Investment group First State to shift £4bn in assets to Dublin

Move a boon for Dublin as Australian fund manager prepares for Brexit

First State is the latest in a line of names to announce a move ahead of the UK’s planned departure from the European Union. Photograph: Tom Honan

First State is the latest in a line of names to announce a move ahead of the UK’s planned departure from the European Union. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Australian investment group First State Investments is set to follow Legg Mason and Hermes Investment Management in shifting a portfolio of assets to Dublin as it readies its Brexit plans.

UK publication Financial News has reported that the group will move a portfolio of some £4 billion in assets to Dublin, to ensure European clients have continued access to First State’s funds in case they can no longer invest in UK-domiciled funds after Brexit.

The move means that EU share classes across 18 First State funds in the UK will be exchanged for equivalent share classes in Dublin-based funds, which will be run by the same portfolio-management teams.

If the plans are approved by investors, the transfer of assets will take place during the first quarter of 2019, according to First State.

Chris Turpin, managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “Our proposals are intended to protect the interests of all investors, and in particular to ensure that our EU-based clients can continue to invest in our strategies irrespective of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.”

Latest mover

First State, which manages £122 billion in assets, has operated pooled funds out of Dublin funds for almost 20 years. However, it is looking to set up a management company in Dublin next year to ensure it can “service and grow its client base across the EU member states, regardless of the Brexit outcome”.

First State is the latest in a line of names to announce a move ahead of the UK’s planned departure from the European Union.

Baring Asset Management, the $300 billion US group, is to open a Dublin office, while Morgan Stanley Investment Management has said it will expand its business in the Irish capital. Barclays recently expanded its office here, while Bank of America has also chosen Dublin as its new base for its European operations, and Legg Mason, a $754 billion US investment manager, is also preparing to open a Dublin office this year.

However, there have been misses too: M&G, MFS and T Rowe Price are some of the asset managers that have chosen Luxembourg as their new hub, while insurers, including AIG, have also opted for the grand duchy over Dublin.