Moroccan asset manager receives rating upgrade

Fitch has upgraded Casablanca-based BMCE Capital Gestion’s asset manager rating to M2+ from M2 to reflect its renewed IT infrastructure having implementated portfolio and risk management solution, Sophis Value.

Fitch argued the new IT infrastructure provides a robust integrated platform for front- and middle-office activities, demonstrates the asset manager’s greater awareness of potential risks of conflicts of interests and enhances its credit risk management.

The agency explained the close relationship between the asset manager and its capital market sister company, BMCE Capital, is subject to certain potential conflicts of interest. It said the implementation of a specific internal policy and escalation procedures have contributed to rising awareness of these conflicts.

Fitch also considered the company’s 16-year history and its strong position in the Moroccan asset management industry as positive contributing factors to the upgrade.

The rating agency noted BMCE Capital Gestion still faced some challenges such as stabilising its equity investment team and process and developing further risk management practices for market and liquidity risks.

It added the finalisation of the roll-out of its new technological platform could also temporarily lead to higher operational risk, although Fitch said such initiatives are well integrated into the company’s procedures and control practices.

On a scale of one to five (with one representing the highest possible score), BMCE Capital Gestion received 2.75 for company and staffing, 2.5 for portfolio management, 2 for investment administration and 2.25 for technology.

BMCE Capital Gestion was created in 1995 and has become the third-largest asset manager in Morocco with a client base of local institutional and retail investors.

The asset manager employs 32 people, including nine portfolio managers and four financial analysts. It has roughly MAD32bn (€2.87bn) of assets under management, concentrated in domestic fixed income and money market assets (91%).

Its development in the retail and corporate segments has been largely supported by the banking network of its parent BMCE Bank, one of the main banking institutions in Morocco.

BMCE Bank is 32%-owned by the Moroccan holding company FinanceCom and 25% by the Banque Federative du Credit Mutuel.

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