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Friday, November 21, 2003

Amvescap Buys Wealth Manager

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Amvescap has made a move to build up the services it provides to high net worth investors in the United States. The London-domiciled fund firm and asset manager paid out $117.5 million in cash and stock on Friday to buy Stein Roe Investment Counsel and its $7.3 billion in assets under management. Amvescap will fold Stein Roe into its Atlantic Wealth Management Group.

Although Stein Roe Investment Counsel claims a 71-year history, the firm in its current incarnation is actually quite young. In October of 2000 the managers of Stein Roe & Farnham's Private Capital Management business led by CEO Bill Rankin bought the firm from what was then Liberty Financial with the assistance of Putnam Lovell Capital Partners. The Stein Roe mutual funds remained with Liberty. Since that time Liberty Financial was purchased by FleetBoston and renamed the Columbia Funds. Last month Bank of America agreed to buy FleetBoston.

Rankin said the sale to Amvescap provided a compelling opportunity. "We believe this merger of skills combined with a deep coast-to-coast presence exceeding $15 billion in assets under management will position us as a significant presence in the wealth management marketplace," he said.

While the managers of Stein Roe are staying on, Amvescap is purchasing the minority stake held by Putnam Lovell. Sixty percent of the purchase amount will be paid in cash and the remaining 40 percent in Amvescap ordinary shares. In addition, Amvescap will pay up to another $43 million if the managers of Stein Roe meet certain client retention and revenue growth targets.

Stein Roe Investment Counsel has offices in Chicago, New York, Southern California and San Francisco.

"This combination brings together a distinguished investment counseling firm with our integrated private wealth management and trust capabilities," stated Donald J. Herrema, chairman and CEO of Atlantic Wealth Management Group. "Once integrated, we will be even better positioned to provide current and future clients a unique and superior approach to managing their wealth through 13 offices across the United States."  

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