Montagu acquires German fund administrator

The London-based buyout firm is making its second investment from Montagu V, which closed on its hard-cap on €2.75bn last September.

London-based buyout firm Montagu Private Equity said Thursday that it has acquired Universal-Investment, the largest fund administrator in German speaking Europe by assets under administration, for an undisclosed sum.

Established in 1968, Universal-Investment has €280 billion in assets under administration. It has three divisions – administration, insourcing, and risk management – and administers funds, securities, alternative asset classes, and real estate.

Daniel Fischer, director at Montagu Private Equity, said in a statement that Universal-Investment is a “pioneer in the investment industry” and a leader in providing fund administration services for private label funds, or mutual funds launched for independent asset managers, family offices, and so on, and master funds (Master-KVGs), which are institutional products typically launched for German insurers, pension funds, and the like.

While Universal-Investment focuses on fund administration services such as accounting, overall reporting, and risk management, the asset management of these funds is usually outsourced to external asset managers.

“We’re particularly impressed by the performance of the management team, which has developed Universal-Investment into a growing platform with an outstanding reputation,” Fischer said in the statement. “We’re excited to work closely with Bernd Vorbeck and his team going forward, accompanying them through the company’s next growth phase.”

Frankfurt-based Universal-Investment has quadrupled its assets under administration from €70 billion ten years ago, Montagu said. Growth has been driven in part by expansion into new areas of business, such as real estate and alternative assets.

Montagu acquired Universal-Investment from Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co., a Hamburg-based bank commonly known as Berenberg, and Bankhaus Lampe, a private bank based in Düsseldorf.

Montagu Private Equity closed its fifth fund on its €2.75 billion hard cap last September, exceeding its €2.5 billion target. LPs in Montagu V include the City of Zürich Pension Fund, New York Life Insurance Company, and Munich-based SwanCap Partners. The Universal-Investment acquisition is Montagu’s second investment in the financial services sector in the DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) region, following its purchase of Zürich-based Equatex, a global compensation plan management business, from UBS in 2015.

-Updated to clarify the types of funds Universal-Investment services.