UK - International Asset Management (IAM), the fund of hedge fund manager previously owned by ABN Amro Asset Management, has regained its independence in a management buyout (MBO).

Belgian-Dutch bancassurer Fortis said in a statement today it sold IAM, which it adopted when it bought ABN Amro Asset Management last summer, to boost solvency ratios.

The London-based IAM said it has undertaken a 100% MBO and its ownership now rests with "a broad group of employees", backed by two new external shareholders in the form of Sir Ronald Cohen, co-founder of Apax Partners, and investment bank Jeffries Group.

Lex Kloosterman, member of the Fortis Group executive committee and responsible for asset management commented on the transaction, also added: "Following a strategic review of our investment in IAM, we concluded that an MBO would be the best solution, reflecting the interests of all stakeholders, including our shareholders, and IAM's customers and employees. We wish management every future success."

He added Fortis remains fully committed to further developing its presence in the fund-of-hedge funds sector, through Fortis Investments' existing majority interest in Cadogan Management.

IAM, which has around $4.3bn (€2.73bn) in assets under management, was taken over by ABN Amro Asset Management in 2006, having previously been an independent operation for 17 years.

It became a subsidiary of Fortis on the back of the consortium bid launched with RBS and Santander for ABN Amro in 2007.

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