The Reuters story names global consulting firm Towers Watson as favourite to pick up Russell with two Chinese businesses – Shanda Group and CITIC – also in the hunt.
“London Stock Exchange Group Plc, which owns Russell, may view Towers Watson as a more reliable buyer than the Chinese companies, one of the people added, although no agreement for the sale of the business has yet been reached,” Reuters says.
This February the London Stock Exchange (LSE) confirmed it would spin off the group’s investments and asset consulting arm after purchasing the Frank Russell Company in 2014 for about US$2.7 billion.
Russell Investments is expected to fetch up to US$1.5 billion.
Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, USA, Towers Watson provides a range of consulting services – including in asset management – across almost 40 countries. As well as a large presence in Australia, Towers Watson also has an affiliate partner relationship with New Zealand actuarial and consulting firm Melville Jessup Weaver (MJW).
Originally an online game company, Shanda Group is targeting growth in financial services while the state-owned CITIC conglomerate would add Russell to its asset management arm, Reuters says.
LSE bought Frank Russell primarily to boost its FTSE index business, officially merging the two global investment benchmark operators this May under the ‘FTSE Russell’ brand.
“FTSE Russell will now operate as one joint global index business, with a combined sales and product team serving its global customer base,” an LSE release said at the time.
According to the LSE, the newly-merged group backs indices ‘in more than 80 countries, covering 98% of the investable market globally and trading on over 25 exchanges worldwide”.
JP Morgan Chase is managing the sale of Russell Investments, which boasts over US$270 billion in assets under management.
Russell Investments New Zealand provides funds management and investment consultancy services to a range of charities, super funds and other entities, including the BNZ KiwiSaver scheme, which recently topped $500 million in funds under management.
Wellington-based firm, Implemented Investment Solutions, which distributes Russell products to the NZ retail and wholesale markets, recently reported funds under management of almost $900 million.