RedBird backing Raymond James exec for asset, wealth manager venture -sources

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By David French

NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) – RedBird Capital Partners is partnering with an outgoing executive from Raymond James Financial Group to establish a new asset and wealth management platform, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Raymond James announced earlier on Wednesday that Haig Ariyan would depart effective July 15, saying its head of global wealth solutions was pursuing an opportunity outside the firm.

Redbird will be behind this venture, the sources said. While the project is still under development and details are yet to be finalized, RedBird will fund the asset and wealth management platform, which Ariyan will build.

RedBird and Raymond James declined comment.

Mostly known for its investments in the sports industry, RedBird is a backer of Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise and English soccer club Liverpool. Earlier this month, RedBird announced it was acquiring Italian soccer giants AC Milan for 1.2 billion euros ($1.27 billion).

RedBird has a growing presence in financial services, though. In the last two years, it has invested in insurance-linked investment managers Aquarian Holdings and Vida Capital, as well as advisory firm Grafine Partners.

Ariyan was head of wealth management in the Americas at Deutsche Bank when the German lender sold its U.S. private clients unit to Raymond James in 2016. Since then, the business has operated under the Alex. Brown brand, with Ariyan as its president and chief executive, as well as head of global wealth solutions for Raymond James. ($1 = 0.9451 euro) (Reporting by David French in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis)