Conning Adds $6 Billion of Brookfield Assets in New York Push

Mar 31, 2014 11:57 am ET

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Conning & Co., the money manager controlled by Jeff Greenberg’s Aquiline Capital Partners LLC, is adding about $6 billion in assets from Brookfield Asset Management Inc. as the seller exits the business of overseeing funds for insurers.

Joseph Syage and Dominick Bonanno, who lead the fixed income insurance business at the Brookfield Investment Management unit, will join in a new Manhattan office for Conning, the buyer said in a statement today. Hartford, Connecticut-based Conning also has offices in London, Cologne, Hong Kong and Purchase, New York.

Conning oversees $83 billion for clients, with more than half that sum in corporate bonds. The company is expanding in New York to cater to insurer clients as Chief Executive Officer Woody Bradford seeks to add income from fees. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are among firms vying to bolster profits by catering to insurers pressured by low bond yields and increased government oversight.

“This transaction adds to us a team of fixed-income specialists who we believe shares a common culture and philosophy of investing for insurance companies,” Bradford said in an interview.

Brookfield Investment Management oversees at least $10 billion of real estate and infrastructure equities, corporate high-yield investments, credit strategies, and funds for insurers.

‘Real Assets’

“We want to focus on real assets: property, infrastructure, and private equity, and this unit was outside of that,” Andrew Willis, a spokesman for Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management, said by phone. The industry serving insurers “is dominated by large asset managers including Conning and we saw the opportunity to exit this legacy business.”

Franklin Resources Inc. said in December that it hired Mark Whitford from Brookfield to help build a team managing funds for insurers. Franklin, which features Benjamin Franklin in its logo, said Whitford would be actuarial investment strategist for the San Mateo, California-based firm’s insurance group.

The Brookfield deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2014, Conning said in the statement, which didn’t disclose terms. The company is currently looking for an office in Manhattan, Bradford said.