Carmignac sets out its big agenda in the UK and beyond

Carmignac Gestion, the Paris-based asset manager now set to target the UK, is braced to play the long game in a new and highly competitive market, and within five years aims to hold a 10% market share in any category in which it offers a fund.

The firm’s arrival in London, throwing down a challenge to established UK asset managers, was first announced nearly a year ago, but it only recently named former LV= executive Matthew Wright to lead the team at its new Cornhill base in the City.

Eric Helderle, managing director and co-founder in 1989 with Edouard Carmignac (pictured) of the firm, admitted launch preparations had taken more time than expected. “We underestimated what was needed to come up with the full package to do business,” he said. “Recruiting the right people is the most difficult part, but we are very practical, we learn the challenges as we go. Now we are here, any difficulties are not more than those in any other market we are in. We are here to stay.”

Avoiding volatile markets in the last few months will probably help the operation in the long term. “Last year was not so good, so we haven’t lost anything – assets or clients. Instead we have had time to build up contacts, meet investors and understand how they buy,” asserts Helderle.

Edouard Carmignac said the firm had been assessing the UK for a while, having built a solid 20-year track record in Continental Europe.”The UK is a promising market, and obviously one of the deepest in Europe. It has an equity culture and practices a fair game, which is to say open architecture and transparency.”

The aim is to offer a set of 10 funds to both retail and institutional investors. The products are essentially the same as those offered across the Continent. “We can fine tune, but we don’t want to do a specific UK product range,” notes Helderle.

Target buyers in the UK, as elsewhere, are independent financial advisors, private banks and platforms, family offices and foundations, and other fund selectors.

There will be no ‘white labelling’ through third party distribution, as the firm wants to retain the primary relationship with investors. “Yes, there is a cost to brand building as it takes time but we like to make these relationships, and the cost is acceptable if the success is finally there,”Helderle adds. Success for him means a 10% market share, within five years, of any category in which Carmignac offers a fund.

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