Principal Global Investors, a New York-based global asset management firm, is reportedly exploring options to purchase boutique asset management firms as part of plans to boost its assets portfolio.

PGI chief executive Jim McCaughan told Reuters that the asset management arm of Iowa-based financial services company Principal Financial Group expects to complete an acquisition, possibly in real estate by the end of 2014.

However, the US$311 billion fund manager did not divulge the name of the firm it is planning to acquire.

"It’s hard to say, but I would be a little disappointed if we don’t close at least one during the remainder of this year," McCaughan told the publication.

McCaughan added that PGI does not want mere an acquisition, instead it wants a right deal and its prime target is a boutique fund management company that invest in Europe and Asia as it already maintain strong presence in the US.

Underlining his expansion strategy into emerging markets despite the recent economic slowdown, McCaughan said that they may have appeared to look less attractive based on their performance over the past year, they continue to provide a strong long-term investment theme as middle-class populations grow.

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"We are actively looking not only at emerging, but at so-called ‘frontier’ markets, the smaller and newer markets. So that would be a second broader area and that would be fixed income or equities," the news agency further quoted McCaughan as saying.