Candriam, which recently reported a sharp increase in AUM through 2014, is set to target the European retail segment.
Candriam Investors Group, the pan-European multi-asset manager of New York Life Investment Management, reported a 20% increase in AUM to €80bn through 2014, in its first set of annual results since being acquired by the US firm.
Net new cash increased by €7.1bn through the year as inflows increased across both retail and institutional business, the company revealed.
Renato Guerriero (pictured), global head of European Client Relations and recently appointed member of Candriam’s Executive Committee says the asset manager, which is traditionally known for its institutional footprint, will soon start targeting the retail segment across Europe.
First on this project’s list comes Italy, where the company has recently appointed Matthieu David as head of Italy. David, who reports directly to Guerriero, will look to consolidate Candriam’s presence in the pension fund and institutional mandates sector, hewill lead the company’s growth in asset management and distribution.
Candriam boosted the Italian team with two further hires for the sales team: alongside Emanuele Colombo and Jessica Fasan presently in Italy, Alessandro Malinverno and Ergys Luga will assist in developing the distribution of Candriam funds through Italian banks and financial advisor networks including institutional clients.
The Italian retail market represents an interesting opportunity with total assets of €300bn and half of it invested in funds.
Candriam started to cover Italy in 2001 with a local office and now feels ready to make a push into the retail space following the acquisition by New York Life, including the ability to exclusively distribute certain US equity and bond strategies.
US RENEWED INTEREST IN EUROPE
According to Guerriero, US asset managers look at Europe as a promising market and have started to use the AIFMD directive to market their funds locally.
“The US market, the largest in the world, is very competitive. The European market is in reality a combination of single markets with language and regulatory differences, but its features make it sometimes more appealing and less sensitive to pricing pressures,” Guerriero explains.
“The European fund industry is seen as being in good health, and the low level of interest rates is pushing distributors and individuals into funds.
“Mifid II and regulation can be seen as a challenge for asset managers, but the industry is considered ready to adapt and grow further, most probably through further consolidation,” according to the manager.
Candriam claims strong inflows in 2014, coming from both institutional and retail clients and across many geographies, as well as their high yield, emerging debt, total return bond and asset allocation strategies received “the lion’s share of the flows, but other strategies like SRI and equities were also rewarded,” Guerriero adds.
Candriam intends to “grow further in distribution” targeting Italy, France, Germany and the UK.
In France, sustainable and responsible investments (SRI) accounted for 11.95%of the total AUM of Candriam’s funds authorised for the local market, as at 31 December 2014.
“In SRI, we see growing demand especially from institutional investors with France leading the pack. This being said pension funds in Switzerland and Italy have shown a growing appetite for this specialty,” says Guerriero.
“To conclude with a note on institutional investors, I’d like to point out that the low level of rates and the upcoming Solvency II directive are a driver for our growth in assets with insurance companies, now representing 20% of our asset base.”