Freeing the fee-only feeling
Jacopo Ceccatelli, CEO at Italian asset manager and fi nancial advisory firm Marzotto Sim, outlines the company’s main objectives for 2018 focusing on promoting the fee-only advisory model.
Milan-based Marzotto Sim, an investment house aimed at institutional and professional investors and with specific expertise on following regulated entities, started his business activity in the financial advisory area, which later expanded its activities adding asset management.
“This gives the business a unique perspective,” argues CEO Jacopo Ceccatelli.
“Unlike other asset managers, Marzotto has developed its asset management business having started as an advisory firm and not vice versa. In addition, our business model is exclusively B2B and B2B2C, hence we do not serve retail clients directly.”
The Italian firm, whose assets under advisory and under management amount to €4.5bn is headquartered in Milan but has also offices in Rome and London.
The research and capital market departments are based in Milan, the financial advisory activity is carried out in Rome, and in London is based the company’s asset management division.
Although both the advisory and asset management’s activities are institutional oriented, Marzotto aims at increasing its activity towards IFAs and retail networks on a B2B2C basis, in order to increase its visibility and placing power.
The majority of the company is owned by Marzotto Filati SpA shareholders, from which the financial company took its name, and which is a longstanding textile manufacturer dating back to 1836 – whose heritage and support ensures the company long-term sustainability.
Speaking further about the goals for 2018, Ceccatelli enphasises the company’s desire to have a more balanced revenues increasingly relying on asset management business as well as boosting the fee only advisory model.
“In order to achieve our goal, we are investing in our own advisory software – called M-Advise – which allows us to build and monitor clients’ portfolios with efficiency, being fully compliant with the new Mifid II requirements. We are also arranging several marketing initiatives in 2018 to promote our products and services.”
Ceccatelli also highlighted how the fee-only model may help to tackle the general lack of financial education present in society, since it allows clients to further understand markets while providing advisers greater profitabilities.
On the hunt for increasing its assets under management, the company seeks to promote its current total return Sicavs: the Pharus Active Bond – which mainly focuses on the bond markets – and the Pharus Active Diversified, which also covers stock investment opportunities.
Nevertheless, the company does not consider a funds range expansion a top priority for expanding its presence in Italy. Conversely, it prefers to focus on increasing its number of investors as well as promoting its existing range of products. “Our strategy in Italy will be based on promoting the fee only advisory model and increasing the distribution of our absolute return SICAV’s. We strongly believe that our flexibility combined with our professional expertise will be rewarding.
“Moreover the total return approach is in perfect place to get the best from the current market environment, where equity valuations are skyrocketing and bond returns will remain subdued in the coming year,” Ceccatelli outlined.
The firm’s CEO also pointed that, as an small company, Marzotto needs to focus on core skills, having most of its non-financial market activities outsourced, but retaining in-house the analysis, portfolio and risk management, marketing, and back office.
With regards to the growing trend of AM companies reaching distribution agreements with Italian banks, Ceccatelli commented: “The high savings of Italian investors as well as the shift in their savings preferences towards private pension plans, are attracting foreign asset management companies.
“Distribution agreements with Italian banks have been a very successful in the past but now with Mifid II distributors have to provide the current distribution costs paid by investors, who are likely to choose cheaper (after no longer hidden fees) investment services.
“Once again, we favour the independent advisory model including fee only, in which advisers and clients’ goals are aligned, since advisers do not receive any incentive from the management companies. Thus, they are likely to advise without any conflict of interests, taking also into account those fees charged by the asset manager.”