After the announcement of the opening of their first office in Latin America in Chile, Funds Society had the occasion to discuss the details of Ardian’s strategy in the region during an exclusive interview with Vladimir Colas, Member of Ardian’s Executive Committee and Co-Head of Ardian USA, and Nicolás Gazitua, leader of Chilean office and currently Senior Investor Relations Manager for Ardian in New York.
The election of Chile as the first country to establish is not only because of the stable economic and political environment but also because of the continued interest of the investors and clients in the country. “The growing demand of our LPs (pension funds, insurance companies, and family offices) in the region, particularly in Chile, Colombia Peru, has been the main reason for us to choose Santiago. Additionally, though our focus is to build stronger relationships with investors in these countries, we have seen significant interest from Brazil and Mexico to diversify their holdings outside of Latin America. We will be looking to fulfill that demand as well", explain Gazitua.
When asked if the approval of the new investment act that expands alternative assets for pension funds has been a key drive in their decision, Gazitua states: “The internal decision was taken before the new regulation was approved. That being said, there is no doubt that the new regulation is a great push”
Ardian has since 2015 a distribution agreement with Volcom capital. In regards to the consequences that the new office might have in their relationship with the distributor, Colas explains: “We are extremely satisfied with our relationship with Volcom. The opening of Santiago will not change our agreement, it will strengthen and enlarge our collaboration”
Direct investment in Infrastructure
The immediate objective of the Chilean office, that will be led by Nicolás Gazitua, is to support the investor and LP relations across the region. Their view is that, due to both the improvement of foreign investment and the domestic economies, interest in infrastructure investment will increase, and as such, in the medium term, they are considering the possibility of managing direct investment from the Santiago office enlarging the team with the resources and expertise required.
Vladimir Colas explains: “our added valued lays in sharing with our investors and LPs, information, knowledge and strategies. We want to be close to the interests that our LPs and clients have in the region.”
Ardian is an approved asset manager for private equity and infrastructure assets by the Chilean risk rating commission (CCR), which makes them potentially eligible within the investment universe of the Chilean pension funds. Ardian is the sole foreign asset manager approved by the CCR for the infrastructure segment.
Interest in the Private debt segment
Gazitua stated that in the short term they will seek of authorization for the Private debt segment. Regarding the Real Estate segment, Gazitua adds “the requirements needed to gain the approval are demanding and we are considering asking for it once we are ready to meet them”. Colas adds that they have recently closed a fund that invest in European Real Estate assets with investor from the region, stating that there is evidence of real interest for this asset class.
Both executives end the interview by pointing out their competitive advantages versus local companies that already established in the local markets. Colas states: “We are a global and multilocal company, offering a wide variety of products (fund of funds, direct investments, infrastructure, private debt) with a significant expertise and business knowledge. We accompany our clients in their decision making process sharing our knowledge, experience and information of the different sectors.”
Gazitua adds: “Our main differentiating service is the possibility to offer our clients customized investment programs. Some investors are looking for a private equity solution where, rather than committing to a particular fund, they can invest in a number of fund and strategies combined over several years—and we have the ability to provide that solution.”