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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Touchstone Buys 16 More Funds

Reported by Erin Kello

Touchstone Investments [see profile] is acquiring again. The Cincinnati-based company said today that it is buying the assets of 16 Fifth Third Asset Management (FTAM) [see profile] funds.

A spokeswoman for FTAM told the MFWire.com that the funds being sold are the entirety of FTAM's mutual fund business.

“I am very excited about this transaction. In addition to increasing our assets under management, it gives us some new and interesting fund offerings, and access to a premier distribution system,” stated Steven M. Graziano, president of Touchstone.

After the deal wraps in Q3 of this year, the FTAM funds will be reorganized into Touchstone funds with FTAM's affiliated investment managers continuing as sub-advisors for certain funds.

“Our transaction with Touchstone allows FTAM to focus on our core strengths – providing institutionally managed active asset management strategies,” said Keith Wirtz, chief investment officer of FTAM.

Pending the closing of Touchstone's previously announced deal to acquire the assets of 17 Old Mutual Funds (see "Touchstone Acquires Its Way to $10B in AUM", MFWire Oct. 2011), the FTAM buy will vault the firm's AUM to $13 billion.

Back in 2009 Graziano told the MFWire that Touchstone was particularly interested in acquiring assets from distressed banks looking to offload their mutual fund businesses.

Company Press Release

CINCINNATI – April 5, 2012 – Fifth Third Bancorp and Touchstone Advisors, Inc. (Touchstone), a wholly owned subsidiary of Western & Southern Financial Group, announced today that Fifth Third Asset Management, Inc. (FTAM) and Touchstone have entered into an agreement under which Touchstone will be acquiring the assets of 16 mutual funds from FTAM. The acquisition is expected to increase Touchstone’s assets under management to $13 billion (pending Touchstone’s acquisition of selected assets of Old Mutual Asset Management’s U.S. mutual fund business) and create new sub-advisory relationships with FTAM. The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on Fifth Third Bancorp’s results.  

“I am very excited about this transaction. In addition to increasing our assets under management, it gives us some new and interesting fund offerings, and access to a premier distribution system,” said Steven M. Graziano, president of Touchstone.  

“We have a long and close association with Fifth Third. The addition of these funds will benefit both companies and the clients we serve,” said John F. Barrett, chairman, president and CEO of Western & Southern.  

“Our transaction with Touchstone allows FTAM to focus on our core strengths – providing institutionally managed active asset management strategies,” said Keith Wirtz, chief investment officer of FTAM.  

Kevin T. Kabat, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bancorp added, “Our relationship with Touchstone provides us an exciting opportunity to grow our business going forward and allows us to focus on the areas where we have a strategic advantage. We look forward to working with Touchstone and leveraging our distribution platform to provide value to shareholders.”  

Closing of the transaction is subject to certain conditions and approvals and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2012. Upon the completion of the transaction, 16 FTAM funds will be reorganized into Touchstone Funds with FTAM‟s affiliated investment managers continuing as sub-advisors for certain funds.  

Touchstone remains dedicated to its sub-advised mutual fund approach and is committed to offering investment products based on partnerships with premier money managers.  

Touchstone's primary mission is to bring best-in-class institutional money managers to investors through its mutual funds. Touchstone also believes strongly in the value that financial advisors provide to the private client and institutional marketplace. As such, Touchstone distributes these funds through third-party intermediaries like registered investment advisors, private banks, and consultants, as well as through national, regional and independent broker-dealers.  

Cambridge International Partners, Inc. is advising Fifth Third on the transaction.

  About Touchstone Investments Touchstone Investments is a mutual fund company committed to providing investors with access to institutional asset managers who act in a sub-advisory capacity. While its sub-advisors are held to strict performance standards, they work with a large measure of independence and operate within their own demonstrated areas of expertise. Touchstone’s rigorous asset manager evaluation process and robust oversight approach are designed to ensure delivery on Touchstone’s commitment of achieving competitive long-term results. The Touchstone Funds are advised by Touchstone Advisors, Inc., a registered investment advisor, and are distributed nationally through intermediaries including broker-dealers, financial planners and institutions by Touchstone Securities, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. For more information, please visit www.touchstoneinvestments.com.  

About Western & Southern Financial Group With a heritage dating to 1888, Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern) is a Cincinnati-based Fortune 500 diversified family of financial services companies with assets owned and managed of approximately $55 billion as of Feb. 29, 2012. Western & Southern is one of eight groups in the world to earn Standard & Poor’s AA+ rating for its life insurance units, and is consistently recognized by A.M. Best, Moody’s and Fitch for financial strength and sound management. For more information, visit www.westernsouthern.com. Western & Southern is the title sponsor of the Western & Southern Open (www.wsopen.com) tennis tournament, a premier event in the U.S. Open Series featuring the world’s top-ranked professional male and female players. Ratings are current as of April 1, 2012, and refer to the claims-paying ability of the insurance company and not to the safety, stability or performance of any investment product.  

About Fifth Third Asset Management Fifth Third Asset Management, Inc. (FTAM) provides comprehensive advisory services for institutional clients. FTAM offers a broadly diversified asset management product line utilizing proprietary mutual funds, commingled funds, and separate accounts. Through teams of experienced and knowledgeable investment professionals, advanced research resources and disciplined investment processes, our goal is two-fold: produce superior, long-term investment results and client satisfaction.  

About Fifth Third Bancorp Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Company has $117 billion in assets and operates 15 affiliates with 1,316 full-service Banking Centers, including 105 Bank Mart® locations open seven days a week inside select grocery stores and 2,417 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, and Investment Advisors. Fifth Third also has a 49% interest in Vantiv, LLC, formerly Fifth Third Processing Solutions, LLC. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of December 31, 2011, had $282 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $24 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Fifth Third's common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® National Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB."

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