Aston is a relatively new name for a firm with a 20-year history of bringing experienced investment managers to the mutual fund marketplace. The firm collaborates with independent money managers that aim to achieve consistent performance using disciplined investment processes and best-in-class business standards. Aston seeks to build lasting relationships with these managers through an equitable economic partnership and the co-branding of its funds. The firm primarily distributes its funds through investment consultants, fund investment platforms, registered investment advisors, broker/dealers, and retirement plans, but its offerings are also widely available to individual investors.
Aston Funds came into being in November 2006, when a group of investors in association with the long-standing executive team of CEO Stuart Bilton and President Ken Anderson purchased the mutual fund business from Dutch bank ABN AMRO, which had acquired the asset manager from holding company Alleghany Corporation only six years before. Together, Bilton and Anderson have more than 50 years of investment management and mutual fund industry experience and at the time saw an opportunity to expand upon their original idea of pairing experienced boutique institutional asset managers with the firm's expertise in mutual funds.
In 2007, its first full year under the Aston name, the firm made up for time lost under the previous regime by introducing a number of funds. Relationships were established with new subadvisors and funds launched from established partners Montag & Caldwell and River Road in an effort to enhance and broaden the Aston lineup. In 2008, Aston also added Alternative strategies to address investor demand for offerings less correlated with the returns of traditional stock and bond strategies.
Growth continued in 2009 and 2010 with new subadvisory relationships with experienced managers at Lake Partners, Herndon Capital Management, as well as with a new small-cap value fund from River Road run by veteran fund manager Eric Cinnamond. In April 2010, Affiliated Managers Group (AMG) acquired the outside interest in Aston, providing additional long-term stability to the organization.
Having shown the promise of its lineup of experienced managers and established a name in the marketplace, by 2011 Aston had become one of the fastest-growing mutual fund companies in the country. The launch of a new fixed-income fund with DoubleLine Capital, founded by star bond manager Jeffrey Gundlach, in July further solidified Aston as a rising force in mutual funds, one built upon a history of identifying quality asset managers for investors.
That history is one with deep roots that trace back to the Chicago Trust Funds founded in 1993 under Bilton, with Anderson as its first employee. What began as three in-house funds—growth, core plus fixed-income, and municipal bond—quickly evolved into what has become the current Aston model with a subadvisory partnership in 1994 with growth stock specialist Montag & Caldwell. Through various controlling entities, Bilton and Anderson have served as the core leaders of an organization that continues to build relationships and enter into agreements with noted boutique investment managers to this day.
With a rigorous due diligence process provided by long-time industry veterans, Aston offers investors time-tested asset managers in a mutual fund format.