 2019

Russell Investments is looking for a buyer

Source: Dealogic; Note: 2019 represents year-to-date figure; Chart: Axios Visuals

Russell Investments, the Seattle-based asset manager, is on the auction block per the Financial Times.

Why it matters: The interest to sell "follows several bruising years for the [fund management] industry, with profits at some of the biggest fund houses squeezed by the rise of passive investing."

  • It's unclear how much Russell Investment's owner, private equity firm TA Associates, is seeking for the asset manager, the FT notes.
  • Russell Investments was last valued at $1.15 billion when TA Associates bought it in 2016.

The big picture: Fund management has seen a surge of M&A activity in the last few years.

  • "Merging with another firm to gain assets, lift out a star investment team, or buy a specialized manager has long been touted as one way for asset managers to survive falling fees and margins and compensate for a lack of organic growth," as Institutional Investor's Julie Segal noted.

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Asset managers urge caution in 2020

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Investors can expect higher stock prices but also a lot of potential potholes in 2020, according to the investment forecasts of major asset managers.

What they're saying: "[I]n 2020 the margin for error β€” and opportunity β€” will likely be as small as it’s been in a very long time," top strategists at State Street Global Advisors wrote in their 2020 outlook.

Go deeperArrowDec 12, 2019

European Union financial regulations shake up investment research

Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images

The combination of increased appetite for passive investment and financial regulations, particularly Europe's Mifid II, is underpinning a "profound reshaping" of what Wall Street research analysts do, according to the Financial Times. It's a move into deep data and away from opinion-driven analysis.

What's happening: Because Mifid II mandates that asset managers and institutions pay for research directly rather than simply paying banks or researchers for their services broadly, there's a great "unbundling" happening throughout asset management.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Macquarie strategists project stock market will double in value by 2030

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Strategists at $234 billion asset manager Macquarie Investment Management laid out an exceptionally bullish prediction for U.S. stocks β€” their equities team is calling for the market to double in value over the next 10 years.

Why it matters: That would put the Dow at around 55,000.

Go deeperArrowDec 3, 2019