Santander AM expands selection to passive strategies

The Research and Selection team of Santander Asset Management (SAM) has started covering passive vehicles, on the back of demand for these strategies.

The move will see the Spanish firm’s recommended list or “manager matrix” increase from about 300 to almost 400 strategies, of which about 80 names will come from the passive sphere.

“Including the passive sphere makes sense, it’s something that we have been discussing for a while, and finally we decided to merge both, passive and active within the same research team,” José Maria Martinez-Sanjuán (pictured), head of Manager Research and Selection at Santander Asset Management told InvestmentEurope.

“The fact is that there’s more demand, so we have to respond from a research point of view,” he said.

The growth in the ETFs segment illustrates investors’ bullish demand for passive strategies. According to ETFGI, assets invested in ETFs/ETPs listed globally reached a record high of $3.1trn (€2.7trn) at the end of April 2016.

This compares to $2.9trn in 2015, and $1.5trn in 2011 — a growth of 106% over the last five years.

“If you see the flows of the industry, you will see that ETFs are only growing. There’s also a new wave of smart beta coming now to the market, so we need to be aware of this and understand the market evolution,” he said.

Martinez-Sanjuán said fee reduction plays a key role on the growth for passive vehicles, along with the ability to implement more easily strategic allocations through a core-satellite portfolio.

Following this trend, the team led by Martinez-Sanjuán has developed a research process for passives, and it has just started to cover these strategies.

“The coverage of passive vehicles is not as time consuming as the active world, but I guess that covering both gives you the global picture of what is going on in the industry and it is a value added piece of information for the investors,” Martinez-Sanjuán said.

“This is to help our various clients, so we can have a global view of any strategy, active or passive,” he said.

Early this month, it emerged that SAM made two new appointments within its selection team.

Last month, Wee-Tsen Lee joined Santander from Barclays Wealth to be responsible for manager selection global & US equities. In addition, Pryesh Emrith was promoted within Santander in March, to be in charge of US & global fixed income and multi-asset.

The two new appointments are based in the group’s London headquarters and work for the Research and Selection team, which works within SAM’s Global Multi-Asset Solutions team and alongside Santander Bank.

SAM manages around €20bn as an asset manager, and a further €20bn are assets under advice. The firm advised a further €8bn for institutional clients.

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