remont Group is seeking a buyer for its mutual fund and investment advisory business. San Francisco-based Fremont Investment Advisors
runs 13 no-load funds with roughly $5.5 billion in assets under management, it has been in the fund business since 1986. The firm also tapped a new head for the unit as it searches for a buyer.
Fremont executives expect the sale to take place before the end of 2003, although they admit that market conditions could slow the process. "As a private investment firm involved in the growth, nurture and sale of a wide variety of businesses since the 1980s, we are patient and experienced in executing such transactions," said Rick Kopf
, Fremont Group's managing director of operations.
The decision to sell the fund business came from Fremont Group's conclusion that the fund industry has matured, and that it is time for the firm to liquidate its private equity stake. "Fremont Group is in the business of establishing investment partnerships (principally in private equity) with the objective of creating value through investment returns and, ultimately, the growth of these businesses," added Kopf. "FIA has grown significantly, and we believe it is an attractive business for the right firm to continue to grow."
Meanwhile, Fremont has also shaken up its executive management ranks. E. Douglas Taylor
has come out of retirement to take the president and chief executive officer slots from Nancy Tengler
. She, in turn, has taken up portfolio management duties for the New Era Value Fund, a fund she started, and will assist with the transition to new ownership, according to the firm.
Taylor had been a senior vice president at San Francico consulting firm Callan Associates
. Before joining Callan, he was president of PacTel Finance
at Pacific Telesis Group as well as executive director of investment management.
Fremont Group also named Deborah L. Duncan
, managing director and chief financial officer, as chairman of Fremont Investment Advisors. That post is newly created. Duncan spent 21 years at Chase Manhattan Bank
, including a stint heading the bank's asset management business.
Knopf praised Tengler for her role in building the firm, noting that the fund business "made solid progress, with assets under management increasing significantly in a period when most mutual fund companies suffered net outflows." He added that he believes she left the firm "well-positioned for continued growth under new ownership."
Kopf said there are no plans to change the fund line-up or portfolio managers and sub-advisors. Just last month, the firm tapped TimesSquare Capital Management
as subadvisor to the Fremont U.S. Small Cap Fund
, replacing Kern Capital Management
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