Fidante buys UK fund manager, expands agri exposure

Fidante’s acquisition of Dexion Capital bolsters its interests in UK-based alternative asset managers including Whitehelm Capital and WyeTree Asset Management.

Fidante Partners, a Sydney-based boutique fund management division of ASX-listed investment firm Challenger, has acquired Dexion Capital, a European alternative investments group.

Expected to complete by the end of July, the acquisition requires a fixed payment of £19.6 million (A$41.56 million, $30.6 million) and up to six years of earn-out payments to key Dexion executives, according to a report by Pension & Investments.

Dexion has interests in three boutique fund managers, including Agricultural Asset Management (AAM), which focuses on agricultural investments in the US and UK. The other two are renewable energy specialists Resonance Asset Management and UK social housing investor Horizon Infrastructure Partnership. Dexion also manages the London-listed alternative asset fund Dexion Absolute Limited.

“Alternatives are the fastest-growing investment sector and will comprise 15 percent of global assets under management and 40 percent of revenues by 2020. Moreover, boutique managers punch above their weight in alternatives,” Dexion founder Robin Bowie said in a statement.

The acquisition of Dexion expands Fidante Partners’ exposure in Europe. Fidante currently holds interests in Whitehelm Capital, a UK-based global infrastructure investor, and WyeTree Asset Management, an asset-backed security specialist, according to a statement.

Fidante was founded in 2005 and as of 31 March 2015, was responsible for A$45.1 billion (approximately $33.2 billion) of funds under management. Its parent Challenger currently manages A$60.4 billion (approximately $44.4 billion).

Assets related to agricultural development accounted for about 5 percent of Challenger’s total portfolio as of 31 December, 2014, according to its website. That includes its winery division, Belvino Investments, which invests in vineyards across Australia and New Zealand. Belvino’s current portfolio consists about 7,200 hectares, 5,600 of which is planted, across Australia and 1,500 hectares (1,100 planted) in the North and South Islands of New Zealand, according to Belvino’s website.