DST acquires State Street’s risk management unit Askari

The sale by State Street appears to be part of an ongoing effort by the US financial services firm to divest business units that it believes are non-core. Askari, which will be renamed ‘HiRisk’ when it is fully integrated with DST International, was founded by Peter Davies, who quit the company to become vice-chairman of risk analytics provider RiskMetrics last year.DST Systems has had a relationship with State Street for about 30 years and the pair has initiated a multitude of joint projects together. State Street said it would maintain its commitment to use Askari.

Eric Reichenberg, president of the former State Street unit who will oversee the Askari side of the integration with DST, told RiskNews the deal should provide a number of new opportunities for the company. These include access to DST’s infrastructure and its 500 clients around the world.

Some market participants view Askari’s business fortunes as languishing. They cite the departure of Davies and Askari’s failure to sign up a major potential partner, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, last year as two areas of concern. But Askari currently has about 18 clients, and, importantly, has signed up Swedish pension fund AP2, Lazard Freres in New York and regional US brokerage Ryan Beck, in the past few months.

DST International offers a suite of front-to-back office services to fund managers, including accounting, order management and compliance, but lacked a risk management component. The Askari purchase should fill in this gap.

Askari employs about 40 staff. Two are expected to leave following the sale. Staff at Askari's offices in Boston, London and Singapore will relocate to DST's offices and risk software staff may also be posted to DST offices in New York and Paris.

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