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Friday, March 28, 2014

Ridgeworth's Parikh Hungers for More Boutiques

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Fundsters take note, RidgeWorth is downright ravenous for boutique acquisitions.

During a visit with MFWire staff Thursday, the RidgeWorth chair, chief executive and chief investment officer Ashi Parikh outlined his firm's appetite for inorganic growth.

"We are absolutely open to buying more than on boutique," he said.

RidgeWorth first broke the story to MFWire in February.

The firm is flush with cash after a a successful December buyout from former parent SunTrust with baking from PE firm Lightyear Capital. That transaction is expected to close in April.

Of course, RidgeWorth is hungry for organic growth and is investing heavily in new sales hiring, but acquisitions are considered an important part of the firm's strategy this year.

Here is what Parikh will be looking for:

Firstly, he is interested in specialists in either international, both fixed and equity; income-related products such as dividend or MLPs, and real estate.

RidgeWorth's sweet spot, Parikh said, would be firms with AUM in the $1 billion to $10 billion range, but he is willing to look at firms with assets as small as $500 million and as much as $25 billion, as long as "the deal makes sense."

Aside from that, Parikh takes pride in being flexible with the arrangements with any new acquirees. They could range from two or three geniuses in a garage who are great in investing but need help with everything else, to firms that want control over their own distribution or back-office because of existing relations, to firms that want to mix and match their capabilities with RidgeWorth.

"We have a strong chassis that is flexible enough to work for a wide variety of folks, this is one of our key advantages," he said. 

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