Nextam Partners looks to build ‘boutique within a boutique’

Nextam Partners sees the Italian asset management industry as hostage to traditional business models. Its solution is to offer a different one, to build an international network of independent asset managers.

The Italian asset management industry finds itself trapped in an unavoidable conflict of interest. Almost the entire industry, 97%, is controlled by insurance companies and banking groups. These groups provide clients with a traditional range of services, in which asset management sits alongside basic lending, mortgages, corporate finance and commercial banking.

But it is a model that leaves clients largely dissatisfied. In a period of recession, this problem becomes more acute. Clients, often highly leveraged, have difficulty pulling their funds from banks. They may want to have their assets managed elsewhere but the intertwined relationship they have with their primary bank makes this difficult. But one Italian asset manager offers investors a way out.

Total independence

Carlo Gentili (pictured), chief executive of Nextam Partners, says: “We give such clients the option of leaving their money with their banks, and simply taking advice from us.

“From the beginning, we have offered such clients a service that is based on total independence and transparency, on the understanding that we don’t get any inducements from the owners of the funds we recommend. We offer a fee-only service, plus performance fee.”

The Nextam strategy is to create a “boutique within a boutique”, by way of an international network of independent asset managers. Nextam Partners began a process of outsourcing to third-party fund managers almost four years ago. It started by handing the mandate for a Sicav umbrella to Sator, an independent Anglo/Italian financial group in Luxembourg founded by Matteo Arpe, previously managing director of Capitalia and member of the board of Mediobanca, the main Italian investment bank.

Then they launched Nextam Partners Citic Securities China Fund, managed by the Citic Group. James Wang, who manages the portfolio, is one of the most experienced hedge fund managers in the region, and a pioneer in the Chinese securities industry.

Nextam Partners gave the mandate for its US Value Fund to US manager Mario J Gabelli, one of the most notable American value investors, and a leading proponent of the Graham-Dodd school of security analysis and of the ‘Private Market Value’ concept. Since launch in 1986, his Gabelli Asset Fund returned an annualised +11.2%, which compares well with the +9.3% of the S&P500.

Nextam Partners BInver International is outsourced to Bestinver star fund managers Francisco García Paramés, Álvaro Guzmán and Fernando Bernad Marrase. Their philosophy, based on Benjamin Graham’s ‘Value Investing’ principles, has helped them beat the market consistently for almost 15 years.

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