GERMANY – Commerzbank AG is to sell the greater part of its asset management activities of the US company Montgomery Asset Management in a bid to focus more on European asset management.

Wells Fargo & Company of San Francisco have acquired approximately 85% of the assets managed by the Commerzbank subsidiary, currently valued at 5.8 billion dollars. The remaining 15% will be liquidated.

Montgomery Asset Management was established in 1990, and was acquired by Commerzbank in 1997. The company manages money on behalf of around 150,000 investors worldwide, and approximately two-thirds of its business comes from institutional clients.

Earlier this year, Commerzbank restructured its asset-management activities in both strategic and geographic terms, in order to focus primarily on its German home market and selected European core countries. The old institutional arm Commerzinvest, the retail side of the business ADIG and Commerz Asset Managers, the portfolio management and research side of the business were merged to create Cominvest, which began operating in September. The sale of Montgomery means that Commerzbank’s asset management business is now purely European.

“The transaction is subject to approval by various authorities and should be completed in six months time at the latest,” says Commerzbank.

Commerzbank follows in the footsteps of other German giant, Deutsche Bank, in the move to sell off non-core business units. Deutsche has disposed of its insurance business, custody business, passive asset management business and US business Deutsche Financial Services, in addition to its stakes in Deutsche Boerse, Continental AG and most recently Banque de Luxembourg SA.