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Rating:Security Benefit Goes Shopping Not Rated 3.2 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, May 21, 2007

Security Benefit Goes Shopping

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Security Benefit has pulled the trigger on a deal, albeit a small one. Kris Robbins, the CEO of the Topeka-based insurer, went shopping in San Francisco and returned with the assets of Avera Global Partners last week. Executives at the companies did not disclose the terms of the deal, but they revealed that it is expected to close this summer. No bankers were involved in the deal, say sources at the firms.

Avera [Website] claims 10 employees, including 8 investment professionals. The firm has $60 million in assets, said Richard Goldman -- president of Security Global Investors, an asset manager affiliate of Security Benefit. He added that Avera's staff would manage more than $500 million of assets after the deal closes.

That Robbins and Security Benefit are in the market shopping for asset managers is an open secret inside of the fund industry. In April, industry sources told the MFWire.com that Security Benefit was one of a handful of finalists looking at picking up Rydex Funds.

Goldman said in an interview that he knows nothing about the much-talked-about Rydex deal, but did reveal that Security Benefit is continuing to seek growth.

"We want to continue to grow organically, but would consider other strategies such as liftouts," he elaborated. Avera is a "logical complement" to Security Benefit's value and fixed income business.

Those comments echoed comments made by Kris Robbins.

"We have outstanding talent in our existing asset management franchise and have been focused on finding additional investment capabilities that align with our cultural and investment quality standards," said Robbins, chairman, president and CEO, Security Benefit. He added that the "global investment capabilities of the Avera team are a perfect fit and will allow us to offer a broader range of solutions to meet the increasingly complex and changing needs of investors."

Security Benefit is seeking deals in order to grow its scale as an asset manager, say industry sources. SGI's Goldman explained that Avera's "distinct global investment acumen" will provide "leading edge products" for Security Global Investors' "diverse client base."

San Francisco-based Avera specializes in global long-only and global long-short portfolios. After the deal closes, Avera's investment team--led by John Boich, founder and chief investment officer--will retain its autonomy, though it will rebrand as part of Security Global Investors, which offers institutional services through the 6th Avenue Investment Management brand. 6th Avenue claims some $11 billion in assets under management and 38 employees.

Boich said that he believes the sale to Security Benefit will provide growth while allowing the San Francisco team to retain its "unique entrepreneurial climate and performance driven focus." 

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