Acatis: Italian push with German flavour
Acatis Gané Value Event Fonds was made available for retail investors in Italy in May 2018 on the verge of its tenth anniversary.
Acatis Gané Value Event Fonds was born in Germany in December of 2008 as a result of the union of Gané AG with Acatis Investments KVG mbH, which is a German asset manager based on value investment philosophy since 1994, whose founder and fund manager for some of the strategies is Hendrik Leber.
Gané AG was founded by Uwe Rathausky and Henrik Muhle in 2007. The two managing directors of Gané AG had previously worked together at DJE Kapital. Then, they separated and joined different ventures. Muhle moved to Acatis, a move that would later give rise to the partnership of Gané with Acatis in 2008, resulting in the launch of Acatis Gané Value Event Fonds.
A MERGER OF STYLES
The Gané Value Event Fonds, a mixed strategy advised by Gané and managed by Acatis, merges the two investment styles of value and event-driven investing. It aims at reducing the fundamental risks in the selection of the fund’s positions by focusing on companies with strong business quality which, according to Gané AG refers to those companies standing out for their sustainability, their ability to defend an existing competitive advantage, and their capacity to generate high free cash flows.
The fund invests in shares and bonds that are comparable with each other through a payment-flow-oriented approach and with an eye to time-weighted return. For the fixed income part, it does not manage either duration nor interest rates. Currency is also ignored in both the fixed income and equity exposures.
The fund’s allocation comprised 63% of shares, 12% bonds and 25% liquidity as at the end of May 2018, and can invest up to 35% in public debt and loans of promissory notes of the Federal Republic of Germany. The fund’s exposure to fixed income normally averages 20% to 40% but recently has been just 12%.
Although the use of derivatives is allowed in the fund’s prospectus, it has not been necessary to date, according to Eva Zaragoza, Acatis head of institutional sales for Iberia, Italy and the UK.
The fund had €2bn in assets under management and achieved an annual return of 2.5% in May. Since the beginning of the year, this latest figure was of 3.7% and of 8.9% in 2017.
Key stocks driving returns recently include Apple and Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical group.
The Gané Value Event Fonds entered in Spain in 2013. Positive feedback from that development has been cited as a reason for the expansion to Italy.
Zaragoza says: “In 2013, Spanish investors were more oriented to fixed income products – among other reasons – because they were concerned about Europe and the permanence of the euro. Then, as investors realised Europe was in a stronger position than they had previously thought, they started paying some attention to equities. Balanced funds were in demand, at the time Acatis Gané Value Event Fonds already had five years track record and started raising the interest of investors.”
Although the fund was registered for retail investors in Italy in May, it was already present there for institutional investors. “We saw a growing appetite of Italian investors for balanced funds, so we offered institutional investors a first taste,” says Zaragoza.
“We were known by institutional investors in Italy but we lacked access to retail clients because the fund was not registered for sale. Acatis Gané was already available in Allfunds Bank, the appetite for balanced funds in Europe was growing, it was time to expand the scope of the fund in Italy.”