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Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Fund Family Sold North

by: Tony Pennino

Jones & Babson -- the mutual fund firm based in Kansas City, Missouri -- finds itself orphaned, but not for long. J&B is being sold by its current parent Assicurazioni Generali based in Trieste, Italy. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is purchasing the firm, a spokesperson with the bank told the MutualFundWire.com.

This purchase is a part of RBC's overall purchase of other aspects of Generali's U.S. operations. The bank is also acquiring Business Men's Assurance Company of America, which will include approximately 150,000 traditional life insurance policies and annuities. RBC Dain Rauscher will be the unit absorbing the J&B portion of the transaction.

The J&B portion of sale is still awaiting approval from shareholders, the boards of both firms, and Canadian regulatory authorities.

"We are very interested in Jones and Babson's wealth management capabilities. We are looking to create a North American wealth management platform, and this purchase expands those cross-selling opportunities," the official explained.

In terms of branding, the new acquisitions will be rolled into RBC's existing brands, which for J&B means RBC Dain Rauscher. The spokesperson could not comment on whether or not J&B would continue to operate out of its current location and on the future status of its existing staff. RBC Dain Rauscher operates out of Minneapolis. 

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