November 9, 2018 / 10:38 PM / in 12 days

Canadian investment firm Mawer explores potential C$2 billion sale: sources

(Reuters) - Canadian asset manager Mawer Investment Management is working with an investment bank to explore a potential sale in a deal that could be worth as much as C$2 billion ($1.51 billion), people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Employee-owned Mawer manages more than C$50 billion of assets for both individual and institutional clients through 13 mutual funds that cover equities, fixed income, or a combination of the two, according to its website.

The asset management sector has seen plenty of consolidation in recent years, as firms seek increased scale to combat the pressures from the switch to lower-fee passive funds - which track indices, as opposed to active managers which chooses where to put cash - and higher compliance and technology costs.

Mawer, founded in 1974 and which has the motto “Be Boring, Make Money,” is working with Scotiabank (BNS.TO) on the potential sale of the firm, according to four sources aware of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information has not been made public.

Mawer did not respond to a request for comment on Friday afternoon. Scotiabank declined to comment.

Should Mawer, which has offices in Calgary, Toronto and Singapore, be sold, it would be the latest deal in the North American asset management space.

Earlier this week, Victory Capital Holdings (VCTR.O) bought USAA Asset Management Company for upwards of $850 million.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co (MassMutual) agreed last month to combine its OppenheimerFunds business with Invesco Ltd (IVZ.N) in exchange for a 15.5 percent stake in the Atlanta-based firm.

Deal activity in the Canadian market has also heated up. Earlier this year, Bank of Nova Scotia acquired investment firm Jarislowsky Fraser for C$950 million and MD Financial Management, a financial services company for Canadian doctors, for about C$2.59 billion.

In July, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) agreed to buy Greystone Capital Management Inc for C$792 million.

Reporting by David French in New York and John Tilak in Toronto; Additional Reporting by Matt Scuffham in Toronto; Editing by Tom Brown

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