In a deal that will more than double its assets under management, Scout Investment Advisors, a Kansas City, Mo., unit of UMB Financial, announced Thursday it signed a definitive agreement to buy Reams Asset Management of Columbus, Ind.

Reams, which has more than $9.8 billion in fixed-income assets, works with institutional clients, including Fortune 500 companies, large public pension funds, Taft-Hartley plans, healthcare organizations and universities, foundations and endowments.

Peter deSilva, UMB’s president and chief operating officer, said the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, gives Scout additional scale, but it also adds fixed income products that Scout was lacking for its institutional clients.

“Fixed income represents a key strategic growth area in the institutional asset management business,” he said. “The addition of Reams Asset Management and their expertise in the fixed-income sector complements Scout’s existing product offerings and allows us to offer clients a diversified array of top-tier investment options.”

The acquisition of Reams is a part of Scout’s product expansion strategy, deSilva said. Of its $9 billion in assets as of Aug. 31, $8 billion is in equity products.

“Scout has done a good job in the past five years building the equity side of its business, but we thought we needed to develop a larger position on the fixed side,” he said. “We thought about whether to build something or buy an established fixed provider and we were fortunate to find Reams.”

Analysts said that UMB’s wealth management strategy is unique, since many banks have divested their asset management businesses over the past five years to focus on their core businesses.

But deSilva said asset management remains a core business for UMB.  He said the company doesn’t see itself as a bank, but as a “multi-faceted financial services company.”

“I don’t worry about what other banks do,” deSilva said. “We want to cut our own path.”

He said Scout has been a “big growth engine for UMB.” Though nothing is on the horizon, He said UMB plans to look for acquisitions to expand Scout.

“Fixed income was a glaring and obvious hole,” deSilva said. “We want to have a significant breadth of products for our customers and we will continue to look for ways to round out our offerings. We continue to look for other asset classes to build our business for the future.”

Scout and UMB have had busy summer. In June, UMB signed a definitive agreement to buy Prairie Capital Management, an independent asset management and wealth management firm in based in Kansas City. Earlier this month, the company announced it hired Andrew Iseman as its chief executive officer. Iseman, who was the chief operating officer at RK Capital Management in Denver, had previously been the chief operating officer for Janus Capital Group. When the hiring was announced, deSilva said that Scout would rely on Iseman to "help us accelerate the growth of Scout over the coming years.”

On Thursday, deSilva said UMB to continue to examine the marketplace for opportunities. “We want to make sure we can fulfill as many of our clients needs as possible. We are not trying to be all things to all people, but being a strong fixed income manager and a strong equity manager with an international emphasis will give us a lot to build on and focus on.”

Scout is a national investment management firm that offers investment management services for both managed accounts and mutual funds. Scout Investment Advisors investment capabilities include domestic large cap, mid cap, small cap and fixed income. Scout Investment Advisors also offers international, international small/mid-cap and global equity portfolios.

Iseman, who took the reigns at Scout on Aug. 30, said in a press release that “Scout recognized Reams’ high quality fixed-income products, the expertise the company brings to institutional asset management, and the overall quality of the company’s professional team. Both companies share excellent reputations, as well as similar cultures and management styles, making this an attractive business combination that will benefit all of our clients.”

When the deal closes, Reams will operate as a division of Scout Investment Advisors and remain based in Columbus. The firm’s leadership team will continue to manage the business in their current roles and run Scout’s fixed-income strategy.


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