Bloomberg News

LONDON — Amvescap PLC, in an attempt to start a money-management business for wealthy clients, has agreed to buy Pell Rudman & Co., a Boston wealth-management unit of Old Mutual PLC, for as much as $200 million.

London-based Amvescap — Europe’s biggest publicly traded fund manager — said it would pay $172 million in cash and as much as $28 million more over two years for Pell Rudman, depending on its performance. Pell Rudman has about $8 billion of assets under management.

Amvescap has been seeking to expand its pension and mutual fund businesses to include money management for rich investors, a business whose fees tend to be higher. Pell Rudman will be the “cornerstone” of its wealth management unit, said Charles Brady, Amvescap’s chief executive, in a prepared statement.

It joins a growing band of financial services companies seeking wealthy clients’ assets. Last year, San Francisco’s Charles Schwab Corp. paid $3 billion for U.S. Trust Corp. of New York, and Alliance Capital Management LP bought another New York firm, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., for $3.5 billion.

Donald Herrema, the head of Amvescap’s wealth management unit, said the company expects to open “regional offices in key areas” around the United States by making “small acquisitions” or by expanding Pell Rudman’s business. “Europe and the U.K. also are areas that are attractive to us, and we expect to have a presence there,” he said.

Old Mutual, South Africa’s largest insurer, has now moved to sell six of the 41 fund management units it bought in October, for $2.2 billion, from United Asset Management Corp. of Boston.

Old Mutual has already sold some of its other fund management businesses, including Scotland’s Murray Johnstone Holdings Ltd., Boston’s Hellman Jordan Management Co., and Chicago Asset Management Co.

But Old Mutual, which in 1999 moved its headquarters to London, continues to make other types of acquisitions. Last week it agreed to buy Baltimore-based Fidelity and Guaranty Life Insurance Co. from St. Paul Cos. for $635 million.

Amvescap plans to expand Pell Rudman’s network of five offices by opening in “one or two” more U.S. regions this year, Mr. Herrema said. New York, Florida, California, Texas, and the Midwest “clearly present opportunities,” he said.

Pell Rudman, founded in 1980 by its current chief executive, Edward Rudman, has offices in Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Denver, Atlanta, and Wilmington, Del.

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