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Candriam seeks to grow institutional business in Switzerland, Germany

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Candriam, the new trading name for Dexia Asset Management, will look to expand its offering in three new territories following its rebrand and completed takeover by New York Life Investment Management (NYLIM).

The manager, which was plagued by uncertainty for more than two years as it was subject to takeover talks, saw business deteriorate as clients awaited confirmation of the firm’s future.

However, in December 2013, US-based NYLIM, the asset management arm of insurer New York Life, completed its rumoured takeover of the European manager, adding it to its multi-boutique operation.

The following February, it was announced the firm would shed its Dexia brand, moving forward from the turmoil under the name Candriam.

Naïm Abou-Jaoude, chief executive at Candriam, told IPE the brand change was necessary, would reinvigorate the business and give it a positive momentum among clients and staff.

He said now the transformation was complete, the business would focus on its third-party distribution and its institutional business – which accounts for around two-thirds of the manager’s assets.

“With our new brand offering a fresh start, coupled with the stability of the management,” Abou-Jaoude said, “we can fully enhance the business, and in particular our relationships with the consultants, who are likely to be more open to having new discussions with us on what we can offer to their clients.”

Candriam, within the next nine months, wants to grow institutional business in Switzerland and Germany while increasing third-party distribution exposure in the UK.

Abou-Jaoude said institutional business in the UK was an ambition but would be more realistic in 18 months’ time.

With regard to offerings, the chief executive said Candriam was looking to build on its previous products and provide more suitable solutions to institutional clients.

“We want to go in two directions,” he said. “One is offering a flexible multi-asset fund, and a multi-asset income fund, which will capture the spreads from different asset class.

“The second is short high-yield offering, using a combination of long-short strategies.”

The firm is also working on equity products for its insurance clients that will utilise the benefits of derivatives, mitigating the downside of equity investing, and reducing the capital requirements under Solvency II.

In terms of the asset manager’s new partnership with NYLIM, the firm said its expansion would not include the US, given its complementary offering to its parent’s other boutiques.

“We cover some other products NYLIM does not have, so the idea is to complement the offering and see how we can develop synergies on both sides,” Abou-Jaoude said.

Yie-Hsin Hung, co-president of NYLIM and chair of Candriam, told IPE the boutique owner would also continue its expansion after its foray in the European market with the Dexia acquisition.

“We continue to want to grow our business,” she said.

“Our aspiration would be to grow in areas we don’t have a presence today, but our immediate focus is that Candriam is successful and can leverage all the resources available from NYLIM.”

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