Global Brands Magazine Interview with Mr.Ugo Loser
- What does it take to build the ideal asset management offering?
I would raise attention about three points mainly. First, product offering in line with the distributors and clients’ needs. This has always been important but today in a MifidII environment it is a stronger than ever argument. Second, fair pricing. The cost of fund management that is in line with the expected return is the best assurance for long term performance. Third, the digital revolution: nowadays the asset manager must be ready to connect quickly and directly with the branches, the financial advisors network, and the clients with a complete set of digital capabilities for example in reporting and payments.
- Arca Fondi has been on a roll for quite some time. Your take on this?
Arca Fondi was launched 35 years ago and two of our existing funds have a same length track record. This means a lot to our distributors and clients, it means that we constantly innovate not to cancel past errors but only to open new, durable successes. Moreover, long term saving is the best way to plan for our clients future wealth.
- We have lately witnessed a sudden surge in technology like AI,robo-advisory channels,chatbots, social media, digital payments, Blockchain etc. How have you managed to embracetechnology in the competitive structure of your portfolio offerings
We care very much about technology and how it will change fund management. We have been actively developing projects or research teams in each of the above mentioned activities. For advisory, we plan to bring to Private Banking clients the same tools and risk management technology we have been applying to our funds for some time. In digital payments, we are the first Italian open end
pension fund to offer online payment and subscription capabilities. We have a research team studying how blockchain could impact fund management, securities, services, brokerage.
- The Italian asset management industry is experiencing an extended period of growth and most of the portfolios have recorded positive outflows barring a few. How long do you expect this trend to continue?
We expect this trend to continue, although with a rate of growth lower than the past three years due to uncertainty about the geopolitical environment, strong past performance in both bond and stock markets, more competition introduced by MifidII. But Italians are still very much tilted towards not planning their financial future with appropriate instruments and not saving enough for their retirement, therefore I expect our market to still have a lot of potential.
- The average Italian is deemed to be a risk-averse investor (traditionally in Government Bonds and deposits). Has the recent trends in asset management changed the mindset of your investors?
We see more and more people approaching a professional advice and financial planning. The recent introduction of Individual Saving Plans (PIR) which are tax exempt, is helping a lot and attracting new clients to asset managers.
- What separatesArca Fondi from other asset managers in Italy? Would Arca place itself as an active fund or a passive fund manager in the near future?
We could be defined a “low cost” asset manager because our commissions are below average and because we don’t have the cost structure of the traditional active fund manager, with a “one fund-one man” structure, a lot of turnover and brokerages fees. But in fact, we are very active, we build our internal asset allocation and security selection quantitative models which permit us to deliver lots of value to the funds with a highly cost efficient structure.
- Lastly……People skills or analytical skills? What advice do you have for young professionals who wish to pursue a career in this industry?
I see always a good combination of both skills to work best. Maybe in the first few years of a career you want to concentrate on analytical skills, but soon it’s the people skills that will make the difference, even in the fund managers job. This is the era of globalization and connections, all jobs must be made in teams and teams need strong team-players.
-Consulting Editor Mrs. Kyra James, Global Brands Magazine