Fortis acquires leading BVI hedge fund administrator

Fortis Merchant Banking's fund servicing arm, FortisPrime Fund Solutions, has acquired British Virgin Islands-based Hedge Funds Services (HFS).

HFS is BVI's largest independent full-service fund administrator. At the end of 2005 it had approximately EUR 2 billion in assets under administration in 104 funds from 53 different fund managers, 90 per cent of which are based in the US.

These funds represent a variety of investment strategies, including long/short equities, convertible arbitrage, event-driven and funds-of-funds.

'Our commitment to grow our presence in niche markets, especially in the Americas, is materializing itself through this acquisition, which will strengthen the position of our fund servicing arm, Prime Fund Solutions in the hedge funds industry,' says Filip Dierckx, Fortis's Merchant Banking CEO. 'HFS enjoys an enviable reputation and will enable us to become the No1 fund administrator in the BVI, which has become a key financial centre in the Caribbean. We also warmly welcome HFS's team of 18 highly skilled professionals which will constitute our third Caribbean base for accelerated growth in thehedge fund services industry.'

Michael Kane, HFS' Director, adds: 'Fortis and HFS complement each other, both geographically and in terms of product offering and corporate culture. This can only lead to steady growth and confirmation of our leadership position in this specialized market. At the same time, our customers will benefit from Fortis' size and financial clout, its state-of-the art technology as well as a broader product offering and high service standards.'

The transaction will have no material impact on Fortis' solvency position or net profit per share.

Background notes: Fortis is an international financial services provider engaged in banking and insurance, offering personal, business and institutional customers a comprehensive package of products and services through the company'sown channels, in collaboration with intermediaries and through other distribution partners. With a market capitalization of EUR 39 billion (28 February 2006) Fortis ranks among the twenty largest financial institutions in Europe.

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