Joe Sullivan's Legg Mason
] will close down the $500 million emerging markets asset manager Esemplia
Funds that will be shut down include the Legg Mason Emerging Markets Equity Fund
and the Legg Mason LMHK China Fund
Esemplia, which is run by chief executive Jim Kandunias
, had offices in London and Hong Kong. Legg completed in March the acquisition
of another London-based shop, Fauchier Partners
Spokesperson Mary Athridge, in an email statement, had this to say on the closing:
Legg Masonís management has made the decision to begin the process of a managed wind down of trading activities at Esemplia and the return of money to investors.† Given the firmís small size, we believe this decision best serves both Esempliaís clients and LMís shareholders.† Legg Mason remains committed to building our international equity capabilities.† We are looking at a number of ways to do that, including the acquisition of a partner with a strong investment track record who can leverage our global distribution organization, building that capability within our existing scale affiliates or a combination of the two.†
Total AUM was $500 million.† The wind down should take place over the next couple of quarters.†
Athridge said that the firm managed a total of seven funds.
Regarding the fate of these funds, she had this to say:
We are engaging in an orderly wind down of each of the funds. We are working with clients on each of these and expect that in most cases, we will return money to investors unless they would like to put the money in a different product.
Regarding the Esemplia employees, she said that a number will stay through the transition and wind down, and then the jobs will be eliminated. Those employees are free to apply for open positions at LM that fit their capabilities.
Meanwhile, Kandunias is staying to help guide the wind down, and will make his plans once that process is complete, according to Athridge.
Legg CEO Sullivan has recently expressed a willingness to shake up the company's operations. Recently, he vowed to acquire again
, and wasn't afraid to make an acquisition every day if need be
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