Pioneer Global Asset Management, a subsidiary of UniCredito Italiano, has announced the completion of its acquisition of Momentum Group for $110 million. The acquisition of Momentum is part of Pioneer Investments' expansion plans to become a leader in the fast growing alternative investments arena. Pioneer Alternative Investments' focus to date has been on single manager/strategy funds and Italian-domiciled funds of hedge funds.

Momentum brings expertise in the funds of hedge funds market, which is expected to be one of the key areas of growth in the coming years. Momentum also brings a complementary distribution network, which will allow Pioneer Investments access to a wider market worldwide.

In Asia, regulators are making entry to alternative investments much easier by opening up hedge funds to retail investors through broader legislation and by allowing lower initial entry levels. Pioneer Investments plans to be among the first to exploit these opportunities. The company is hoping to register two, or possibly three, funds in both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Commenting on the first alternative product Pioneer wants to register in Asia, Edmund Lacis, senior vice president and Asia region head of international sales and distribution, says, "We would be looking to register one low-volatility product, modelled after an existing product of ours, although it would of course need to comply with local registration requirements. That would be a nice entry point for consumers, a product with a good return but below market volatility."

On the private client front in Asia, Lacis hopes to get Pioneer and Momentum's name in front of the clients of private banks, along with those of rivals GAM, Permal and Man.