Liontrust is to buy Architas' UK multi-manager and advisory businesses from parent company Axa in a deal worth up to £75m.
The acquisition will create a multi-asset multi-manager business with £6.6bn in assets under management and advice.
The newly combined team will be led by Liontrust's John Husselbee with Architas' Sheldon Macdonald named deputy head of multi-asset. Architas' UK distribution team will move to Liontrust.
Liontrust will run £25bn in assets after the integration, it said in a statement this morning (1 July).
The deal includes the Architas Multi-Asset (MA) Active, Blended and Passive Multi-Manager fund ranges along with the Specialist and Income funds, and this will bring £5.6bn in AuMA.
The Liontrust brand will be used for all the Architas funds on completion of the acquisition, which is expected to be before the end of the year subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.
Architas' UK fund ranges are complementary to Liontrust's target risk portfolios and will create a significant multi-asset multi-manager proposition in the UK by product range and AuMA at £6.6bn, Liontrust said.
Liontrust AM shares bounced in early trading in response to the news, rising 3.8% by around 9am.
'Important strategic acquisition'
Liontrust chief executive John Ions said: "The Architas UK investment business is an important strategic acquisition for us to meet the growing demand for investment solutions from advisers and their clients over the next few years.
It builds on and complements our existing investment solutions of Multi-Asset portfolios, Sustainable Managed and equity income funds.
"Buying the Architas UK investment business will expand our distribution among financial advisers through the scale of the combined businesses, the strength of the merged investment team, the broad range of multi-asset multi-manager portfolios and funds and enhanced client service.
"Financial advisers are key clients for Liontrust because of the responsibility they have as guardians of people's savings. By offering both risk profiled funds and target risk portfolios, we will help advisers to meet their suitability requirements by being able to choose the solution that best meets their clients' individual needs for investment and risk.
"Combining the teams led by John Husselbee and Sheldon Macdonald will give us significant capability in multi-asset multi-manager investments."
Architas chief executive Matthieu Andre added: "We would like to thank all our clients who have been with Architas since our launch in the UK over 10 years ago. Their trust has allowed us to establish a strong business in the UK and we will be doing everything we can do ensure a smooth transition to Liontrust.
"In particular, financial advisers should be assured that there will be no change to the risk/reward objectives of the funds or the target risk investment methodology on the risk profiled funds, and no change to the unfettered investment philosophy of the funds.
"Our UK investment business has grown steadily over the past decade, which is a testament to the strength of our relationships with both financial advisers and clients, and a reflection of the passion and dedication of our staff. As such, the decision to sell has been a difficult one but is the best for this business to continue to flourish."
Andre said: "We are confident that Liontrust, given their deep commitment to clients and their UK focus, is a great strategic and cultural fit for our UK investment business.
"Liontrust already occupies an excellent position in the UK with strong links to financial advisers, which the acquisition of our UK investment business will help to strengthen."
Andre added that outside of the UK, Architas had grown exponentially to become a global business focused on supporting AXA entities and their partners across Europe and Asia relying on state of the art multi-asset and multi-management capabilities.
"We have decided to leverage this growth and to focus on our core strength and scale and to divest from running an independent regulated investment business in the UK.
"Architas has ambitious global growth plans aligned with the ones of the AXA Group and will continue to operate outside of the UK, wherever we have a strong AXA life and savings presence."