Natixis has taken a 5% stake in Oddo BHF as the two groups seek to develop a market-leading player in continental European equities.

The deal will see the French company and the Franco-German group combine efforts on equity research and sales operations covering client and investor interests.

It is designed to strengthen Natixis’ corporate and investment banking business, while Oddo BHF’s distribution capabilities are also set to be bolstered under the arrangement.

Between them, the two companies cater for 515 institutional investors, who will now be served by a single execution and distribution platform.

A new equity research team created by Oddo BHF will cover 600 stocks, including 220 in France and 130 in Germany, while Natixis will aid its growth through sectors and stocks defined as priorities under its own strategic growth plans.

The companies said the deal has been done with an eye on remaining consistent with regulatory changes under MiFID II, which comes into effect in January.

The project is subject to consultation with the employee representative bodies of the two companies.