Rising horizon for BNY Mellon in Spain
Managing director of BNY Mellon Asset Management Iberia Sasha Evers tells the story of the
Spanish branch from its challenging beginning to today’s success.
Launched in 2000 after a couple of years’ coverage from London, BNY Mellon Investment Management’s Spanish adventure almost immediately ran into market hardship due to the burst of the technology stock bubble.
In 2008 the global financial crisis hit Spain particularly badly due to its high levels of unsecured mortgages lending, posing another challenge to
the international asset manager.
However, as managing director of BNY Mellon Asset Management Iberia Sasha Evers explains, BNY Mellon was not unknown in Spain. It not only benefited from its international reputation, but also from its specialist multi-boutique approach, which so far has brought local AUM from €100m at the start to €2bn today.
“Despite the initial difficulties posed to us by broad market issues, we have had a good journey throughout the last years. We have a
staff of eight between sales, marketing and communication and we seek to implement a sustainable growth strategy by focusing both on growing our business and on retaining assets through providing a premium service to our existing clients,” Evers says.
The multi-boutique model means BNY Mellon is able to sustain even strong market shocks as “the market is increasingly turning to specialist,
active managers like us,” the country head stresses.
BNY Mellon’s offer in Spain covers a wide range of investment strategies from absolute return, through to emerging market debt – demand
for which has been increasing lately, Evers says – and multi-asset specialisation.
“We sell the BNY Mellon Global Funds, our Dublin-domiciled fund range, which encompasses the best strategies of our specialist managers.
The range has multi-currency and distribution share classes to respond to the needs of international investors. A range that focuses on genuine active asset management,” Evers says.
Most of the company’s client basis in Spain is in the wholesale segment, rather than being purely institutional. This means local asset managers;
private banks and mass-affluent discretionary and advisory business, funds of funds, some insurance companies and pension funds.
Evers also says that BNY Mellon reaches retail clients through local manager funds of funds, through names such as Santander, BBVA and La Caixa.
In the light of the many difficulties experienced in recent years by many foreign retail banks in Spain against the competition of much more
rooted local players – most recently Barclays, but also Lloyds Group and Citigroup have exited the Spanish retail banking market– Evers says
that while retail banking is quite challenging to penetrate in Spain, the asset management segment is still attractive and leaves opportunities for
foreign players like BNY Mellon.
Asked whether the manager encountered any difficulties when it first entered the market, Evers says: “It was rather difficult at the beginning.
“However, we are a large manager and seen as a strong counterparty in addition to offering multiple investment solutions through our specialist
managers. We had to make clients familiar with our different specialist managers and their different investment cultures.
“There have been a lot of stories of consolidation lately on the retail banking side, but on the asset management side there are still good
opportunities. It’s not the biggest fund market in Europe, but there is a lot of outsourcing going on by Spanish banks particularly in the private
banking and mass affluent segments.”
Asked whether there are new products on the horizon for the Spanish market, Evers mentioned the BNY Mellon Absolute Insight Fund, a strategy launched in the UK in 2006 that allocates to Insight’s different absolute return strategies.
Although Evers confirms that the average investor in Spain is fairly risk-averse, he says that this has been changing recently: “Many of our clients now have problems with their conservative portfolios, as they are cautious on fixed income in general.”