An inspiring discussion by six experts in Lugano
• Caduff: Lady and Gentlemen, what investment solutions do you present to investors in Lugano?
Dellepiane: HANetf is Europe’s first independent white label UCITS ETF issuer. HANetf offers more than 20 ETPs listed in the most prominent European exchanges, covering a wide range of differentiated, modern and innovative UCITS ETFs and ETCs. In the past months it has expanded its presence into the European fund market by launching ten new thematic ETFs, including Europe’s first space ETF, airlines ETF, software ETF and a host of clean energy ETFs including Europe’s first pure play solar energy ETF and distributed renewable energy ETF. HANetf also launched HANzero, a ground-breaking product enhancement which seeks to neutralise the carbon emissions of a portfolio by purchasing Carbon Offsets in climate-positive projects, bringing the first carbon neutral investments available in the ETF wrapper.
Nilssen: As we focus exclusively on European equities, we offer investors tailored access to concentrated European portfolios, either through segregated managed accounts (SMA) or through our investment funds. We group our SMA in clusters such as Swiss equities, Europe ex Switzerland, or a range of tailored solutions in between. We screen the European universe through our proprietary investment process that evaluates quality companies, but with a growth element that is not financed by debt. Our portfolios are concentrated, from 15 to 30 positions for our investment funds, thus requiring a highly disciplined investment approach. Our offering is always tailored to our client.
Bruggeman: We work tirelessly to be the first choice for active investors and SMEs by providing them with a trusted and secure access to our Exchange through sensible solutions. In addition to a wide range of structured products (deriBX), AMCs, ETFs and bonds, foreign shares from over 36 markets can also be traded on BX Swiss AG. We are redefining what it means to be a stock exchange. This is important at a time when the stock exchange landscape is undergoing democratisation and a broad investor base wants to directly access the stock exchange.
Bucci: Thanks for the questions as we feel it is relevant to a flexible, sustainable and in continuous development company like MFEX. During the last years, apart refining the quality of our two service pillars trading & custody and rebate collection, MFEX worked in order to place itself as a business partner that would quickly adapt to the regulatory and operational developments. For this reason we enhanced our data solutions and compliance tools, adding them to our product offering. More in concrete we observe in the Swiss market a particular attention to alternative investment solutions that are already available in our platform. Finally, thanks to the recent announcement of Euroclear Group acquiring MFEX, it represents a partnership that will create a significant value added for our clients, providing a unique entry point for mutual funds, ETFs and alternative investments.
Salzmann: We have a range of investment managers and strategies that we are presenting to investors in Lugano. These include Finisterre Capital and the total return strategy for emerging market bonds, as well as a fund operated by Spectrum Asset Management that invests in preferred securities. On the high yield side, we are discussing a limited term high yield strategy, managed by our Los Angeles based boutique Post Advisory. Lastly, we have interactions with regards to our US equity strategy, managed by Aligned Investors, which focusses on investing for the long-term in competitively advantaged businesses led by owner-operators.
Prömm: We primarily target investors who are looking to build up their assets over the long term and who, like us, see investments as long-term holdings in successful companies. With our modern value investment approach, which we implement in our mandates, we look for companies that are able to grow at an above-average rate over a longer period of time and generate a high return on the invested capital. We call such companies «wonderful companies». And these companies currently have another advantage: due to characteristics such as their economic moat, which gives them pricing power, as well as their moderate debt, they are well positioned even in an environment of low rates and rising inflation.
• Caduff: Do you make differences between individual financial centres or is the offer always the same?
Salzmann: Principal Global Investors offers a broad array of investment strategies to a vast range of clients from over 65 countries. As a global investment manager, we seek to offer products and strategies best suited to the investors in the markets in which we operate. Our solutions are designed to appeal to the needs of a diversified range of financial centers.
Nilssen: Our offering is tailored to the needs of our clients and investors, focused on European equities rather than on having different offerings for various financial centres.
Dellepiane: HANetf is fully committed to bring each of its products to all the main European exchanges including London Stock Exchange, Frankfurt’s Deutsche Börse and Milan’s Borsa Italiana, but also to other main financial centers such as Euronext Amsterdam, Euronext Paris, Vienna’s Wiener Börse and SIX Swiss Exchange where HANetf has currently listed nine products and is looking forward to listing more in the near future.
Bruggeman: Through our Exchange we offer access to the world: so instead of going to individual financial centres, we bring the different financial centers to you through our offering. We were able to record good growth in all areas. Since this year, market participants can also trade bonds with us. We have thus become a full-service provider in all asset classes and now offer around 30,000 instruments.
Prömm: We are an owner-operated investment boutique based in Frankfurt and do what we do best: identify wonderful companies. The modern value approach is our DNA, which is in all of our mandates. Our «Frankfurter Funds» are designed towards different investor preferences, from conservative to offensive. Investor needs are the same from Geneva to Lugano to Zurich: not to lose money if possible and to achieve sustainable returns, preferably with an ESG overlay. The Fundplat roundtables in the various financial centers of Switzerland enable us to present our answers to a broad local audience. We are very happy to be back on the road and see people in real live. Our own events which we partner with DJE Kapital and Bellevue Asset Management will also take part in Switzerland next year.
Bucci: MFEX distinguishes itself in the market by offering ad-hoc solutions and listening to the needs of their clients. Flexibility in this market is a must and MFEX offers customized services to our clients. Nevertheless, we have a strong presence in all major financial centers providing solutions which are well recognised by the financial market. Thanks to this international flavour builded with local know-how, MFEX is considered as a trusted actor, driving discussion for the development of the funds industry.
• Caduff: How did the year go for your company, can you already reveal something for 2022 (e.g. new products)?
Bruggeman: 2021 - a year marked by the Corona pandemic, remote work & volatile markets. Due to our consistent investment during the recent years in setting up digital business process, we were able to operate fully from home. Furthermore, we were even able to increase our turnover in trading and were further able to expand and build up our BX Swiss product universe. Only last week we have announced a new fee model for listed companies. Companies, listed in our segment «SME Main Market», will now receive a 20 percent share of the trading revenues. With this step we support SMEs listed with us in their future growth and thus also making our Exchange more attractive for enterprises to list at our Exchange. Next to newly listed companies on BX Swiss exchange, investors will be able to benefit from a further growing product offering on our Exchange. Stay tuned.
Nilssen: The year 2021 has been a prolongation of our multiyear performance record and we intend to continue what we have been doing successfully, picking companies that we believe will outperform in the long run. Our favoured companies are characterized by industry-leading business models, strong balance sheets, high profitability, and above-average free cash flow generation. Such companies should also perform well in a future market environment. We are also looking to increase our visibility, so expect to hear more from us in 2022!
Salzmann: 2021 has been a successful year, as we have increased our footstep in Switzerland, both by fostering stronger relationships with existing clients and prospects and by developing new relationships. As part of this dynamic, we are covering Switzerland holistically through the Zürich office. Clearly, we all live in challenging times, but as we look forward to 2022, we continue to seek out opportunities to best meet the needs of our clients, including launching new products and services that add value, particularly in the ESG and sustainability space.
Bucci: In the last years we have seen globally more interest in MFEX services and consequently an important growth in our client range and products. Infact, thanks to the entrance of MFEX into Euroclear Group, we will be able to respond to a market need to collaborate with a one-stop shop, providing solutions for the whole spectrum of financial intermediaries needs. This is led by a cost rationalism where financial intermediaries privileges having business with counterparty that can enhance scalability, cost efficiency and risk management. Above reasoning will generate a solution providing clearing, issuing, collateral management and global fund distribution solution.
Prömm: 2021 was a good year for us. On the one hand, this was due to the fact that value stocks performed well overall, and on the other hand, many investors are paying more attention to quality again due to the high valuations, especially of US tech stocks. And that often leads them to our «wonderful companies». Our flagship mandate has achieved a performance of more than 18 percent so far this year, and the offensive strategy has even achieved more than 43 percent. This success is also reflected in the inflows. We are an equity house with a high stock-picking expertise. This characterises all our products. This year we created our own «Frankfurter Modern Value Index» which is live on Bloomberg under the ticker FRAX and are working on launching an ETF based on our index.
Dellepiane: 2021 has been a remarkable year for HANetf. Its assets under management (AuM) has grown of more than 100 percent passing from 1 bn US dollars to more than 2 bn US dollars, despite the turbulences of markets around the globe this year. 2021 has also been great in terms of new launches and listings with more than ten new ETPs available to European investors across all the main European exchanges and the plan to launch more in the next months. Two of HANetf’s fund launches from late 2020 have already passed the milestone of 50 mn US dollars in AuM: the ETF providing investors with exposure to companies at the forefront of the digital infrastructure revolution and the world’s first climate change ETF that provides exposure to the performance of companies offering products and services that enable CO2 avoidance.
Lucas Bruggeman, since February 2020 the new CEO of BX Swiss. Previously, he worked as partner and investor with the Swiss alternative data provider Sentifi AG (since 2013). Bruggeman began his career in 1995 at ABN Amro Bank in the bond trading department with stations in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and London. From 2006 to 2011, he was responsible for the bank's private investor products division in Switzerland. From 2011 to 2013, Lucas Bruggeman was a member of the executive management of the Liechtensteinische Landesbank (Schweiz) AG in Zurich. He lives with his family on Lake Zurich since 2004.
16 years business professional mostly spent in the funds industry sector. Started in State Street Luxembourg, then moving to Banca Sella Luxembourg where Paolo Bucci covered different roles in the trading desk department. Consequently he specialized in Nordea Investment Funds becoming sales manager for the retail business. Since almost three years heading the MFEX business development in Italy, Swiss Ticino and Greece.
Annacarla Dellepiane is Head of Sales Italy for HANetf, with over eight years of experience in ETFs. She is responsible for growing the company’s Italian sales capability across its range of thematic, commodity, crypto, carbon offsetting and active ETF products. Dellepiane joins from LGIM where she spent three years as head of ETF capital markets, EMEA. Prior to this, she worked at BlackRock for three years between 2013 and 2016 before joining State Street Global Advisors in the ETF capital markets team. Annacarla Dellepiane holds one Master of Engineering from Politecnico di Torino and a Master in Management from ESCP Europe.
Magnus Nilssen began his career in 2002 and joined Crystal Asset Management in 2021. He holds a BA (Hons) in International Business Studies from the European Business School in London and an MSc in International Finance from the Westminster Business School. He gained extensive experience of business development, sales and alternative investments in London, Oslo, Berlin and Zurich working at various asset management companies.
Philipp Prömm is Head of Marketing and Sales as well as Managing Director at Shareholder Value Management AG. Before he joined Shareholder Value in 2012, he was a board member and founder of Fundmatrix AG, one of Europes first full-service fund distributors. At Fundmatrix AG he was responsible for the selection of various asset managers from all over the world and developed distribution for them in German-speaking Europe. Before founding Fundmatrix AG, Philipp Proemm was Product Manager for mutual funds at Credit Suisse Asset Management (Deutschland) GmbH. Philipp Prömm graduated from the Justus Liebig University in Giessen with a degree in business administration. His diploma thesis analyzed Price-Earnings-Ratios in a cooperation with B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co. KgaA.
Christoph Salzmann is a Director of Swiss fund distribution at Principal Global Investors (Switzerland), since 2019. He has over 30 years of experience in financial markets and started his career with Swiss Bank Corporation in 1991. After its merger with UBS he worked as a relationship manager for private clients. In 2002 he worked in active portfolio advisory for the international UHNW team. In 2014 Christoph Salzmann joined BNPP AM, responsible for banks, family offices and EAMs in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
Thomas J. Caduff is the CEO of Fundplat LLC. He has worked in the financial industry for about 40 years. His professional experience includes roles at the stock exchange commissariat of the Canton of Zurich, Bank Vontobel, Credit Suisse and UBS. Thomas J. Caduff also served for three decades in one division and multiple brigades of the Swiss Army, as a communication/media officer.