By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
French international banking group BNP Paribas and wealth distribution network Allfunds have agreed to a strategic collaboration to fuel the development of next-generation fund distribution services. Linklaters offered legal advice to BNP Paribas on the formation of the partnership, which has resulted in funds services provider and custodian BNP Paribas Securities Services, and BNP Paribas Asset Management, owning a 22.5% interest in Allfunds.
This transaction is expected to close by the end of this year. Following the partnership, Allfunds will remain a standalone entity, held by existing majority shareholders Hellman & Friedman and Singapore-headquartered capital market company GIC. Under the partnership terms, 250 BNP Paribas Securities Services staff members will transfer to Allfunds, the majority of them in Poland and Italy.
The transfer will aid Allfunds’ expansion. In addition, Paribas Securities Services will provide clients purchasing funds with access to more than 2,000 fund houses and 100,000 funds. Clients will also have access to fund analytics services on a new Allfunds-powered platform named Fund@ccess. By integrating the fund buying processes of BNP Paribas and Allfunds, this will also improve operational efficiency for clients. Also under the terms of the collaboration agreement, BNP Paribas has granted Allfunds management powers over its distribution contracts with third-party investment funds for BNP Paris’ retail, wealth management, insurance and asset management arms.
This will help Allfunds to grow into new geographical areas including France and Germany. BNP Paribas Securities Services’ CEO, Patrick Colle, emphasised the growing demand “for fund distribution platforms”, also saying that the company wants its “clients to be able to take advantage of the opportunities they present”. Colle added: “This partnership will enable [BNP Paribas] to significantly enhance [its] offering, giving [its] clients access to a successful and fast-growing fund distribution platform.” Also resulting from the transaction, Allfunds has been able to carry forward plans to open new offices in Paris and Warsaw. Linklaters used a multidisciplinary team to advise BNP Paribas, including lawyers across France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Poland and Luxembourg. Advisory team leaders were Paris-based corporate partner Alain Garnier and managing associate Louis Prades.