Fernando Rodríguez| “The big picture of Indexa is that we aspire to be the leading independent asset manager in Europe” says Ramón Blanco, founder and director of Indexa Capital Group
Q- What is the equity story or investor proposition of Indexa’s shares?
A- What is listed is Indexa Capital Group, and underneath it hang three operating companies: Indexa Capital – a broker-dealer, the French insurance broker Indexa Courrier d’assurance and the fund manager Bewater. We manage the assets of 64,000 clients and around €1.75 billion through index funds on a discretionary basis. Behind all this is the idea that through index funds you are very exposed to what is happening in the markets around the world and with very low costs. Underlying this logic is the fact that 90% of actively managed funds underperform the indices they track and that it is very difficult to pick out the 10% that will beat them over the next 10 years. This is not to mention that the 10% that beat it now is not the same as the 10% that will beat it in the next decade. In general, we invest in liquid assets, except for Bewater, which invests in illiquid assets of technology companies with positive cashflow through secondary markets. The French company is to service that country through unit link, which is the product with tax benefits in France.
Q- What will drive Indexa’s share price is growth?
A- The big picture of Indexa is that we aspire to be the leading independent asset manager in Europe. It is difficult to say what will move the stock. It’s a mix of two things, growth of the company and growth in gross profitability.
Q- What volume of assets do these national champions of automated management or robo advisors in Britain, Germany and Italy manage?
A- In the UK, Nutmeg, which has been bought by JP Morgan, will manage about £3 billion (about €3.5 billion). In France, the leader manages around €500 million. In Italy, Moneyfarm, which also operates in Britain and is owned by an insurance company and the Post Office there, manages about €2 billion. In Germany, Scalable, which has moved into brokerage, must be between €2 and €3 billion. In Japan, there is also a listed company, and in the United States, the big independents – Betterment and Wealthfront – have between 25 and 30 billion under management.
Q- The cost difference between Indexa and banks is huge. On your website, you indicate that your firm averages 0.52% compared to 3.4% for banks. How much of the bank’s fees do you think do not correspond to the specific investment service provided and are rather the institutions’ structural costs?
A- Between the four big banks, they manage more than 80% of the funds in Spain. If you compare them with the indices to which they are referenced, they have lost 3.4% each year. Of that 3.4%, part is commissions and part, as they do active management, is due to buying when they should not or selling when they should not.
Q- A recent study by the CNMV pointed out that 100% of the remuneration of banking agents is variable or linked to product sales targets…
A- The issue of agents is difficult to manage and that is why we do not have them. In banking, there are sales targets for certain products for the commercial network and there is a major conflict of interest.