EFG International is well known in the Americas as a leader in international private wealth management, with its Miami office as flagship and over 60 CROs (client relationship officers) in the region, dedicated to Latin American clients. Now, the EFG Group has taken the initiative to put its asset management division, EFG Asset Management (EFGAM), on the map. EFGAM’s reorganization started almost five years ago, and is now ready to compete with international management groups as a specialist asset management company catering for private banking professionals through strategies distributed under its New Capital brand.
"EFG’s fund management capabilities were historically highly decentralized," says Mozamil Afzal, Global CIO for EFGAM, in an interview with Funds Society, "but after the 2009 crisis we reconstructed into a group which is much more integrated, and which has seen the closure of some businesses, the restructuring of others and a significant investment in technology and compliance, as well as the creation of a totally independent board of directors.”
EFGAM is headquartered in London with additional management centers in Miami, New York, Zurich, Geneva, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The management company has just over $9 billion in assets under management; of these, $5 billion are assets of EFG International’s HNW clients; $2 billion are from institutional accounts with management mandates, and $2.2 billion are under the strategies managed by EFG’s New Capital funds, established in 2003 and whose assets are spread approximately equally between customers from EFG’s internal channel and other external channels.
“The New Capital funds wereinitially aimed at the private banking client, but in 2009 we decided we wanted to establish the company in its own right, by building a first-class asset management company which could compete on an open architecture platform with any international asset manager," says Afzal , who, at the same time admits to value highly EFG International’s internal channel because "it provides us with seed funds for our new ideas which are also highly inspired by what the private banking customer wants. "
As a strategy, New Capital is built based on three objectives, which are a product of its history as an asset management company specializing in private banking. "We know what we want," says Afzal, "first, good returns; secondly, unique positioning of our products; and finally, an absolute return bias which defines exactly what the private banking client is looking for."
In order to meet these objectives New Capital is launching products that "we, as clients of an asset manager, would like to buy." When planning the launch of a strategy "we steer away from the most popular asset classes, because we would probably be late in the market," seeking those asset classes, which will generate better than market returns in the coming years, with a focus on the much longer term.
The strategies launched by New Capital in recent years have focused on ideas like global wealth creation, through its “Wealthy Nations" fixed income strategy; or the belief that the future of economic growth lies in Asia, an idea that was implemented by launching the Asia Pacific Equity Income and China Equity strategies. In total, New Capital has seven UCITS strategies registered in Ireland with which it positions itself as an asset manager specializing in private banking, and with which it has managed to increase its assets under management from $150 million in 2009 to $2.2 billion today. "We're not an asset manager for the retail client," says Afzal, "but for the investment professional."