Third party assets attract Generali Investments Europe

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Towards the end of 2012, Generali Investments Italy announced the merger into Generali Investments Europe of its Italian, French and German branches in order to create a business that would go beyond national borders across Europe.

Two years after, newly appointed head of Sales and Marketing Andrea Favaloro (pictured) is ready to discuss the business development plans of the company.

The plan is all focused on boosting the company’s third-party business.

GIE’s current AUM is some €355bn, placing it among the five biggest asset management companies in Europe on this basis, while in Italy the whole group ranks first for assets. Institutional clients have traditionally been at the core of GIE’s business development strategy, with more than 90% of the assets managed coming at present from clients within the group itself.

“As much as the third party business is concerned, the group currently holds small assets, but that’s exactly where we intend to start from. The group has provided us with with high-level investment expertise that will enable us to grow our market shares not only in Italy, Germany and France but also in continental Europe and in future in other areas of the global market,” Favaloro explains.

FIXED INCOME CORE
The launch of Generali Investments Luxembourg in July was a further step towards creating a hub for global distributors and global wealth management platforms, specifically aimed to support distribution international partners.

Looking more specifically at asset classes, Favaloro points out that fixed income remains core to the company’s asset allocation, with the credit and absolute return themes being among the new focuses.

“Corporate high yield products in this area are one of our excellences,” Favaloro says.

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE
Looking more specifically at asset classes, Favaloro points out that fixed income remains core to the company’s asset allocation, with the credit and absolute return themes being among the new focuses.

“Corporate and credit products in this area are one of our excellences,” Favaloro says.

To address clients increased interest in absolute return strategies, the Absolute Return Credit Strategies fund, managed by Generali Investments Europe and part of the Group’s Luxembourg-based Sicav, has revamped recently.

After being frozen during the years of the crisis, the fund is now available to investors looking for solutions and instruments to reach their investment return targets in a low interest rate scenario without running high volatility risks typical of an equity exposure.

“The relaunch of the AR Credit Strategies fund is another fundamental pillar of our strategy aimed at international third party clients. AR Credit
Strategies will provide them with a unique tool to fight the zero interest rate environment through high potential fixed income investments while at the same time keeping risk and volatility to a minimum.

“Our choices are supported by a large and experienced in house team with an outstanding proven track record,” Favaloro explains.

However, it is not all about fixed income and safe absolute return strategies, equities are also on the radar for the GIE’s growth plans.

“Equity is an asset class we are less known for. Partly, that mirrors our strategy of remaining focused and trying to stand out in targeted areas
rather than being generalists. However, 12 months ago we launched the first equity fund investing in peripheral country equities,” he adds.

The fund in question is GIS European Recovery Equity fund. 60% minimum of its portfolio will be invested in equities of countries like Spain, Italy and Portugal.

FEARING THE COMPETITION?
Recently, Italy’s UniCredit and Spain’s Santander announced that they are in talks to merge their asset management units to create a new business.

Asked what GIE thinks of the move, Favaloro says: “UniCredit and Santander are two important players in the sector. From an Italian point of view, we are glad to see that a local player is actively trying to grow more internationally.”

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