Mirabaud looks to Italian market for growth opportunities

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Already in Switzerland, the UK, UAE, Spain and France, Mirabaud’s Asset Management arm has another ambitious project coming up on its to-do list: to enter the Italian asset management market.

Mirabaud is the Swiss bank founded in 1819, which currently claims some $30bn of assets. Of this, some $9bn is invested via its asset management arm Mirabaud Asset Management.

The business provides a wide range of investment solutions mainly targeting wholesale and institutional investors and covering equities, fixed income, asset allocation and alternative investments in a focused way. Now it wants to target the Italian market.

The reasons are clear: the Italian asset management sector is one of the most successful in Europe, with total AUM reported as €1,480bn in July. In the same month it staked a claim to being one of Europe’s top cross-border funds markets, with total net inflows of €5.3bn.

To lead the Italian initiative, the company has appointed David Basola who will at first be based in the London office.

Basola (pictured) has extensive experience in long only and alternative investments, having worked initially as portfolio manager at JP Morgan Asset Management and at Credit Suisse, and after that covering business development roles with Integrated Asset Management and SYZ & Co Group in London, Geneva and Milan.

Discussing Mirabaud’s objectives in Italy, he says that foreign asset managers continue to be positive about the country’s asset management potential performance in terms of asset gathering, which has led to the launch of this project.

“Flows into the Italian AM industry have been amazing over the last years. The industry is now well developed and it offers plenty of opportunities for a foreign asset management company like us,” says Basola.

He adds that Mirabaud has gone through an intense recruitment process to hire highly ranked and motivated portfolio managers, to reinforce its own asset management capabilities, which will be crucial to success in demanding markets such as Italy.

As Basola explains, Mirabaud started to beef up its asset management capabilities in 2010 within the bank, and in 2013 it started to operate as a stand-alone entity, parallel to the private and intermediation business.

To go full speed into the Italian space, Mirabaud decided to push its active investment strategies as a specialized boutique and registered its main funds for distribution in Italy. At first, Basola says, Mirabaud will target its traditional
client basis in Italy, meaning wholesale and institutional investors.

“Fund selectors, both discretionary and fofs, as well as large fund platforms are within our radar as the first people to target, and get recognised by them for our active and focused investment style,” he says.
Although wholesale and institutional are the priorities at the moment, Basola said that Mirabaud will be interested in targeting retail clients going forward, once its initial business development efforts across the country prove to be successful.

Everything with Italy started last June as a blank canvas and “we are now drawing our most important lines for our business case in the country”.

Regulation and bureaucracy have also been gentle on Mirabaud’s Italian ambitions, as Basola says the company has not encountered any particular hurdles, and the Italian regulators have turned papers around quite timely for fund registration.

Talking about expectations and next steps of the process, the country business development head says that Mirabaud aims at building a reputation for itself in Italy rather than merely setting a specific AUM threshold to breach.

“Obviously, the project of an Italian office is on the agenda, but that will happen only after we have gone through a full business year with satisfactory results. A local presence is required more for retail business rather than institutional,” Basola concludes.

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