Specialist investment manager Counterpoint Asset Management has agreed to snap up Bridge Fund Managers from Infinitus, leading to the creation of a ZAR12bn ($700.2m) business.

The merged entity will be a multi-strategy investment manager with retail and institutional offerings.

The deal awaits regulatory nod and is anticipated to be effective next month.

Counterpoint acquired Bridge after identifying the latter as an “attractive longterm asset” with its Payers and Growers investment strategy along with emphasis on retirement income.

Counterpoint intends to retain these strategies as well as grow them.

The core Bridge team will be retained, with the merged group operating from offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

Counterpoint CEO Linda Eedes and Bridge CEO Paul Stewart will together lead the combined group, working as joint CEOs.

Counterpoint CIO Sam Houlie will be in charge of the merged investment teams.

Existing Bridge investment team head Ian Anderson will lead the real estate research team and continue to manage the Bridge Payers and Growers and listed property funds.

The merger is said to make “commercial sense” considering South Africa’s fragmented asset management sector.

Eedes stated: “This transaction provides both scale and synergies to the combined entity, as we continue to build a robust investment manager offering compelling investment propositions across the full asset class spectrum.”

Stewart said: “The aim of this transaction is to provide a growth platform for the intellectual property and innovation that Bridge has created over the last eight years, to be combined with the experienced and skilled investment team at Counterpoint.”

With Johannesburg-based financial service group Merchant West as the major shareholder, Counterpoint operates in the retail, institutional and private client markets.

Counterpoint currently manages ZAR6.2bn in assets.