The closing of the acquisition, two months ahead of schedule, was announced at the end of December, with Amundi paying Société Générale €825m in cash. Lyxor is now a subsidiary of Amundi and is integrated into the group’s operations in the sense of there being a new governance structure.
A high-profile feature of the acquisition is its propelling Amundi to the number two slot in European exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Yesterday Amundi said it wanted to grow assets under management on its passive platform – ETFs, indexing and smart beta – by 50% by 2025.
This is from a baseline of €282bn AUM, including Lyxor assets, and would spell roughly €420bn in AUM in 2025.
In a statement, Amundi honed in on ETFs in particular, saying that it expected strong growth in retail investor adoption but also growing interest from European institutional investors “who are willing to increase their use of ETFs, notably for fixed income and ESG allocation”.
Appetite for ESG had been one of the most transformational trends in the ETF and passive management segments, Amundi said. In line with its ESG plan for 2025, presented in December, it said it would aim to double the proportion of “Responsible ETFs” (funds classified according to Article 8 or Article 9 of the EU’s sustainable finance disclosure regulation (SFDR)), reaching 40% of the total ETF range by 2025.
Arnaud Llinas, head of ETF and index solutions at Lyxor, has been given responsibility for the consolidated passive business within Amundi.
Liquid alternatives plans
Separately, Amundi also set out plans relating to the acquisition’s contribution to its active management offering, given Lyxor’s track record in alternative investments.
According to Amundi, it has “made the strategic decision of setting up a dedicated business line for liquid alternatives named ‘Amundi Alternatives’”, which will be headed by Nathanaël Benzaken, chief client officer at Lyxor.
It said the liquid alternatives business was worth more than €23bn at the end of September 2021, including the UCITS platform (€6.3bn) and the other platforms, mostly the dedicated managed account platform (DMAP) business, accounting for €16.7bn of assets.
Amundi also said it had an objective of increasing the alternative UCITS platform’s AUM by 50% by 2025, and of “accelerating the development of the DMAP towards institutional clients internationally”.
Its ambition in liquid alternatives was “borne out of Lyxor’s 23-year proven track-record in the alternative industry, combined with Amundi’s global distribution footprint,” it said.
”This new platform is well-placed to generate long-term and resilient growth thanks to Lyxor’s historical position as a long-standing partner of trust to the best names in the global alternative investment industry, as well as to the world’s largest and most sophisticated investors.”
In 1998 Lyxor’s alternative business pioneered a managed account framework whereby it set up funds and delegated the trading to hedge fund managers. Amundi used to operate a division called “Amundi Alternative Investments”, focusing on managed accounts.
This was mostly owned by a few institutional investors, including PGGM, who took the decision to close their hedge funds diversification in 2013, which led Amundi to shut down the platform.
There are good strategic reasons for Amundi’s move on Lyxor.