By Rob Daly

Eaton Vance Eyes Raising Hexavest Stake

Investment manager Eaton Vance has the next few weeks to decided whether to take a majority interest in Montreal-headquartered equity manager Hexavest.

“We are in the middle of negotiations and would prefer not to say too much,” said Thomas Faust, CEO of Eaton Vance during the firm’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “We like the way they run their business.”

Eaton Vance originally acquired 49% interest in the Canadian firm in 2012, which gave it control of Hexavest’s development outside of Canada as well as an option to take a larger stake in the firm at a later date.

Since the investment, Hexavest has increased its global footprint and currently has offices in London, Sydney, Singapore, and Tokyo.

“In London, we now have a staff of nearly 50 people, up from just a handful two years ago,” noted Faust. “I am pleased to report that our increased focus on growing our international business is beginning to pay off.”

Eaton Vance has reported that asset managed for non-US clients contributed more than $5 billion to the company’s consolidated net inflows, which equates to 30% internal growth for managed assets.

“Leading contributors to this year’s international growth include bank loans and exposure management,” said Faust. “Still representing less than 6% of managed assets, we see lots of room to run for additional growth outside the US”.

If Eaton Vance decides to exercise its option, it will represent a $90 million commitment by the firm. “It not an insignificant amount,” he said.

In November 2016 the investment manager acquired the assets of Calvert Investments, which manages a family of actively and passively managed responsibly invested equity and fixed income mutual funds, for an undisclosed sum.

Since the acquisition, assets managed by Calvert research and management subsidiary, including account sub-advised by other Eaton Vance affiliates increased by $900 million, up 26% from 12 months earlier, according to Faust.

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