Spain’s March Gestion de Fondos broadens its horizons

March Gestión de Fondos (MGF), the boutique asset management arm of Madrid-based Banca March, is poised to start selling its Sicav fund range in the UK, having already expanded into Austria and Italy. Germany and Switzerland are other imminent targets.

Banca March, ranked after 2011 stress tests conducted by the European Banking Authority as one of Europe’s most solvent banks, is a privately owned wealth management, corporate banking and asset management business established in 1926, and still owned by its founding family.

The bank, along with the Fundación Juan March and the investment holding company, Corporación Financiera Alba, represent the €20bn March Group.

The move to expand asset management operations into the UK has attracted attention, as it flies in the face of widespread perceptions of Spain as a struggling economy, wracked by the flight of capital and expertise.

For the Group, the move will help grow assets under management and widen its international investor base. MDF chief executive officer Jose Luis Jiminez said the UK was a natural choice, since the firm’s style and process was immediately recognised by UK investors.

A former manager at Skandia in London, Jiminez said both domestic and international investors based in the City are always interested in top quality boutiques, wherever they are based. “We realised that because of our record, our approach and our process, we have nothing to fear from the big players,” he explained.

The core business of MGF is to manage the assets of Banca March customers, offering long term wealth protection strategies through asset allocation and investing primarily in global equities and investment grade fixed income.

Jimenez hopes the possibility of investing in the select funds in which the March family are also invested, as well as innovative products not usually available to retail investors, will draw interest.

The three products on offer first are the flagship €500m March Torrenova fund, Vina Catena, a specialised global equity fund investing in the international wine industry, and the Family Businesses Fund, which has a track record of investing in successful family-owned enterprises.

“We have often been asked if we would accept other investors, but we have been careful because our reputation is at stake. We have now decided the time is right to invite others to join a sort of Club,” said JLJ.

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