The RBC Dexia/Accenture report predicts further concentration of Spain’s asset management industry into fewer, more specialised managers and a stronger focus on improving efficiency and performance. Improvements in technology will also be vital to success, with outsourcing high on the agenda. José Maria Alonso-Gama, managing director of RBC Dexia in Spain, sets the scene, explaining that: “Spanish fund firms are concentrating on bottom-line indicators such as fund performance and increased assets under management. They recognise the need to restore credibility and investor confidence by showing they are delivering on their performance promises.”
The report is based on a survey of 33 asset management firms in Spain in the first quarter of 2012 by RBC Dexia Investor Services and Accenture. Some 33% of respondents have more than €1bn in assets under management (AUM), 46% have between €200m and €1bn in AUM and 21% have less than €200m in AUM.
Although the industry is dominated by a small number of firms, with the top three managers accounting for 45 percent of assets under management, the average size of funds in Spain is only €57m. This compares with an average of €300m in Switzerland and €262m in the UK. The total number of funds in Spain has been contracting (down by about 20% to 2,500 in the past three years due to industry consolidation) and the report expects this trend to continue with, “The evolution of larger and more specialised companies with rationalised fund ranges”.
Also according to the report, of the 33 investment companies surveyed, 95% of local managers and 91% of foreign managers cited increased assets under management as a key indicator of success over the next two years. Fund performance was cited by 91% and 73% respectively and increased service quality by 86% and 45%. When it came to development of new products, 36% of foreign managers cited this as important but only 9% of local managers.
Over 80% of independent managers in Spain believe that the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities IV (UCITS IV) directive will make it easier to distribute investment funds abroad by creating a common regulatory environment. However, 70% of local managers were also concerned that it would lead to increased competition from overseas funds while independent managers were worried it would result in increased reporting obligations.
More than two-thirds of respondents cited improving technology as the most important factor in increasing efficiency. Most managers (90% of foreign managers and all local Spanish managers) expected an increase in the number of fund managers outsourcing certain functions in coming years. And 90% of those surveyed said there would be an increase in the diversity of functions outsourced in coming years. “The increased risks control imposed by new regulations and cross-border distribution opportunities that they also create, require increasingly sophisticated technology,” says Diego López Abellán, of Accenture’s Capital Markets practice for Spain. “Outsourcing can play a pivotal role in enabling continuous technology upgrades while avoiding costly investment.