AQA Capital: The Maltese expansion
Asset manager AQA Capital is stepping up its efforts to spread across Europe launching an office in Prague shortly after disembarking in Italy.
After three years offering asset management services to clients from Malta, AQA Capital expanded beyond its boundaries opening a branch in Milan.
The Maltese independent asset manager, that provides investment management services and distribution for Ucits and AIF funds, was born in 2015 with a business split into three main roots: asset, wealth management and compliance and regulation. Now, AQA Capital counts on a team of 12 people in Malta and of seven in Milan, including Christian Manicaro as general director, Gabriele Rosi as head of asset management, and Alessandro Beggio in charge of the firm’s wealth management division.
AQA Capital’s logo includes the colour Klein blue – created by the French artist Yves Klein – which uses aquamarine as a base for its form. AQA’s Alessandro Beggio says that the selection of this colour reflects not only the serene waters surrounding the island of Malta, but also the era its name comes from, the “Age of Aquarius”. It is an astrological term denoting either the current or forthcoming astrological age, depending on the method of calculation.
“Categorised by modernity, innovation and independence, the Age of Aquarius echoes our goals: to uphold transparency with our clients, to adapt constantly to the ever-changing market and to bring new and unique management strategies to our growing repertoire of investors,” explains Beggio.
The company expects to achieve €500m in assets under management by the end of the year, between its asset and wealth management divisions.
Alessandro Beggio says: “The initial phase of the company’s growth was related to traditional asset classes like bonds, credit and equity, while recent funds’ launches and investments are more associated to alternatives, both liquid and illiquid (real estate and private equity for instance).”
In order to boost the Milan office, AQA wants to expand its network of bankers in the country, giving them innovative solutions as well as an open platform to attract more clients. “By enlarging the network of bankers in the wealth management unit, AQA pursues the innovative business model in which clients are deposited in their banks and AQA has the discretionary portfolio management.”
Beggio attributes the firm’s growth (from one employee in 2015 to 19 now between Malta and Milan) to the improvement of the team’s skills across all the different divisions. AQA is now trying to expand its operations in Malta and its distribution in Italy.
The firm’s range of products and strategies is mainly characterised for being flexible and uncorrelated.
“Now we are focusing on the development of alternative and innovative products, in order to build up and expand our Ucits and alternatives platform to become more attractive for new bankers, institutional clients and family offices.”
AQA has announced it is opening a new office in Prague in the coming weeks (at the time of reporting) while might be considering further launches in other European markets.
Currently, AQA is dedicating many of its efforts to alternatives which, according the firm, can help investors to obtain decorrelated returns in this current market environment. AQA’s pipeline has some real estate and private equity initiatives in the alternative segment.
Just a few months ago, the Maltese manager disembarked in Italy counting on the authorisation of Banca d’Italia. The Milan office is located in San Babila and has a seven-member team dedicated to promote AQA’s services and products across the region.
“Italy is a great opportunity, with lot of business served by banks: with Mifid II, independent players like us may attract family offices and private clients with innovative investment ideas and solutions.
“We also want to attract bankers in the country, with a business model in which private clients are deposited in their banks and discretionally managed by AQA, hence splitting their risks among different players and not concentrating everything with only one intermediary and one investment house,” underlines Beggio.