M&G tops €1.6bn AUM in France, wants more open architecture

M&G Investments, the UK-based asset management unit of Prudential plc, has topped €1.6bn in assets under management in France, and is looking to pick up more business as universal banks start to consider shedding non-core business in a challenging business environment.

M&G’s head of development in France, Brice Anger, said the seven-strong team in Paris has built the business from scratch since the office opened in 2007. It services discretionary asset managers, allocators in private banks and funds of funds, with the latter accounting for 50% of assets under management. The remainder is divided equally between French pension fund clients and retail distribution through domestic independent financial advisors.

By asset class, M&G’s 26-fund French range is split between equity and fixed income products, with a positive trend for fixed income. All M&G’s products are UCITS3 passported for marketing across Europe, but the fund range is registered in the local market as well. In France, M&G is offering global, regional, European and UK equity funds, as well as multi asset and bond funds, with a strong bias towards corporate bonds. An increasingly popular fund focuses on global convertibles.

Anger said the consolidated range suits local demand very well. “We don’t believe in launching new funds every couple of months. We have to deal with each one and ensure it is delivering.”

The macro economic backdrop is making for extremely tough business and investment conditions, with some 600 asset managers operational in France, some of them with hundreds of billions of euros under management.

The biggest players are using their weight in the institutional space to support their retail operations, and there are also a growing number of French boutique managers with a proven track record who compete with M&G for IFA business, which makes up around 8% of the French market.

“Everyone is in Paris, they want to distribute there. The banks have big in-house asset managers, so they are quite closed to third party funds, and they also control retail distribution. The financial crisis is not helping the idea of open architecture, because banks are trying to protect themselves.”

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