Financial services businesses that handle assets or money for clients are hot targets these days. For asset managers buying other asset managers, the size bump helps when it comes to handling regulatory and compliance pressure. Private equity firms and other companies making acquisitions in the sector also like it for growth prospects.

New York investment bank Loeb Partners has teamed up with London firm Spencer House Partners LLP to capitalize on deal activity in the space. The firms’ strategic alliance, Loeb Spencer House Partners LLP, will provide cross-border advice to financial institutions, with a focus on deals for asset managers.

Spencer House is a partner-owned firm that provides advisory and merchant banking services specifically to asset management and wealth management clients. Loeb, headed by president Jamie Kempner (a descendant of the legendary Loeb banking family, and son of late New York socialite Nan Kempner), provides M&A, restructuring and other capital markets services through affiliate Loeb Partners Management.

“We view ourselves as industry agnostic, but we did have a hole with respect to financial institutions, and the Loeb Spencer House Structure really now covers us in the FIG (financial institutions group) area, primarily in asset management,” Kempner says. “It brings that specific expertise that we didn’t have.”

Recent asset management buys have come from Boston private equity firm TA Associates, which made a deal for Russell Investments (Frank Russell Co.’s asset management business) from London Stock Exchange Group plc for $1.15 billion; Hellman & Friedman LLC, which agreed to buy a majority stake in Edelman Financial services, a manager of about $15 billion in assets; and Mizuho Financial Group, which said it would pick up a stake in asset manager Matthews International Capital Management.

As part of a broader shift away from financial assets and back towards industrial operations, General Electric announced in September that it was putting GE Asset Management up for sale. The arm has $115 billion in assets under management, and GE is looking for buyers that have experience managing retirement plan assets.

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