January 13, 2013 4:14 am

March Gestión looks beyond Spain

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Soaring outflows from Spanish mutual funds and Spain’s dismal economy are forcing March Gestión de Fondos, the boutique asset management arm of Banca March, to recruit investors from other European countries.

As cash-strapped Spaniards flee from mutual funds, March Gestión, which has €2.2bn under management, is embarking on a drive to widen its base of European investors in a bid to grow its assets. Its campaign coincides with Spaniards withdrawing as much as €42bn from mutual funds since the start of 2010, according to Lipper.

“These days it can be tough to be Spanish,” José Luis Jiménez, head of March Gestión, told FTfm. “We’ve managed to grow our assets under management, so that makes us a strange beast in Spain’s financial industry.”

By teaming up with private banks and family offices in the UK and elsewhere in Europe to sell Luxembourg-based Sicavs, Mr Jiménez hopes to widen the group’s influence outside of Spain.

Its three funds on offer in Luxembourg are the €60m March Vini Catena fund, which invests in stocks related to the wine business, the €20m Family Businesses fund, which invests only in stock market-listed family companies, and Torrenova, the group’s flagship €500m global absolute return fund.

March Gestión first began efforts to attract investors from wider Europe, by arranging partnership agreements with Italian wealth managers, including Cassa Lombarda and Unicasim. It is also holding talks with Austrian and UK banks.

Registering with the Financial Services Authority, in a bid to drop its anchor in the UK market, is under consideration as well.

“We prefer to go shop by shop in Europe. We’re still a small investment boutique. We try to excel at the things we do,” says Mr Jimenez.

Since 2008, the group’s assets have come close to doubling from €1.2bn to €2.2bn under management. Banca March, a family-owned Majorcan lender, is one of the most strongly capitalised in the world, with a solvency ratio of 27 per cent.

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