As investment management firms increasingly look to separate the money management and distribution sides of their business, divestiture-driven mergers and acquisitions among such companies could hit a record high this year, Putnam Lovell NBF predicts.

"The proposed BlackRock/Merrill deal and last year's groundbreaking Legg Mason/Citigroup transaction are a wakeup call for the global asset management business," said Benjamin F. Phillips, a managing director at Putnam Lovell. "We anticipate that the number of vertically integrated fund management systems worldwide may now break apart in the near future."

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