Wells Fargo Asset Management (WFAM) has been sold to GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners for $2.1bn, subject to customary closing conditions.
The sale is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021 and will see the private equity buyers assume $603bn in assets under management, 24 offices globally and more than 450 investment professionals.
Wells Fargo will own a 9.9% equity interest in its former asset management house and will continue to serve as both a client and distribution partner.
Nico Marais will remain CEO of the firm, a role he has held since 2019, and will be joined by his leadership team , while former chairman and CEO of Legg Mason Joseph A. Sullivan will be appointed executive chair of the board following the closing of the transaction.
Marais described the sale as a "significant milestone in the growth and evolution of our firm", and added the partnership will leave the business "even better positioned to execute our strategy and provide our clients with innovative products and solutions to help them reach their investment goals".
Barry Sommers, CEO of Wells Fargo's Wealth & Investment Management division, clarified WFAM will remain independent, operating as "a portfolio company of GTCR and Reverence Capital", which will provide "numerous benefits" to clients and employees alike.
"At the same time, this transaction reflects Wells Fargo's strategy to focus on businesses that serve our core consumer and corporate clients, and will allow us to focus even more on growing our wealth and brokerage businesses," he added.
Colin Roche, managing director of GTCR, said: "We are thrilled to work with Nico and the team at WFAM, and we have tremendous conviction in the calibre and capabilities of the management professionals and leadership team.
"The organisation is poised to provide further innovation in the investment marketplace while continuing to deliver high-quality products to its clients. The team, underpinned by its diversity, client-orientation and collaborative culture, has delivered strong performance, and we will work to reinforce these values and sustain this performance."
Milton Berlinski, co-founder and managing partner of Reverence Capital, added: "We are very enthusiastic about this exceptional opportunity to partner with such talented investment professionals and to create an independent company that will grow over the long term and further enhance its innovative products and creative solutions for its clients.
"As an independent organization, WFAM will pivot to the next phase of its growth and is positioned to expand on its solutions-based approach, multi asset offerings, retail separately managed accounts and customised investment products."