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With Blackstone in tow, ASK eyes mutual fund business, new geographies, new structures

Recently, the world’s largest alternative asset manager, Blackstone, has acquired a 71% stake in ASK from Advent International and other sellers.

With Blackstone in tow, ASK eyes mutual fund business, new geographies, new structures
“With mutual funds, we can target mass affluent and affluent investors,” Rohokale added.

By Raghavendra Kamath

With Blackstone becoming a majority owner, asset and wealth management company ASK Investment Managers will consider entering the mutual fund business, expanding in new geographies and forming new structures for global equity investors, a senior executive said.

Recently, the world’s largest alternative asset manager, Blackstone, has acquired a 71% stake in ASK from Advent International and other sellers.

“We will look at buying or building mutual fund business. it will enhance our reach to larger audience with a minimum ticket size of Rs 500 and above,” said Sunil Rohokale, chief executive and managing director at ASK Investment Managers.

So far, the company was into portfolio management services (PMS), where the minimum investment threshold for investors is Rs 50 lakh, and into alternative investment funds (AIFs) where the threshold is Rs 1 crore. Besides PMS, AIF, it is also into wealth advisory business.

“With mutual funds, we can target mass affluent and affluent investors,” Rohokale added.

He said the company plans to expand its operations into 20 more locations in the next 12 months.

“We would like to grow into markets such as Lucknow, Indore, Kerala and so on for our businesses,” he said.

In real estate, it will enter performing credit apart from structured equity and high yield credit deals.

In performing credit, an investor lends money for the working capital needs of borrower entities whereas in high yield, it involves in mid-mile or last-mile financing.

In structured equity, the company expects internal rate of return of 23% to 24%, in high yield credit it is expected to be 18% to 20%, and in performing credit the expected figure is between 14% and 15%.

In equities business , ASK plans to get into Dublin structures or Luxembourg structures for global investors from western countries.

“European and American investors are comfortable with Dublin structures. We are expanding in that,” he said, adding that ASK would extend its footprints in non-resident Indian or NRI markets.

Elaborating on how Blackstone deal will help ASK, he said, “Blackstone is a global asset manager whereas ASK is a Indian asset manager. They can introduce us to global investors, mentor us and help us attract money for India.”

ASK Investment Managers has Rs 40,000 crore of assets under management in asset management business and a similar portfolio in wealth advisory.

Expansion plans:

Through mutual funds, ASK plans to target mass affluent and affluent investors.

Enter performing credit in real estate lending.

Expand into state capitals, major cities.

Get into Dublin structures for global equity investors from West.

Tap NRI markets for its offerings.

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First published on: 03-03-2022 at 04:45:00 am