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Money manager Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group Ltd. is expanding its reach into frontier equities with the launch of a new investment firm.

On Tuesday, Toronto-based CC&L announced a partnership with Vergent Asset Management LLP (Vergent), an investment manager founded by Ali Al Nasser and Nemer Bechara that will focus on frontier and new emerging markets.

The two founders have worked together for the last 9 years at Frontier Investment Partners (FIM), a UK-based alternative asset manager.

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The company will be based in the U.K. and the investment team will be led by Mr. Al Nasser, who has 15 years of investment and research experience across frontier markets and managing institutional capital in Vergent’s target markets.

Frontier markets include early stage growth countries not classified as major emerging markets due to the nascent state of their economies and capital markets.

Vergent is focused primarily on investment opportunities in Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and the Southern Asia regions. The firm seeks investments in listed companies that possess competitive advantages that allow them to capitalize on the tremendous growth opportunity available in their markets, and compound strong returns to their shareholders.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Ali and Nemer to provide investors with a differentiated, active investment strategy that focuses on a unique asset class that we believe offers growth and diversification benefits to institutional investors,” said CC&L Financial Group co-CEO Warren Stoddart, in a statement.

This is CC&L’s 11th affiliated-asset management business. Each affiliate has its own investment approach and area of expertise; and they collectively manage more than $76-billion in assets.

Vergent seeks investments in listed companies that have an unique set of competitive advantages that allow them to capitalize on the growth opportunity available in frontier and new emerging markets.

“Our markets are expected to contribute strongly to global growth and comprise an increasing portion of the world’s equity market capitalization as a result of favourable demographics; improved access to technology; reforms in the areas of education, healthcare, and finance; and increased political stability,” Mr. Al Nasser said. “We believe our team and process put our portfolio in a strong position to benefit from these themes as they evolve.”

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