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Asset management roundup: Ashburton partners with Fidelity on multi-asset [updated]

Ashburton Investments has teamed up with Fidelity International to beef up its range of international multi-asset funds and services.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ashburton – the fund management arm of the South African FirstRand Group – will be able to tap into the expertise of the multi-asset team at Fidelity, which as a group manages more than $320bn (€260bn) of assets globally.

Boshoff Grobler, CEO of Ashburton Investments, said: “Fidelity’s market-leading research capability and specialist knowledge in global asset allocation and security selection significantly strengthens our proposition.”

Ashburton will maintain responsibility for global macro views and tactical asset allocation. Strategic asset allocation will be driven jointly by both firms.

In addition, Ashburton will retain oversight of all client relations, distribution and services while the US asset manager will provide advisory services on security and fund selection, as well as support the implementation of asset allocation decisions. 

“This strategic partnership with Ashburton Investments reflects the depth of both of our firms’ ambitions in offering clients world-class investment portfolios which truly reflect their needs,” said James Bateman, CIO at Fidelity Multi Asset.

Managers’ digital strategies ‘fragmented’

Some asset management staff are concerned their firms are lagging behind in adopting new technologies, according to a survey by consultancy Alpha FMC.

A poll of senior technology staff from 15 global asset management companies found that nearly a quarter (23%) thought their companies’ “digital maturity” was fragmented and developing too slowly.

More than two thirds (69%) of respondents said old technology was a “primary obstacle” to developing a digital strategy, while 62% felt there was a need for “a widespread change in company culture and mindset”.

On average, fund management companies spent £15m (€17.2m) a year on digital development – although the spread between the highest and lowest spenders was broad, Alpha FMC said.

The majority of managers surveyed said they had not invested in fintech, and just 15% said they were actively integrating specific technologies such as artificial intelligence. However, Alpha FMC said its research suggested a shift in the next few years towards technologies such as machine learning and blockchain.

Kevin O’Shaughnessy, head of digital at Alpha FMC, said: “The asset management industry is at a key juncture, facing a mix of technological, regulatory and client behavioural shifts. Digital transformation is seen as essential to future success.

“Firms know the commercial benefits to be derived from digital investment, covering both the ability to acquire and retain clients but also the impact of improved client satisfaction, both of which lead to increased assets and revenue. How to remain ahead of the curve is now a board-level agenda item for many firms.” 

Link partners with software company for private equity

Investment fund administrator Link Asset Services has struck a deal with software provider AltaReturn for the latter to provide fund accounting and reporting services for private equity managers.

Link was recently appointed to two Local Government Pension Scheme asset pools – ACCESS and the Wales Pension Partnership – to administer more than £56bn worth of combined assets. 

The deal with AltaReturn would offer private equity investors “streamlined processing, greater scalability and increased transparency”, Link said in a press release.

Norma O’Sullivan, managing director of Link Asset Services in Jersey, said the partnership would “help [general partners] significantly improve the level of reporting and transparency – key requirements of existing and potential investors”.

Note: This article has been updated to amend the roles of Ashburton and Fidelity following an error in the press release.

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