NationsBank Corp. announced Monday that it Was teaming up with London-based Gartmore Capital Management to establish an international investment management subsidiary.
The new firm, dubbed Nations Cartmore Investment Management, will provide the Charlotte, N.C.-banking company with a stronger stable of international products as well as international investing expertise.
With $14 billion in assets under management, NationsBank's proprietary funds are the third-largest bank-advised mutual funds family in the U.S. Gartmore Capital, a subsidiary of Gartmore plc, has $32 billion in funds under management.
Under terms of the deal, each company will own 50% of the new firm and will continue to operate independently. Nations Gartmore also will serve as the adviser to a new line of international mutual funds that will be part of the Nations Funds family.
Cartmore "brings a lot to the table," said Kenneth Hoffman, president of Optima Group, a consulting firm based in Milford, Conn.
Many banks use international subadvisers, but forming a joint venture between a bank and a foreign investment management firm appears to be a new twist, Mr. Hoffman said.
Lately, a number of banks have been shopping for mutual fund companies and a joint venture is "certainly an alternative," said Glen Casey, a consultant with Cerulli Associates, Boston.
To purchase a company Gartmore's size would cost $700 to $900 million, Mr. Casey estimated. "That's not really digestible by many banks," he said.
While NationsBank has made its mark in domestic fund offerings, linking up with Gartmore will make it a stronger player in the international mutual fund arena, said Kenneth D. Lewis, NationsBank's president.
"In the coming decade, some of the best opportunities will be overseas," Mr. Lewis said. "This joint venture will provide our clients immediate access to those opportunities."
NationsBank's alliance with Gartmore comes at a time when Americans are growing more interested in investing beyond the boarders of the U.S., Mr. Casey said.
Both mutual fund companies and banks have launched funds that invest abroad and some fund companies already have linked up with foreign firms to expand their offerings.
For example, American Capital Management, a Houston-based fund company, struck a deal in September to distribute international funds from Govett & Co., a British asset-management firm. And Franklin Resources Inc., San Mateo, Calif., acquired the Templeton Funds in a move to boost its international fund offerings.
Pending regulatory approval, Nations Gartmore will begin operating in the second quarter of 1995. The banking company's London-based international investment unit, Nations Panmure Investment Management Ltd., will be closed.