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BNP Paribas buys Allfunds stake as fund managers cut costs

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Simon Jessop
A BNP Paribas logo is seen outside a bank office in Nantes

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Simon Jessop

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - French bank BNP Paribas <BNPP.PA> will buy a 22.5% stake in wealth management platform Allfunds, the latest sign of asset managers looking to trim operational costs in the face of rising regulatory expenses and pressure on fees from investors.

This includes the way in which funds are sold to retail investors and under the deal BNP Paribas will entrust Allfunds with the management of distribution contracts of third-party investment funds for several BNP Paribas Group entities.

Similar to rival platforms such as Britain's Hargreaves Lansdown <HRGV.>, Allfunds can offer economies of scale and help fund management companies in managing increasingly tough data rules for those hoping to sell funds across borders.

BNP Paribas Securities Services will also transfer its Banca Corrispondente local paying agency activities in Italy, as well as some Italian transfer agency services, over to Spanish-headquartered Allfunds under the deal, for which financial terms were not disclosed.

"This partnership will enable us to significantly enhance our offering, giving our clients access to a successful and fast-growing fund distribution platform," BNP Paribas Securities Services CEO Patrick Colle said. The BNP deal is the latest by Allfunds, which in June agreed to buy Credit Suisse's <CSGN.S> business-to-business investment fund platform InvestLab for an undisclosed sum.[nL8N23W0IX] Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and private equity investor Hellman & Friedman bought Allfunds in 2017.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Simon Jessop; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Alexander Smith)