Close Asset Management to acquire Fortune Group

Close Asset Management is acquiring, subject to regulatory approval, a majority stake in Fortune Group, the London-based hedge funds manager.
                                                                                 
Founded in 1996, Fortune manages approximately USD 800 million in a range of single and multi-manager products, for private wealth management groups, insurance companies, banks and pension funds, and has advisory mandates for additional hedge fund assets.

Jonathan Sieff, CEO of Close Asset Management said: "Alternative investments are a major growth area for us.  Hedge funds are an important and fast growing element within this area and Fortune gives us an exceptionally talented team, excellent relationships and a strong track record to build on. It is no secret that Close is committed to building a high growth asset management platform and the acquisition of Fortune is another component in that commitment.  Fortune will sit within the Close Investments stable, our multi-asset class, multi-manager investment business led by Rufus Warner.'

As part of the transaction the current management shareholders of Fortune will retain a significant equity stake in the firm. They include founders Simon Hopkins, who funded the start-up in 1996, and Richard Tarvin, the head of research at Global Fund Analysis, now a wholly-owned research and advisory subsidiary.

The team also includes CIO Nancy Curtin, who held senior roles at Barings and Schroders, and Jack Schwager, a former Wall Street futures professional who wrote the 'Market Wizards' trilogy. Jonathan Sieff, Rufus Warner, and Fortune's current Chairman, Mark Ebert will join the new board of Fortune.

Rufus Warner, CEO of Close Investments said, 'Fortune strengthens our presence in the hedge fund and fund of hedge funds space and it complements our existing alternative investment product range. I look forward to working with Simon and his team to build on the Close tradition of developing excellent and innovative products and services.'

Close Asset Management had funds under management of GBP 7.7bn at 31st January 2006, of which approximately half will be in alternative investments after this transaction (including private equity, property, tax-mitigation and structured funds, as well as over USD 1bn of hedge funds).

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