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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nachmany Stays On as Head of Strategic Insight

Reported by GI

Genstar Capital principal Tony Salewski wants to retain the management team at Asset International following the sale of the company to the private equity shop. And that's good news for the co-founder and research director of mutual fund data provider Strategic Insight, Avi Nachmany, who confirms to MFWire that he and his team are staying put.

It's also good news for Asset International founder and director Charlie Ruffel and AI chairman and CEO Jim Casella.

"Jim is definitely staying on, so is Avi, and Charlie has been a board member and we hope to keep him involved as well," Salewski, the former chief of staff for Barclays Global Investors, tells MFWire in an interview about Genstar's acquisition. "In many ways, we're looking to build this business, so we're backing the team, support them, and I think with our advisor network we can help broaden their offering within asset management."

The 25-year-old, San Francisco-based PE shop announced the AI purchase from Austin Ventures on Friday, and although Salewski declined to disclose terms of the deal, he says the mid-market-focused company generally injects $75 million to $150 million into any one deal. He also says that Strategic Insight is the largest part of Asset International's business (although neither he nor Nachmany wished to provide specifics.)

Look for Salewski & Co. to beef up Strategic Insight's Simfund product a database of mutual fund flows, assets, performance and portfolio characteristics after the sale closes in July, both more globally and across a broader set of asset classes.

"Today, it's primarily focused on the mutual fund space. I think we can broaden that from a product set that touches more of an asset management organization as well as on a global basis, which fits with the global asset managers we service," Salewski says.

"I think there's a lot more we can do in terms of expanding into the retail side as well," he says, describing the possibility to cater to a broader array of service providers aside from large asset management shops such as wealth managers and RIAs.

Since the Strategic Insight's founding in 1986 "with two people and a typewriter," Nachmany says the company has grown to 141 people globally. And although Nachmany, like Salewski, has his sights on growth plans for the company, he has his eyes first and foremost on the short-term benefits of new ownership.

"The most important thing is, from a client perspective, they will be interfacing with the same researchers and executives. ... But we will have more depth of resources to expand our personnel, technology, establish new partnerships with organizations in the U.S. and globally," Nachmany tells MFWire. "That's going to be tomorrow, today we're still focusing on the business end."

He also touts the additional benefit of Genstar having already invested in other asset management companies and thus having familiarity with the business over the last year, Genstar has bought up Genworth Financial Wealth Management (now called AssetMark, the former wealth management arm of Genworth Financial) and La Jolla, California alts shop Altegris in a partnership with PE firm Aquiline Capital Partners.

And those acquisitions ultimately helped Salewski identify the worth of Strategic Insight's product from a client perspective.

"As we were doing diligence on [those deals] ... that allowed us to really get conviction on [Simfund] from a user basis," Salewski says. "Within financial services and tech this fits squarely with a number of deals we've looked at and done." 

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