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- Tara Doyle, partner, head of asset
- Padraig Kenny, managing
director Ireland, RBC Investor and Treasury
- Fergus McCarthy, head of UK and
Ireland intermediary distribution, BNY Mellon Investment
- Des Fullam, director, Carne
Global Financial Services
- Pat Lardner, CEO, Irish
- Furio Pietribiasi, managing
director, Mediolanum Asset Management
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Pat Lardner: Let’s start by talking
about recent changes from a client
perspective – what are you
hearing from investors and how are their
Furio Pietribiasi: In the retail space
we should start by distinguishing between the
Irish/UK market and continental Europe because there are
different distributing models. On the continent it happens
mainly through the banks, whereas in Ireland/UK you have a lot
of distribution coming through independent financial advisors
That said, in general there has been a shift away from
government bonds by the traditional buy-and-hold investors
towards investment products. If you look at last year, the
biggest growth market – southern Europe, particularly
in Italy and Spain – had such a low yield environment
that bonds were no longer a viable opportunity.
The days of 6-7% returns with low risk, because they were
guaranteed by the state, are over and investors have to engage
with professional money managers to seek better returns.
We have seen a huge number of existing and new asset
managers increasing cross-border distribution into the European
market, pushing their own products and bringing competition to
a new and unprecedented level, which is very good for final
clients if properly advised.
Lardner: One impact of low interest rates
and a search for yield and different returns streams is that
there are more multi-asset solutions. How does that manifest
itself in the types of solutions that you are being asked to
bring to market?
Fergus McCarthy: One of the things that we
have seen from a UK perspective post-RDR [Retail Distribution
Review] is that unless you have some form of captive
distribution, or vertical integration more correctly,
fund-of-funds are too expensive for consumers.
Investors are much more aware of the total cost of ownership
of a fund, which has led to a move from fund-of-funds towards
There is correlation in the pension world as well, where we
have seen a significant rise in the number of schemes moving
from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC).
Pietribiasi: While in the UK the main
driver behind investors’ decisions currently
appear to be cost, in continental Europe it has been risk
appetite supporting the growth of multiassets strategies, due
more to the fact that people are scared about volatility.
Investors are looking for outcomeoriented solutions and
there is a greater focus on dividends – the growth of
products paying dividends is massive. All the best-selling
funds have been driven by the concept of dividends because
investors with significant savings need their money to generate
an income on a regular basis.