Skagen, the independent manager based in the Norwegian oil town of Stavanger, has been acquired by Storebrand, the Norwegian insurance group, and will thus join Delphi Funds (Norway based) and SPP (Sweden based) as a brand offering actively managed funds to the market.
Skagen will remain a separate company, with its own board, according to the deal, but it means that existing clients of the asset manager can be targeted with cross-selling of other investment and savings solutions from within the broader Storebrand group.
The independent manager’s philosophy and process will not change.
The change comes a year after Skagen appointed Øyvind Schanke as its CEO, amidst other changes (see below). Schanke said that the deal with Storebrand would enable Skagen to “have greater ability to invest and innovate”.
Odd Arild Grefstad, CEO of Storebrand, noted that “the acquisition of Skagen is an important building block in pursuing our domestic and international growth strategy. We look forward to benefiting from Skagen’s significant expertise in active management, direct client service and experience with international distribution.”
The latter point may be particularly interesting for Storebrand, which as a group via its existing asset management brands has implemented a strong commitment towards sustainable investing to meet customer demand in the Nordic region (Norway and Sweden). Using the distribution channels built up by Skagen in, for example, the UK financial adviser market, could open up possibilities to bring other portfolios and expertise to a broader customer base in other parts of Europe.
Storebrand claims over €60bn of assets under management, alongside its life and health insurance business lines. With a history dating back to 1767, it serves some 1.9 million customers in Norway and Sweden. In its statement on the deal released in Norway, Storebrand said the deal would increase its share of the private investor market in Norway from 4% to 17%, adding some 100,000 Norwegian customers and taking related AUM to some NOK221bn (€23.4bn).
Its current fund offering in Norway includes actively managed equity and bond portfolios sold under the Delphi and Storebrand brands, as well as offering factor based funds and index funds. In Sweden, the SPP brand is known for its commitment to a range in which products implement sustainability objectives.