Swiss wealth manager acquires Noble Investments

The Hong Kong-based structurer gives Rainer-Marc FreyÆs new wealth management firm access to Asia-based clients.
Horizon21 Alternative Investments, an investment management firm based in Pfaeffikon SZ, Switzerland, has acquired Noble Investments, a Hong Kong-based provider of structured products and services, from parent Noble Group.

It is the biggest acquisition of a Hong Kong-based alternatives provider since April, when Japan's Sparx Asset Management acquired PMA, a hedge fund, for $226 million in cash and Sparx shares. Terms of the Noble deal were undisclosed.

Noble Investments was established in 2001 by Patrick Arreger, who is based in Zurich. He will continue in his role as managing director for Noble Investments, and Stewart Aldcroft, the managing director in Hong Kong, will continue to report to him.

Arreger began his career as a commodities trader for Noble Group, a Hong Kong-based commodities trading firm. He then served as a member of the European investment team at Man Investments, before founding Noble Investments with Noble GroupÆs backing.

Noble Investments serves as a bridge between investors and alternative-investment specialists. It works with both a coterie of banks, including Barclays and Rabobank, as well as with specialised investment firms, such as Diapison Commodities Fund and Winton Capital Management, a managed futures boutique.

Aldcroft says Noble Group decided to focus on its core competency as a commodities business and sell its investment arm.

Horizon21 was founded in 2004 by Rainer-Marc Frey, who had previously established his own business, RMF, which he then sold to Man Investments in 2002. After leading RMF under Man for two years, he and some team-mates left to establish Horizon21, with SwissRe as a shareholder.

The initial purpose of Horizon21 was to manage the partnersÆ own wealth, and then to do so on behalf of other rich individuals. Horizon21 now manages $6.5 billion of assets across three business units: Horizon21 Alternative Investments (the part that has acquired Noble Investments), Horizon21 Private Equity, and Horizon21 Active Alpha, for high-octane single strategies.

Horizon21 hopes to receive approval for the acquisition by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission by the end of January. The deal will allow it to expand its sales team and incorporate experienced sales managers and product structurers with a track record. It also can tap the markets in Asia.
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