Vontobel Group units expand multi-asset team and commodities funds

Private bank Vontobel Group has announced two major hires from Swiss rivals, while its Harcourt Investment Consulting unit is to expand its commodities investment program.

Harcourt’s CHF 132bn Swiss private banking parent announced two significant, senior hires in its investment strategy team and multi-asset boutique, with the duo bringing experience from houses such as Union Bancaire Privee, Soros Fund Management and Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management.

At the same time the $4.2bn manager Harcourt within the group is expanding its commodities activities.

The Vontobel Fund – Belvista Dynamic Commodity complements the Vontobel Fund – Belvista Commodity, which was launched back in April 2007 and since made 15.8% more than the DJ UBS Commodity Total Return Index.

The Luxembourg-domiciled Belvista Dynamic Commodity fund will try to beat the same index by 6% to 8% a year.

To do this its managers will over- or underweight commodity exposures versus the benchmark, select what they regard as the optimum contract maturities, increase contract selection exposure, use spread trades on the forward price curve for commodities, and use moderate leverage as allowed within the Ucits framework.

Meanwhile Vontobel has announced Alan Zlatar and Arpad Pongracz will join it.

Zlatar will be deputy head of group investment strategy and head multi-asset class investments.

Pongracz will assume responsibility for the newly-formed unit ‘outcome-driven investments’.

Both appointments will enhance Vontobel’s existing offering of balanced mandates, which is headed by René Exenberger.

They also give Vontobel a better footprint in the multi-asset arena, which is shaping up to be a key battleground for European allocator business this year.

Zlatar will oversee management of products of Vontobel Asset Management’s co-operation partners, and he joins to do this from being head of portfolio management at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management in Zurich, and chief investment officer at Rued Blass.

Pongracz will be responsible for enhanced multi-asset products, which aim to maximise return potential of a portfolio, in line with clients’ investment risk and cashflow targets.

He was previously head of global balanced solutions at Swiss rival Union Bancaire Privée, and head of total return direct strategies at Credit Suisse Asset Management. He also worked as a co-manager for Soros Fund Management’s Quantum Fund.

Vontobel chief strategist Christophe Bernard said: “With Alan Zlatar and Arpad Pongracz, we have increased our expertise in the key area of multi-asset-class investing, a move which will benefit our private and institutional clients.

“The creation of the Outcome Driven Investments unit is a reaction to client calls for investment solutions that better reflect liability and risk specifications.”

 

 

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