Bank of Montreal (BMO) is reportedly considering options for its $270bn asset management unit, including a partial sale.

The move could result in the bank looking for a buyer for acquisition of certain parts of the business outside its home market, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the issue.

The bank is currently working alongside an adviser to explore the strategic options.

According to the report, the review is at a preliminary stage and the certainty of a transaction is still uncertain.

The news was not confirmed by the bank.

The move is part of the bank’s plan to scale back the business’s international presence.

BMO Global Asset Management serves customers through more than 20 offices and a workforce of around 1,200.

As at 31 December 2019, the business managed over $273bn in assets.

The main holding company for its Europe, the Middle East and Africa businesses oversaw $115.2bn as of 31 October 2019.

In Q3 2020, BMO Financial wealth management unit posted a rise in income despite the Covid-19 crisis even as higher credit loss provisions hit the group performance.

The wealth management division’s reported net income in Q3 2020 surged 37% year-on-year to C$341m ($258.7m) while total revenue increased 18% to C$2.48bn.

The fund management space is under stiff fee competition lately.

Recently, a report said that US banking group Wells Fargo is looking to sell its asset management business, which managed $578bn as of the end of June this year.

The bank is reportedly in talks with asset management companies and private equity firms for a potential deal though nothing has been finalised.

French banking group Societe Generale is also seeking to offload its asset management unit Lyxor, valuing the business at nearly $1bn. The move is aimed at improving the profitability of the French bank.