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GAM acquires Cantab Capital in trends-based investment push: Reuters

Swiss asset manager GAM has bought British hedge fund firm Cantab Capital Partners in a $217 million deal to increase its offering of computer-driven quantitative investment funds that cash in on identifying trends in global financial markets.

The transaction marks a departure from GAM’s predominantly ‘active’ investment approach and will lead to the creation of a new unit called GAM Systematic, of which Cantab will form the cornerstone, Cantab said in a statement on Wednesday.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2016, pending regulatory approvals.
GAM has around $120 billion of assets under management.

“There’s been a growing interest for a while in systematic investing and this is not a fad,” GAM Chief Executive Alexander Friedman told Reuters via telephone. “It’s the future of investing more than anything else.”

Cambridge-based Cantab, founded in 2006, says it employs a systematic, multi-strategy, multi-asset approach. The firm manages around $4 billion in assets.

Chief Investment Officer Ewan Kirk said in the lead up to Brexit the firm “sized our positions appropriately for the market”.

“So we have done reasonably well over the period, but we have not done exceptionally well,” he told Reuters. “Both Friday and Monday, given the fact we had the right sized positions, were not exceptional days either up or down. We’re up a little bit.”

Cantab Capital Partners’ Core Macro Programme is up 3.4 percent in year to June 27 whiles the CCP Quant Programme is up 4.1 percent, a source close to the firm told Reuters.

The operation and running of the firm’s two programmes, the CCP Quantitative and the CCP Core Macro, will not be affected by the transaction, Cantab said.

Its partners will sign multi-year employment contracts under terms of the new deal and its investment team, led by Ewan Kirk, will remain in Cambridge, where it hopes to nurture its relationship with the University of Cambridge.

The acquisition is also expected to give Cantab access to GAM’s global distribution channels and enable Cantab’s scientists to remain exclusively focused on research and development, the company said.