American Equity Investment Life Holding Co. announced Tuesday it will partner with BlackRock and Conning to manage its core fixed income assets. The move is expected to eliminate fewer than 20 investment positions in Iowa by year-end as some employees will be offered other positions. The transitions to these two companies as investment managers will be initiated in the fourth quarter. “We look forward to partnering with BlackRock and Conning for managing almost all of our core fixed income assets, as over time we migrate to a 30-40% allocation to private asset strategies,” Jim Hamalainen, chief investment officer for American Equity, said in a release. This development is part of AEL’s new business strategy launched last year, called AEL 2.0. With the eventual migration of its core fixed income management to BlackRock and Conning by early 2022, AEL’s internal investment management capabilities will focus on private assets, cash and derivative trading, unique asset allocation for insured client solutions, and asset liability management, with team offices located in Des Moines, New York City and Charlotte, N.C. The company has been in hiring mode this year, with 170 new positions added since January, reaching a head count of more than 760 employees.

Editor's note: This story inadvertently included a statement that American Equity plans additional investment adviser layoffs by the end of the year beyond the layoffs already announced. A company spokesman said that statement is not true. No additional layoffs are planned, according to American Equity officials.