DUBLIN and HARTFORD, Conn., Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kleinwort Benson Investors ( Dublin) ("KBID"), which provides specialized equity strategies primarily to institutional investors, and Virtus Investment Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTS) ("Virtus"), which operates a U.S.-based multi-manager asset management business, today announced an agreement to enter into a partnership to develop business interests in the US retail marketplace. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121031/NE03346LOGO ) The strong commitment of both parties to this agreement is demonstrated by Virtus acquiring a 24 percent interest in Kleinwort Benson Investors International, Ltd. (KBII), a 100%-owned subsidiary of KBID. KBII is a U.S. registered investment adviser that subadvises the Virtus Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund, an open-end mutual fund that Virtus launched in September 1. Sean Hawkshaw, chief executive officer of Kleinwort Benson Investors, said that Virtus' multi-boutique model and its powerful distribution position in the U.S. retail market were important considerations in establishing the alliance. "Providing specialist equity strategies to institutional investors has been the core of our U.S. business until now and our commitment on this front will continue. When we considered further growth opportunities for KBII, we looked to partner with a company that has a proven track record in retail distribution, which Virtus has clearly demonstrated." George R. Aylward, president and chief executive officer of Virtus, said the agreement was consistent with the Virtus strategy of bringing distinctive product from boutique investment managers to the retail marketplace. "Kleinwort Benson Investors is a distinguished firm with a global client base. Its institutional-quality investment processes specializing in income-oriented equities and resource strategies are very attractive. This agreement expands on the relationship when we first partnered with KBII to offer our new Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund, and provides for a strong alignment of interests in pursuing multiple growth opportunities," Aylward said.