Asset management is consolidating and Amundi wants to emerge as the most dominant player across the whole of Europe, the firm's deputy CIO has said.
Speaking to Citywire Selector, Vincent Mortier said the purchase of rival Pioneer Investments from UniCredit, would propel the firm to new heights.
'Once it’s complete we will be the biggest fund house in Europe. Everything is going towards a bigger asset management firm, we want to be able to cover all investment cases.’
'We want to be totally unavoidable in Europe, so when a client thinks Europe, they should think Amundi,' he said.
Mortier said the €3.5 billion purchase was a unique opportunity for Amundi to become the biggest and best in Europe, as it will see the combined firm's assets under management reach €1.2 trillion.
'More and more our industry is shifting from traditional active management, where we just want to beat the benchmark, to a more solution driven, multi-asset approach. It’s an area where we want to grow, as over the past few years a big chunk of market inflows were concentrated on multi-asset and passive investments.
'Pioneer has very big multi-asset capability and we will combine the two and once this has been done we will have €230 billion of assets in the multi-asset space.'
Breaking the US
Another component of Pioneer which interests Mortier is the US space, an area Mortier said his Asian clients are currently looking for exposure.
'For our Asian clients in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and China, they want to invest in US assets and we need to deliver this to them. At the moment we only have a small fixed income boutique in North Carolina, which is very niche.
'With the Pioneer deal, we can now say we exist in the US, as, through Pioneer, we will have all asset classes. For Pioneer we can bring to the table passives and smart beta strategies.’
Mortier said the deal remains on course and it now needs to be fully executed, a process which will not be complete until mid-June.
'At the closing of the deal, we want to be able to say to staff the full transition is complete and here is the action plan. We want to start implementing practices the day before, we don’t believe in a long integration process.'
Combining of teams
The deal between the two firms came into focus before Christmas, with Pioneer bond managers Tanguy Le Saout and Ali Chabaane being suspended and later resigning amid media reports of plans to leave to form a rival group.
Despite these senior names now having left Pioneer, Mortier said Amundi is in the process of mapping expertise across both firms in order to best combine their respective teams.
'We are in the synergy process. For example, there could be managers from both firms running fixed income portfolios, as we have a team and they have a team. Obviously we don’t need two teams, so we are thinking of ways we can combine them.
'We are looking at performances, the backgrounds of people and assets, to see what can be combined. We are being very cautious not to destroy value, it’s case-by-case and there are hundreds of situations to consider, it’s what occupies a lot of my time.'