UK - Syndicate Asset Management (SAM) buys EPIC Investment Partners (EIP) to make its first major step into institutional asset management. The £17.7m deal brings (SAM) £2.5bn (€3.9bn) worth of institutional assets under management.

"This is our first significant move into institutional asset management," John Morton, group CEO at SAM, told IPE. He explained that while the group always wanted to move into the institutional market none of the acquisitions so far had been in that sector - by "opportunistic coincidence rather than design", he said.

With EIP, Syndicate doubles its asset under management up to a total of £5.5bn, with around £2.6 bn  of institutional money.

"EPIC will be our brand name in the institutional sector," Morton said adding that EPIC will operate as a separate stand-alone subsidiary and that the management will stay in place.

Elsewhere it emerged that Evergreen Investments boosts its presence in Europe with the acquisition of a majority in European Credit Management (ECM) for an undisclosed sum.

ECM, a specialist in fixed-income , will bring Evergreen, the asset management division of Wachovia Corp., $26bn (€20bn) in assets under management to boost the combined groups assets under management to over $280bn with 2,400 institutional clients.

ECM will continue to operate as a separate entity, keep its brand name and manager staff. "This is in-line with the multi-boutique strategy which Wachovia has put in place with recent acquisitions," an ECM spokesman confirmed to IPE.

Wachovia said it was hoping to profit from the pension industry's growing demand for fixed-income.

For now, ECM's employees and strategic shareholders will retain a 30% equity stake in the company but in five years Evergreen will fully own ECM.