Mexico represents a very important market for SURA Asset Management, with 23% of its assets under management and 39% of its client base. Its Afore is the third in the system in assets and fourth in clients with 460 billion pesos under management (almost 25 billion dollars). In 4 years they have gone from 13 to 15% of the afores market, which according to Pablo Sprenger, CEO at SURA Asset Management Mexico, is due to a superior performance, a positive commercial effort, and its client’s high contribution rate. Although for SURA AM "Afores are still of utmost importance", the executive points to the fund market, where they have almost 70 billion pesos, or 3.750 billion dollars in AUM, as their next main challenge.
"The average Mexican still has a long way to go in developing a savings culture. It’s not so much that they don’t save, but that they don’t use sophisticated instruments in order to do so; so there is an important opportunity to show them those," comments the Head of the company that until now was focused on the mid- segment and is now betting for serving the high-end segment and competing with private banks.
During 2017, the fund segments grew three times more than the market; as their AUM increased by 30.8% while the industry grew by 9.9%, and in voluntary savings in the afore they grew by an impressive 47%. Sprenger attributes this success to "offering: Good product with good performance, to our team, and to the service we offer through technology, for example that you can buy a fund directly on the web, which we would like to be the best investment website in Mexico in 2018, the offices, the training, and our call center". By 2018 they plan to grow 40% in funds and 35% in voluntary savings.
In order to serve the private banking client, their main efforts will focus on "positioning, as we have products and performance". According to Sprenger they will offer even more open architecture products (they already have funds from GBM, Franklin Templeton, BlackRock and Actinver). In addition, they are analyzing how to offer brokerage firm products to their clients, either by developing that area or by partnering with a good company.
On the macro situation, the executive comments that “the world will not come to an end due to Trump. Mexico is more than NAFTA. We have institutions that do work. Although 2017 was highly volatile and volatility is the new standard, the result of the election will not change Mexico’s destiny. Mexico is a country that has advanced a lot over the past 30 years. Undoubtedly there is uncertainty and volatility, but in the end, Trump doesn’t have a majority in congress and the markets have already noticed."
In the short term, Sprenger recommends staying away from the US. for high valuations. Neither does he recommend Brazil or Chile. However, he considers that "Mexico does have investment opportunities, as do Japan and some countries in Europe."