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IPE Top 400: Swiss asset managers hit by foreign exchange volatility

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  • IPE Top 400: Swiss asset managers hit by foreign exchange volatility
  • IPE Top 400: Swiss asset managers hit by foreign exchange volatility

SWITZERLAND - A number of the larger Swiss asset managers have been hit by the strength of the Swiss franc and net outflows in assets under management (AUM), according to IPE’s Top 400 Asset Managers 2012 survey.

Overall, European institutional AUM for the 21 Swiss asset managers surveyed in 2011-12 fell from €474bn to €467bn year on year.

Credit Suisse saw European institutional assets under management drop from €140.7bn to €126.4bn.

Likewise, UBS Global Asset Management saw AUM fall from €103.6bn to €94.1bn over the same period.

Pictet Asset Management’s AUM remained largely flat, falling slightly from €75.9bn to €75.8bn.

Zürcher Kantonalbank Asset Management bucked the trend, growing AUM from €14.7bn to nearly €23.4bn.

Rounding out the Top 5, Bank Sarasin & Co also grew AUM slightly, from €21.5bn to €22.5bn.

In their annual reports, most Swiss asset managers cited adverse foreign exchange effects for the decline in AUM.

But Zürcher Kantonalbank Asset Management told IPE it managed to increase its business based on CHF9.5bn in net inflows from institutional investors and corporate customers.

Similarly, Gottex Fund Management, a global alternative investment specialist, managed to offset foreign exchange effects, which reduced assets, through “net client inflow” and “net performance”.

LGT Capital Management increased assets by taking over the insurance linked business ILS from Swiss bank Clariden Leu in spring of this year.

Meanwhile, the Swiss asset management industry is aiming to strengthen its position in the long term through a new campaign.

The Swiss Fund Association (SFA), to which most major asset managers belong, has joined forces with the Swiss Bankers Association (SBV) to come up with measures to “strengthen asset management as the third pillar of Switzerland as a financial centre”.

More than CHF1.3trn in institutional assets is currently managed in Switzerland, generating an annual profit of around CHF7.5bn, according to an SFA spokesman.

He added: “Due to political stability, the strength of the Swiss franc and its high-quality financial infrastructure, Switzerland is well positioned to strengthen its position in the asset management business and increase its attractiveness for clients, as well as foreign asset managers.”

For the association, the three key factors for achieving this goal will be “branding, market access and the regulatory environment”.

The SFA’s spokesman said the associations also hoped changes to the law on collective investments, on which parliament is to vote this autumn, “might play a part”.

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