Martin Gilbert-backed Assetco doubles stake in River and Mercantile

Comes as company announces plans to reinvent itself as an asset manager

Standard Life Aberdeen challenges Lloyds over axed £109bn contract

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Martin Gilbert-backed Assetco has doubled its stake in River and Mercantile as it unveils plans to reinvent itself as an asset and wealth management business.

An RNS filing from Monday shows Assetco bought 2.5 million shares at £2.28 per share in the asset management business. The £5.7m investment brings Assetco’s total share capital of River and Mercantile to 5.6%.

The board told investors that it “now intends to change its business strategy to the development of an asset and wealth management business” and as a result would re-list its shares on the Aim index within three months.

In January Aberdeen Asset Management founder Martin Gilbert led a consortium of investors to acquire a 29.8% stake in Assetco, which formerly specialised in leasing fire engines, in a bid to use the company for dealmaking in the financial services sector.

Gilbert said at the time: “We believe that Assetco can be a platform to make strategic investments across the sector and to bring active management to such opportunities.”

Assetco revealed it had initiated a 2.9% stake in River and Mercantile the same week Gilbert was revealed as the fund group’s new vice chairman.  The firm said at the time of the purchase that shareholders should be prepared for further similar corporate activity.

Gilbert also gave his financial backing to Alquity as the responsible investment specialist targeted $3bn in assets under management and 10x growth in revenues within the next five years. The firm is headed by Gilbert’s former colleague at Aberdeen Asset Management, Brad Crombie who joined Alquity as chief executive officer in 2019.

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