„Family offices, private bankers and HNWIs also like to discuss topics such as asset allocation, product selection, fund boutiques and sustainability“ (Interview – Markus Hill)

The “Private Wealth Germany Forum” conference will take place in Munich on 16th October. The independent industry expert Markus Hill will moderate a panel there. He will talk to decision-makers from family offices, private banking and the fund industry about trends and tendencies in the due diligence of products in liquid and non-liquid asset classes. The selection of alternative investments will be the focus of the discussion. One of these topics is also closely related to the topics of the MH Roundtable “Cologne & Sustainability” on November 6. As at the LRI Investment Summit and FundForum events in Copenhagen in the first half of the year, topics such as product selection, product management and critical aspects in areas such as ESG and impact investing will be discussed intensively. IPE D.A.CH editor-in-chief Frank Schnattinger spoke with him about the panel, further conference content and current topics in the fund boutique and service investment company sector.

IPE D.A.CH: Which topics will be addressed at the conference “Private Wealth Germany”?

Hill: I’ve had the opportunity to host a family office Panel in 2017. The focus is on private wealth management, asset management, “dependent” and independent. It also offers roundtables with product providers, where individual topics are further deepened. Few topics which are also interesting for family offices and HNWIs. Current topics this year will again be developments in the family office segment, asset allocation for liquid and non-liquid assets, due diligence criteria and the outlook in the respective market segments.

IPE D.A.CH: Which points will be taken up and discussed with your panel?

Hill: Regarding the content in particular, I will not pressure my panelist. The title of the panel is “Emerging and Opportunistic Alternative Investing”. Participants will be Marcel Müller of HQ Trust, Antje Biber of FERI, Daniel Kerbach of Merck Finck, Jürgen Blumberg of Goldman Sachs and Martin Heimes of responsAbility. How will HNWI consultants view expected returns in areas such as currency, private equity, real estate, hedge funds and credit? How are new investments in alternative investments assessed and how could their significance be in the future? Keywords: Cryptocurrency, agricultural investments, water and more sustainability themes and products in ESG, SRI and impact investing. How should we look at ETFs in this context? What opportunities and risks exist here in the area of asset allocation and product selection? The time is limited but I hope for an intensive dialogue with investors and product providers in the audience. The conference provides itself a forum for constructive exchange of ideas. Family offices, private bankers and HNWIs also like to discuss topics such as asset allocation, product selection, fund boutiques and sustainability.

IPE D.A.CH: What other topics and product fields will be addressed at the event in Munich?

Hill: Two years ago, I moderated a panel on family offices and governance, trends in the field. That will take place again this year. One of my former panelists, J. Christian Stadermann, will be moderating it. I’m looking forward to the discussion on this topic, personally speaking a bit biased. Of course, topics such as global investment outlook, strategic and tactical asset allocation, portfolio construction, artificial intelligence (AI), value investing, fixed income, equities and the role of ESG, ETFs and Smart Beta will also be intensified and discussed at various panels and roundtables. For one are the topics at such conferences fascinating along with an additional joy to discuss with speakers, investment companies and investors. Last year I attended as a guest and was impressed to have had an engaging conversation.

IPE D.A.CH: Which topics are you currently intensely occupied with?

Hill: At the moment I’m intensely looking at fund managers for two different search mandates. One concerns fund managers in the ESG, SRI and impact investing theme segments. Due to the current “press hype” it is already more difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. On single family office (SFO) segment it is the selection of interesting fund boutiques in the field of value investing. On the one hand, I closely monitor well known addresses, and on the other hand, I find the range of boutiques from the second row quite interesting. There are a variety of managers, for example, who have interesting, impressive track records, but are hardly known, so I also speak with many selectors, as an exchange of ideas often bestowing me interesting hints. I am frequently approached by providers in the segment, not only the DACH region, which corridors to beneficial communication. To my surprise that many good addresses are barely visible, therefore I am grateful for any hint from investor as well as provider side. Constantly I am monitoring a lot but to 97% feeling is “technical not convincing”. Keeping on mind that I have to pass the shortlist to my client, which means I have a personal reputation risk for my recommendation of asset managers (“skin in the game”). Honestly speaking on this point, I personally know many of the boutiques and would like to advertise to stay in focus on the selection process for the shortlist where factual argument plays a vital role. Another topic, which is indirectly related to the first search topic – I will be organising and moderating a MH Roundtable in Cologne on November 6, 2019.
Last year, Warburg-Invest kindly supported me in an event with Reiner Konrad from FOCAM and Manfred Gridl from Gridl Asset Management. This year, I am supported by Anton Bonnländer from the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (BfS). An interview with him at IPE D.A.CH with me is also there. I had him as speaker this year at LRI Investment Summit on topic of impact investing and the social economy. At the FundForum in Copenhagen and at the LRI Group event, my family office panels were about same topics mentioned above. On the upcoming event “Cologne & Sustainability” I’ll briefly explain the results of product search in this segment and the current discussions. Anton Bonnländer will talk about topics such as due diligence of funds in the ESG & SRI segment (liquid products), as well as current trends in product management at the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (non liquid products). Rainer Herber of Deutsche Oppenheim Family Office AG will speak about due diligence on products in the segment illiquid investments. Private debt, private equity, venture capital – from previous discussions with Mr. Herber I know that are certain points to be considered. My panelists at the above mentioned Private Wealth Forum in Munich, Antje Biber from FERI, who has made me aware fo Dr. Martin Vogelsang of the Bundesinitiative Impact Investing („Federal Initiative Impact Investing“). Dr. Vogelsang will participate in Cologne and will deliver a lecture, regarding content we need to finalize still. Impact investing, investor education could be potential topics for discussion in Cologne. In terms of content, I do not want to pressure him. I am happy to have also Mr. Peter Brock (SFO/FO advisory)as a speaker. Mr. Peter Brock, likewise to Dr. Vogelsang is engaged at Bundesinitiative Impact Investing. He is moderating there the working group Family Offices. In Cologne he will be talking for example topics like direct investment, M&A, networking in the field family office.

IPE D.A.CH: You have been observing the area of fund boutiques and private label funds very intensively for years, what interesting tendencies do you see there?

Hill: That’s right, here I have also received and receive intensive support from investment companies as an independent market observer (sponsoring). Once again expressly mentioning for reasons of transparency. My core activities are special project topics (manager search, seed money search, “promotion support” for selected boutiques – sponsoring the exchange of ideas on specialist topics with the fund selectors side. My move to manager selection and funds boutiques (private label fund industry) was at that time a “rent-a-senior” project for a fund of funds manager with a stronger focus on marketing, sales and public relations. Interestingly enough, at this stage, I’ve slipped more and more into product selection, perhaps because, in addition to previous fund sales experience, I worked for many years in product management in the capital markets division of a bank under the board of management. I closely follow the activities of investment companies such as Universal-Investment, Ampega, Hansainvest, LRI Group, Axxion, IPConcept, Hauck & Aufhäuser etc. All of these houses (you could also name many more, including foreign ones – UBS, Credit Suisse, LGT, BNY Mellon, Kas Bank, etc.) promote boutique ideas in the industry and provide many fund initiators with access to relevant networks in the industry.
Among other things, because I need to have an overview of interesting boutique approaches in search mandates. Universal-Investment as a German market leader in the field of launching private label funds has supported me for many, many years through a “scholarship” ( sponsorship) to observe the topic topic private label funds competently and to comment independently (articles, lectures, sponsoring a “study” etc.) For their support I thank them very much. Currently (transparency!) Ampega supports me by a “scholarship” in the market observation and in the processing of specialised topics. I am grateful for the fact that I can also take all competitors into account in my communication since I am independent. The common thread here is, similar to the active support of the boutiques by the VuV in Frankfurt („Association of Independent Asset Managers Germany eV“), the substantive accompaniment of topics in this area. Of course I mention the sponsor, but also the other investment companies. Basically there is no big competition, every investment company has its own strengths and its own profile. Without wanting to anticipate things – at the moment I am extensively pursuing the topic of event formats (Ampega: Auf.Den.Punkt. and FondsmanagerRunde, UVS-Events, Hidden Champions Event organised by Jürgen Dumschat etc.). Similar to the successful investors events of your house for many years. I also like to look at boutique addresses and appreciate the format, offering the investment company in this direction a variety of support for their fund initiators. Also very interesting, an in depth discussion found to be “worthy”: Is it actually useful for the so called fund initiators (portfolio manager, private label funds, fund boutiques) to select an investment company only by the organisation of beauty contests with the primary focus price? Are there any other parameters that could possibly add more value and clarity to the selection? For additional input, suggestions also from Boutiques side, I will be very grateful.

IPE D.A.CH: Thank you for the interview.


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