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Alternative Market Briefing

Legg Mason buys majority stake in Financial Guard

Monday, July 11, 2016

Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque London:

Legg Mason, a global asset management firm with $718bn in assets, has agreed to acquire an 82% majority equity interest in Financial Guard, an online investment advisor that works through an interactive website.

Financial Guard will operate as part of Legg Mason's alternative distribution strategies business, which focuses on combining technology with investment affiliates' capabilities.

  The investment is part of Legg Mason's overall long-term strategy to create more choice for investors. It also expands Financial Guard's access to financial institutions. 

By making the technology available to advisors and their clients, Financial Guard and Legg Mason intend to help financial institutions grow their advisory business and be well positioned to conform to the new US Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary standard, set to be implemented in April 2017, according to the announcement. Legg Mason found that there is approximately $845bn in small IRA accounts of less than $25,000 at US wirehouses, independent broker dealers and regional brokerage firms that may be impacted by the new DOL rules.

It is now also important for financial firms to be able to offer technology solutions, the company says.

Legg Mason plans to complement the Fina......................

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