Multi-boutique expertise provides key to growth for Legg Mason

Legg Mason is banking on the expertise offered by its multi-boutique business model to unlock the already crowded Italian market.

Italy plays an important role for Legg Mason’s overall growth strategy in Europe, says Marco Negri (pictured), Italian r­epresentative at Legg Mason based in Milan.

“The Italian office is a dynamic part of the business, thanks to the significant and growing assets under management, as well as the distribution agreements signed.”

For Legg Mason, the growth in its Italian business has created the virtuous circle of increased recruitment and increased resources, bringing in further revenues. 

Competition for market share is strong and getting stronger, from both domestic and international houses. But the Italian market still has plenty of potential for growth.

Negri says: “We note that the Italian market retains great potential, and is a very attractive prospect to foreign asset management firms.”

In part, this is because the Italian asset ­management market has seen a number of changes, not just in ­regulation, but also in the increased adoption of open architecture-based funds platforms by domestic asset managers and banking groups.

Quality solutions

The growth in assets under management by foreign funds houses indicates a growing acceptance by Italian investors of non-domestic brands.

Negri says: “Our feeling is that investors are looking for quality investment solutions, so a focus on specific asset classes can be a key factor for foreign firms that want to meet the needs of the Italian market.”

But performance alone is not enough to win and hold clients. “From a marketing perspective, we think it is important to provide a well-resourced customer care service, with the aim of improving the product offering and satisfying investors’ needs.”

An important first step, however, is to win back the Italian investors and to rebuild their confidence in the asset management industry, badly bruised after several years of financial losses.

As Negri says: “The investor needs to be reassured”, before they come back to market and start investing again. The more confidence is restored, the more the investor is persuaded to invest, thereby boosting the potential of the market.

Legg Mason’s multi-boutique structure is a central part of their message to the market.

As a global asset management firm with assets under management of $643bn (as of 31 August), Legg Mason has ten investment managers, each with well-established specialist expertise across the global equities and fixed income markets.

Negri says: “Within this competitive environment, Legg Mason has the benefit of a group of dedicated asset ­managers focused on a set of specific asset classes.


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