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Rating:Nationwide Gets Out of Active Management
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nationwide Gets Out of Active Management

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Nationwide Financial is about to sell its entire active asset management arm, bringing a new player into the US open-ended mutual fund market.

On Tuesday the Columbus, Ohio-based insurance giant revealed that it plans to sell the 42-employee unit, which works with $7 billion in assets under management from 21 mutual funds and nine variable insurance trust funds, to Scottish Aberdeen Asset Management on October 1. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Spokespeople for Nationwide and Aberdeen were not immediately able to comment on who advised the companies on the deal, on the pricing and terms of the deal, or on the fate of the Nationwide unit's employees post-sale.

Nationwide president and chief-operating officer Mark R. Thresher described the move as part of the insurer's switch to only sub-advised funds, as evidenced by previous deals like the $75 million sale of Morley Financial Services to Principal Financial in June. (See "Nationwide Sells Morley in Stable Value Deal", June 25, 2007, on our sister publication, The 401kWire [separate login required].)

"This transaction is an important step in our efforts to transition our mutual fund business to a sub-advised platform," Thresher stated. "Using a sub-advised platform enables us to offer world-class money managers and improve the competitiveness of our investment offerings."

According to a company statement, the Nationwide funds personnel will continue operating out of their West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Aberdeen's US arm operates out of Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia, advising three of its own closed-end funds and sub-advising two First Trust closed-end funds. The entire international asset management firm works with $178.8 billion as of June 30. Aberdeen CEO Martin Gilbert called the acquisition part of his "strategy of acquiring bolt-on businesses that enhance our product range and geographic reach, and complement the continuing strong organic growth of our existing operations." 

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