Greenberg’s Conning to Sell Stake to Cathay, Form Asia Venture

Conning & Co., the asset manager purchased by Jeff Greenberg’s Aquiline Capital Partners LLC in 2009, will sell a stake to Cathay Financial Holding Co. and form a venture with the Taiwan-based firm to expand business in Asia.

Each firm will have a 50 percent stake in a new Hong Kong- based company, which will target clients in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam, Conning said in a statement today. Cathay will also purchase a 9.9 percent share in Conning for about $19 million, said Woody Bradford, president and chief operating officer of Conning, in an interview today.

Investment firms such as Conning are expanding operations overseeing funds for insurers. The outside managers had responsibility for about $1.75 trillion at the end of 2010, an increase of 13 percent from a year earlier, according to a survey this month by Insurance Asset Manager, an industry publication. Conning manages about $77 billion, including assets at Cathay’s life insurance subsidiary.

“The markets around us have become global and so we have to as well,” Bradford said. “To date, our presence in Asia has not been as expanded as it has in the U.S. and Europe.”

A pairing with Cathay will give the new company name recognition in a market with $5 trillion in asset-management opportunities, Bradford said. The venture will target both insurers and institutional investors, such as pension plans. Conning’s business today comes mostly from insurers, he said.

Each company will invest $3 million in the venture, which will announce its top executives later this year, Bradford said. The deal will probably be completed by the first quarter of next year, the companies said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brooke Sutherland in New York at bsutherland5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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