FRANCE – BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNP PAM) has taken a majority stake in Overlay Asset Management (OAM), the Paris based Franco-Swiss currency overlay specialists, as part of the development of its alternative investments business.

BNP Paribas has its eyes on the $150bn currency overlay market worldwide and the acquisition of OAM, which currently manages around $1bn for both multinationals and fund managers, reflects strong growth in the area in recent years among pension funds and large institutions.

Through the acquisition, BNP PAM will also set up a joint global currency overlay platform in conjunction with its US bond manager affiliate Fischer Francis Trees & Watts (FFTW), which manages large foreign exchange positions as part of its $30bn global bond fund management business.

Hélie D’Hautefort, managing director at OAM, comments: “ BNP Paribas believe that this is a market that is going to expand
“ They also know that when we go into the Dutch or Japanese markets it will be easier with the backing of BNP Paribas to sell our products.”

D’Hautefort notes that OAM will keep its name and autonomy, with the management team remaining financially linked to the future development of the business.
“ We already work with around 12 banks for the execution of operations and with a number of different custodians.
“ We will stay as Overlay Asset Management and the team stays the same. There is no question of bringing the businesses closer because this is a very specialised area.”