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Italian manager buys into Eskatos venture

Italian-listed asset manager Azimut has bought a half-stake in insurance-linked securities (ILS) manager Katarsis Capital Advisors and its subsidiary Eskatos Capital Management for EUR7.5mn.

Azimut paid for its stake with a combination of cash and shares with the price equating to a 10x multiple of Katarsis earnings.

Swiss-based Katarsis acts as adviser to the Luxembourg-domiciled Eskatos, which manages about EUR90mn through two insurance-linked funds - one P&C fund and a separate multi-strategy fund that incorporates life insurance-linked investments.

Katarsis management will remain on board the firm under its new ownership structure.

Eskatos chairman Alberto Minali said the firm's partnership with Azimut created the possibility of future new inflows into its funds.

"This... can allow us to increase the investment targets as well as to attract new investors, including institutional clients," he said in a statement.

The ILS sector has benefited from surging investor interest in the (re)insurance markets after a string of catastrophes this year.

As previously reported by Trading Risk, New York-based AQR Capital Management is setting up a reinsurance investment team led by ex-Magnetar executive Andrew Sterge with a fundraising goal of $250mn.

Meanwhile, European ILS funds have attracted more than $300mn of new capital. US-based Nephila also secured a $250mn mandate from a Pennsylvania pension fund this year.

Another leading US-based manager, Fermat Capital Management, also set up a new distribution partnership this year, while Swiss-listed investment manager GAM is marketing a new cat bond fund managed by Fermat.

The FCM Cat Bond fund launched on 7 March with $140mn of GAM client assets previously invested with Fermat via GAM-managed portfolios.

The stand-alone fund, exclusively marketed by GAM, means the Swiss manager can target a wider client base, allowing for direct investments above a $25,000 threshold.

The minimum subscription will make the FCM fund more suitable to wholesale-type intermediary clients, such as fund of funds investors, rather than retail clients, the firm said.

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