Italian insurer Generali has entered into exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in France’s Sycomore Asset Management.

Sycomore focuses on sustainable investments and managed over €8.3bn in assets at the end of July 2018.

Under the proposal, the French asset manager would become part of the Generali multi-boutique platform coordinated by Generali Investments Partners.

Sycomore founders will continue to be significant shareholders, while its staff will raise their ownership in the business as part of the proposed agreement.

Sycomore would also retain its operational independence if the deal materialises, the companies said.

Generali group CIO and CEO of asset and wealth management said: “Today’s announcement is an acceleration of the execution of our asset management strategy: by partnering with Sycomore, we will be able to enrich our offer with innovative investment solutions targeted to our insurance and individual clients, and to strengthen our focus and capabilities on sustainability and responsible investments.”

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Any future agreement would be subject to regulatory nod and approval from Sycomore workers’ council.

Sycomore founding partner and CEO Emeric Préaubert said: “Demand for Socially Responsible Investment solutions is rising as investor awareness and appetite increase.

“Generali’s multi-boutique platform will enable us to capitalise on the significant opportunities that this offers, while also allowing us to retain the unique cultural attributes which have supported our success to date.”