H.I.G. Capital News


Matthias Allgaier

H.I.G. European Capital Partners LLP
25 St. George Street
0207 495 8975

H.I.G. Europe Backs FNZ, A World Leading Financial Services Company that Administers £5 Billion in Retail Assets on Behalf of Major Financial Institutions

LONDON - January 23, 2009 - H.I.G. Europe ("H.I.G."), the European affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a leading global private equity firm, today announced that it has acquired FNZ Holdings Ltd ("FNZ") from existing shareholders in partnership with FNZ’s management team. Financial terms were not disclosed.

FNZ, through its market-leading software, provides trade execution and custody services that power wealth management platforms, fund supermarkets, wrap accounts and pensions in the UK and New Zealand. FNZ’s customers include financial institutions such as Standard Life and AXA in the UK and ING, Bank of New Zealand, AMP and First NZ Capital in New Zealand. FNZ recently secured its third major UK customer, JPMorgan Asset Management UK, and is currently implementing a service for its direct OEIC, investment trust and pensions clients.

Key to the FNZ platform is straight through processing from "front-office" web-based portfolio management to "back-office" trading, settlement and custody. “Using our platform, a financial adviser or a retail investor can see their entire portfolio of assets. Across their pensions, ISAs and other savings accounts, they can analyze asset allocation and portfolio performance. They can switch investments across their whole portfolio at the touch of a button from anywhere with an internet connection," said Adrian Durham, Chief Executive of FNZ. "We seamlessly and electronically connect advisers and investors with product providers, asset managers and stock exchanges, using true straight through processing."

Only £60 billion of UK consumer assets are currently administered on software based platforms, whereas total UK consumer assets are forecast to reach £3 trillion by 2010, indicating considerable potential for growth. Significant opportunities exist with pension accounts which are only just starting to make their way onto platforms.

FNZ was formed within New Zealand investment bank First NZ Capital in 2003. It employs approximately 220 staff in offices in Edinburgh, Bristol, London and Wellington (New Zealand).

"FNZ has an excellent record of delivery. It has grown from a standing start in New Zealand in 2003 to its position today as a major provider of Software as a Service (SaaS)", commented Matthias Allgaier, Managing Director at H.I.G. "We believe that FNZ has the best technology in its class and we are excited to provide the capital to further accelerate FNZ’s growth both in the UK and internationally. We view this as a long term investment and it is an excellent example of H.I.G. using its global experience to back a complex, niche, international businesses with outstanding prospects."

Adrian Durham, Chief Executive of FNZ, commented, "H.I.G. is an ideal partner for FNZ. H.I.G. has a strong understanding of the complex retail financial services industry as well as the technology that underpins it. FNZ is pursuing significant opportunities in a number of international markets and H.I.G.’s commitment brings the support, contacts and access to capital required to take full advantage of that growth potential."

Standard Life Savings Limited Chief Executive, Geoff Towers, said, "Standard Life’s Adviser Wrap and FundZone propositions are key components of our UK asset managing strategy. We have made good progress in the market since our launch and we look forward to continuing to work with FNZ to develop award winning technology platforms. FNZ is an important relationship for us and we wish Adrian and his team success in developing their business"

Paul McMahon, Managing Director, AXA Distribution Services, said, "FNZ UK has played an important role supporting the development of AXA Elevate and I am confident that the MBO team which has now taken ownership will continue to provide the excellent quality service we have experienced throughout our business relationship."

H.I.G. Capital is a leading global private equity investment firm with more than $7.5 billion of equity capital under management. Based in Miami, and with offices in Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco in the U.S., as well as affiliate offices in London, Hamburg and Paris in Europe, H.I.G. specializes in providing capital to small and medium-sized companies with attractive growth potential. H.I.G. invests in management-led buyouts and recapitalizations of profitable and well managed manufacturing or service businesses. H.I.G. also has extensive experience with financial restructurings and operational turnarounds. Since its founding, H.I.G. invested in and managed more than 200 companies worldwide. The firm's current portfolio includes companies with combined revenues in excess of $7 billion. For more information, please refer to the H.I.G. website at www.higcapital.com