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BNP Paribas Investment Partners acquires IMS in the UK, and strengthens its European leadership in multi-management

BNP Paribas Investment Partners (“BNPP IP”), a leading European asset manager, and major London-based multi-manager IMS Group (“IMS”), announce today that BNPP IP* has acquired IMS. This move will reinforce BNPP IP's expertise in the fast-growing multi-manager sector and expand its activities in the UK, the second largest market in the world for such products and services. IMS Group will join the FundQuest brand, BNP Paribas' multi-management flagship.

IMS has €6.5billion** (£5.1billion) assets under management and advisory. Since its establishment in 1999 by Richard Timberlake and Peter O'Connor, IMS has gained strong market positions in both manager of managers and fund of funds mandates. With the acquisition of IMS, FundQuest's assets under management will total €47billion (£37billion). FundQuest manages and provides investment advice on portfolios as well as assistance and open architecture services. The combined businesses of FundQuest and IMS will comprise over 210 employees, including 48 investment professionals operating on a global basis through three investment centres (Boston, London and Paris).

Richard Timberlake and Peter O'Connor will continue to be actively involved in the investment management of IMS and stay as Directors. Antony John will remain CEO of IMS and report to Michel Anastassiades, Global Head of FundQuest. CIO Giles Gilbertson and his team of investment professionals will continue to manage client portfolios in accordance with their proven philosophy and process.

Gilles Glicenstein, Head of BNP Paribas Investment Partners, comments: “This acquisition is a new step in our multi-specialists strategy, as it reinforces our ability to deliver comprehensive and innovative solutions to existing and new clients anywhere in the world. The UK market remains a priority for the development of BNPP IP, and with this alliance FundQuest gains momentum as a global multi-manager and open architecture services provider, a market that is expected to grow by nearly 20% a year.

We are all looking forward to working with people who share the same values, research philosophy and vision”, said Richard Timberlake, Chairman of Investment Manager Selection. “What particularly impressed us was the commitment shown by BNP Paribas and FundQuest to our continuing corporate development and culture. This will allow us significantly to expand our client service. In addition, the alliance of FundQuest and IMS creates a significant global player in multi-management and open architecture services.”

We have already established an excellent working relationship with IMS”, said Michel Anastassiades, Global Head of FundQuest. “We share the same key principles of selecting external managers on investment merit and constructing portfolios that ensure performance consistency over the long-term.The combination of our two companies' skills and experience will add significant value to our clients in Europe and internationally, and shape an unrivalled global multi-management specialist.

* acting through the holding company BNP PAM Group
** as at 31 December 2007, using an exchange rate of £1= €1.28

About BNP Paribas Investment Partners
BNP Paribas Investment Partners brings together the full palette of asset management expertise of the BNP Paribas group. Through a unique platform that offers immediate and simplified access to a broad range of specialist Partner companies BNP Paribas Investment Partners has become a leader among the multi-specialist asset managers. At 31 December 2007, assets under management were EUR 344 billion*. With 2,250 professionals servicing clients in nearly 70 countries, the network of BNPP Investment Partners provides clients with the most advanced and dedicated expertise in asset management today, blending excellence in client service with innovative solutions that can highlight or combine specialities.
* assets under advice included

About IMS Group
IMS, established in 1999, is a privately owned multi-manager investment specialist, with approximately £5.1 billion of assets under management and advice as at 31.12.07, and 45 employees. Clients include institutional asset managers, family offices, corporate pensions and insurance companies. IMS also manages four retail funds of funds – IMS Select Fund, IMS Global Select Fund IMS Select Income Fund and the IMS Select Opportunities Fund. IMS' success has been founded on its well-tested and proven investment process, its consistent track record of over-performance, its institutional level of client service and the experience of its investment team. IMS' twelve investment professionals have a combined experience of 274 years and experience of manager selection is over 152 years.

For further information please contact:
BNP Paribas Investment Partners
Sandrine Romano - +33(0) 1 58 97 74 49

BNP Paribas
Céline Castex - +33 (0)1 42 98 15 91

IMS Group
Antony John, Chief Executive - +44 (0)20 7489 5353

Fiona Harris/Hugo Mortimer-Harvey (Public Relations) - +44 (0)20 7758 2230