Italy-based Pioneer Investments has signed an asset management joint venture agreement with Bank of Baroda in India, in a major strategic move to extend its presence in the country's mutual fund market.

The joint venture agreement between Pioneer Investments and Bank of Baroda, already shared with the Indian government/finance ministry, is the first of its kind in India and implies that Pioneer Investments acquires a 51% stake in the existing Bank of Baroda local asset management company, which will be consequently renamed Baroda Pioneer Asset Management Company.

The closing of the deal and, consequently, the completion of the joint venture are subject to the approval of regulatory authorities, including Bank of Italy and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Dario Frigerio, CEO of Pioneer Investments, explained the group strategy in India and anticipated the plan for the company’s entry into Russia, saying: We are one of the fastest growing asset management companies over the last 10 years and already a leading global player. Our commitment is to foster growth. A significant presence in countries such as India and Russia is thus essential. This is a further step in this direction and once again we have demonstrated that we can be innovative in creating our business opportunities.

Commenting on the business development plans for Russia, Mr Frigerio said: In many respects it is similar to India as we intend to leverage the brand awareness and distribution reach of a Russian bank, but here we will work with the UniCredit Group trough IMB. The asset management will thus be 100% Pioneer Investments and we will work with our colleagues in IMB to offer products through the banking channel. We are well on track and we plan to launch the business in December by selling our first funds.