Danish independent pensions and investment consultancy Kirstein has just sold the asset management arm it spun off three years ago to a larger local player – but its founder has no plans to retire on the proceeds of the sale.

Jesper Kirstein, who set up the Copenhagen-based firm Kirstein in 1993, told IPE: “I will continue to be CEO and to focus on not only being a company that collects the data and carries out analysis, but on using investor information to become a strategic consultant.”

In a deal which took effect on New Year’s Day, Kirstein sold his 72% stake in Spektrum – which was formed in 2017 – to Secure Fondsmæglerselskab.

The new merged investment management company has been named Secure Spektrum, and has around DKK42bn (€5.6bn) under advice.

Together with shareholdings acquired from Spektrum employees, Secure will own almost 100% of the new firm, according to Kirstein.

“As you can imagine, it has been a tough decision, because the company is my lifeblood, but I really do believe if you want to position yourself as the best alternative to the big banks on asset management, then you need size and scale,” Kirstein said.

This business move will incentivise more growth for both companies, he said.

Jan Grænge, who led Secure and is now chief executive officer of Secure Spektrum, said he was pleased and proud of the establishment of the new firm.

“We are seeing growing demand for independent asset managers, and when an opportunity came up to merge Secure with Spektrum, it was an obvious choice,” he said.

Meanwhile, Søren Dal Thomsen, who was CEO of Spektrum and is now CIO of the joint company – but equal senior executive in day-to-day management alongside Grænge – said the two companies were a “perfect match” according to several criteria.

“We share the same vision and core value of delivering unique solutions to our customers, based on independent advice. And the companies are complementary, i.e. virtually no overlap, and that gives us clout for the benefit of customers, employees and shareholders,” he said.

Jesper Kirstein said the two other reasons why the deal was a good one from his point of view, were the price tag and the freedom it would give him to focus on his business ambitions for the consultancy which shares his name.

“It ended up being a rather attractive price, and because I am not 22 any more, that turned out to be interesting for me,” he said.

In its business push within strategic consultancy, he said Kirstein had been having talks with asset managers needing advice on how to penetrate the Nordic markets, as well as one company aiming to enter the European asset management markets.

“This is ongoing work – we have chosen the right road to go on, but there is still a long way to go,” he said, adding that Kirstein’s business growth in this area would be “organic and gradual”.

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