Amundi is joining forces with the French alternative and atomic energy commission (CEA) to create an independent asset management company focused on private equity financing of technical innovation projects in France.

The new company, Supernova Invest, will take over funds currently managed by CEA Investissement, a subsidiary of the energy commission (Le Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives), but is also intended to create and manage new “capital innovation” funds for third parties.

Those involved said they expected Supernova to have more than €200m in assets under management by June. It is aiming to reach €1bn by 2020, according to a statement from Amundi and CEA.

CEA Investissement and Amundi Private Equity Funds (PEF) will each have a 40% stake in the new company, and the CEA Investissement team will own the remaining 20%.

Funds managed by Supernova are intended to provide capital for companies at different stages of development, from start-ups to mature companies, the statement said. Financing is to support two major types of technical innovation: “breakthrough innovation”, based on intensive development of disruptive technologies, and “innovation through use”, based more on mature technologies in the digital economy.

One of the company’s first clients is Crédit Agricole, which has entrusted Supernova with the management of a new fund, for which it has raised €50m so far. 

Christophe Gégout, deputy managing director of the CEA and chairman of CEA Investissement, said: “The creation of Supernova Invest represents the alliance of the CEA’s credibility in technological innovation and the best in private equity management with an experienced, highly successful investment team, that of CEA Investissement.”

The creation of Supernova Invest is not the first time Amundi has joined forces with outside industry for an investment partnership. In 2014 the French asset manager teamed up with French energy group EDF to create a €1.5bn infrastructure joint venture.

Investment industry at ‘existential crossroads’

The CFA Institute has published a study, the “Future State of the Investment Profession”, which it said describes “an industry at an existential crossroads”.

According to the institute, the study warns that investment industry leaders have to transform their business models as they may otherwise jeopardise the future of their companies.

To help industry leaders it has developed a series of planning scenarios derived by combining megatrends affecting all industries with other forces specific to the investment industry.

The study also includes findings from a survey of 1,145 industry leaders on topics such as leadership skills, investment trends, and business models.

Findings include:

  • 73% of respondents expected environmental, social, and governance factors to become more influential;
  • 70% expected to see more assets going into passive investment vehicles;
  • 63% expected profit margins at asset management firms to remain flat or to contract; and
  • 57% expected institutional investors would look to reduce costs by insourcing more investment management activities.

The report can be found here.

Asset manager investor targets growth

iM Square, a European investment and development platform targeting stakes in asset management companies,  is in discussions with “several North American institutional investors” in relation to a second fundraising round, it said in a statement today.

It is aiming to raise €200m before the end of June, it said, and to reach €400m in the next 2-3 years. iM Square said this would enable it to acquire stakes in 5-7 asset managers in the US and Europe.

In 2016, it acquired a French asset management company, which led to the creation of iM Global Partner, the group’s first distribution platform. This has begun marketing funds, according to the statement.

The company was launched in 2015, with Amundi, Eurazeo, and the Dassault Groupe/La Maison as joint founding shareholders.