Spanish financial boutiques lead global sector’s comeback

boutique investment

Boutique asset managers met in Spain to announced they have set up this week a platform to strengthen their competitiveness more effectively internationally against more dominant global players. The Group of Boutique Asset Managers or ‘GBAM’, had its inaugural session led by March Gestión de Fondos–the asset management arm of the Spanish private bank Banca March–, and was supported by attendees from Latin America, Europe and Asia.

The investment boutiques said GBAM “is the response to the increasing polarization of the asset management world between big asset managers with a broad range of capabilities, and small specialist boutiques with a limited range of investment strategies This the so-called Barbell effect.” In a press release, they referred to “one aspect of the Barbell effect (often highlighted by commentators) [, which] is the ability of those managers caught in the ‘middle ground’ to survive. Less well appreciated, is the position of world class boutique asset managers whose voices, and successful investment strategies, are less well heard in world markets given the dominance of powerful, well resourced, global players.”

The managers described themselves as ‘like-minded’ in that they all share a performance driven culture, and are generally recognised for their talent, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Crucially, all have interest in expanding their businesses internationally, and so all face similar challenges. By coming together to share information, the Group believes its members will be in a better position.

The chief executive of asset manager March Gestión de Fondos, José Luis Jimenez said that “asset management is an exciting business given the levels of competition amongst the firms–large and small. And all of us seek to offer the very best strategies to investors. But while the boutiques represented in GBAM are happy to compete with the very best, we have to appreciate that the investors around the world may not be in a position to access boutiques managers as easily as the big firms.”

As a consequence of the current crisis, Jimenez added, “on the one hand, small players cannot be available everywhere and on the other, many distributors prefer well-known names because it is easier to pick up a strong brand recognised by investors.”

GBAM said it is not interested in involving itself in lobbying or competing with our national or international trade organizations.

“Excellent world class boutique mangers can grow, even in a sector dominated by big players, providing they can offer greater added value that them. Performance plays a critical part, but equally being the first to discover new and interesting investment propositions,” said Jimenez.

The founding members of GBAM include Bestinver and Mutuactivos in Spain, Portugal’s Banif, the German Lampe, Banca Sella of Italy, and Corpbanca in Chile and Mexican GBM.

About the Author

The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.

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