NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. regional bank SunTrust Banks Inc (STI.N) is trying to sell RidgeWorth Investments, its multi-boutique asset management business, amid losses due to the financial crisis, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
SunTrust is being advised by investment bank Sandler O’Neill on a potential sale of RidgeWorth, which owns interests in eight investment boutiques, these people said, requesting anonymity because the process is private.
SunTrust and Sandler O’Neill declined to comment.
RidgeWorth and the boutiques had about $61.5 billion in assets as of Sept 30, 2009.
One of the boutiques, Seix Investment Advisors, a high yield business founded by Chairman Emeritus Christina Seix, was especially attractive, said two investment bankers who are not involved in the process and declined to be identified.
Seix, founded in 1992, had about $23.1 billion in assets under management as of August 31, 2009.
“That is a crown jewel,” said one of the investment bankers. “A lot of equity managers are trying to pick up some fixed income capability and there aren’t that many independent firms of size out there.”
“They have built a nice practice for a bank. It is highly regarded,” the banker said, of the overall business.
Atlanta-based SunTrust reported a third-quarter net loss of $377.1 million, hurt by losses from home construction and mortgage-related lending.
SunTrust shares were up 13 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $20.42 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Richard Chang, Bernard Orr