FRANCE - BNP Paribas Asset Management has become one of the first French fund managers to outsource its middle office and fund administration operations.

BNP PAM will delegate the functions that control its €197.3bn in assets under management to a sister company, BNP Paribas Asset Servicing. The existing BNP PAM staff currently responsible for these operations will be transferred to this Asset Servicing team.

BNP Paribas Asset Servicing falls into the BNP Paribas Securities Services division, which operates in 16 countries and has 3,300 staff servicing 600 clients. The division holds more than €2,300bn of assets in custody and administers more than 1,000 funds in France.

By outsourcing its middle office and fund administration BNP Paribas said it be able to use straight through processing with financial intermediaries to cut costs and improve performance.

Last week BNP PAM boosted its funds of hedge funds business with an agreement to buy a stake in partner firm Fauchier Partners.

The bank said the move was a “natural development” of its current three-year-old joint venture relationship with London-based Fauchier.

BNP Paribas said that the operations of the two firms’ joint venture, BNP Paribas Fauchier Partners, would merge with Fauchier Partners. In turn, the French bank will buy a 50% stake in the enlarged Fauchier for an undisclosed sum.

Following the merger, which is subject to regulatory approval, Fauchier Partners will become one of Europe’s leading dedicated managers of funds of hedge funds with assets of the equivalent of some 3.5 billion dollars (2.7 billion euros), the bank said.

In April this year BNP PAM bought the Javelin fund of hedge funds business from Zurich Financial Services’ ZCM Investor Capital arm, to be managed by the Fauchier joint venture.