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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Westwood To Launch Three Funds, Dip Toes in Distribution

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Westwood Holdings Group [profile]will launch three funds in December — an emerging market fund, a global dividend fund and global equity fund, which will be managed by Westwood International Advisors, a six manager Toronto-based global investment team that Westwood hired in April.

"This team has been referred to  as rock stars of the fund business in Canada due to their success. Each of them hale from and have lived in many parts of the world and speak nine languages between them," said Mark Dunbar, senior vice president of marketing.

Westwood, which already offers seven open-end funds, is considering dipping its toe in sales, according to Dunbar. Dunbar says the firm may hire at least one, but possibly as many as three, internal wholesalers as well as potentially an external sales person.

“Fund distribution through intermediaries has become more difficult and more expensive every year,  yet there is downward pressure on fund expense ratios.  It's incredibly challenging and requires scale to be both fee competitive and profitable," he says.

This is not Westwood's first acquisition. In 2009, the firm acquired the assets of the Philadelphia Fund from Baxter Financial Corporation and in 2010, McCarthy Group Advisors, including the McCarthy Multi-Cap Stock Fund that has been renamed the Westwood Dividend Growth Fund.

Dunbar says that the firm doesn't have any acquisition targets on the horizon at this time, but if the right opportunity that favors both parties were to present itself , "we would certainly like to explore it," be it a firm or a team. 

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