The new global multi-affiliate manager which plans to target Australia and New Zealand this year, both to seek super fund mandates for its existing suite of underlying managers and to look for new managers in which to take minority shareholdings, is also on the lookout for a local distribution partner.
iM Global Partner, which was launched in 2013 by Paris-based chief executive Philippe Couvrecelle, currently has four affiliates and a strong shareholder base which includes Amundi, the largest fund manager in Europe, Eurazeo, a private equity firm, and a group of private investors.
In an interview last week, Couvrecelle and his deputy chief executive and head of international business development, Jose Castellano, said that it was still early days but iM Global would be looking at potential partnerships on the distribution side or, perhaps, setting up its own office in Australia.
Both Amundi and Pioneer, which merged in 2017, have had Sydney offices for some years, with Castellano visiting the Pioneer office in his previous role. Similarly, Couvrecelle was deputy chief executive of Ixis Asset Management (now Natixis, which has had an Australian presence for many years, before launching iM Gobal. But Amundi/Pioneer no longer has a senior funds management employee in Australia following the departure of Brian Scott last year, however, it recently appointed a third-party marketing firm – Shed Enterprises – for Australia and New Zealand.
New Zealand managers could attract a lot of interest from the firm because, due to the smaller markets, they tend to be more globally orientated than Australian managers. And they have long track records but still be of a buyable size.
Couvrecelle said that most of the firm’s revenue came from its shareholdings in the affiliates, with a smaller sum from the distribution platform. iM Global was therefore looking for managers with a good and sustainable track record which would benefit from growth in Asia or EMEA.
“Our main challenge is to convince those sorts of boutiques to sell us an interest. It’s the same in North America. If the question is ‘why would they’, the answer is ‘because it works’,” he said. iM Global could also assist boutiques with their succession planning, when the founders look to retire.
The company currently has strategic minority investments in four asset managers: Polen Capital; Dolan McEniry Capital Management; Sirios Capital Management; and Dynamic Beta Investments. They have combined assets under management of $31 billion as of November 30, 2018.
“We are not looking to have 100 per cent coverage across all asset classes,” he said of the current and planned portfolio of managers. “Our favoured asset classes are concentrated equities, alternatives, long/short strategies and liquid alternatives… It’s mainly important that we get involved with highly active quality managers.”
Castellano said the current manager line-up should look very attractive to Australian super funds. The firm was initiating discussions, firstly, with the global asset consultants.”
The company has a staff of 16 across its three offices: Paris, London and Philadelphia. It represents its managers in the institutional market in Europe, the US and Asia, as well as helping them develop multi-channel strategies.
Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)