Mr. Voss, who will retain his post as head of CDC IXIS AM's North American operations, was named chairman in mid-February after Daniel Roy stepped down from the post. French reports said weak performance earnings might have contributed to the appointment. While sources said Mr. Roy did his job in "internationalizing" the business, Mr. Voss' job is to re-establish profitability. Mr. Voss brought the North American business to a sound level of productivity and profitability and was asked to step in to duplicate this achievement for the entire business, sources said.
Mr. Voss already has some preliminary plans for growth. He said he hopes to bring in American enthusiasm and a strong business focus to raise the profitability mark. He will also look to bring in investment expertise from some parts of the North American business, like Boston-based Loomis, Sayles & Co., to increase these efforts. Loomis, Sayles has strong credit research, noted Mr. Voss.
The main focus is on product development and investment performance in order to achieve higher alpha. The other goal is to get higher fees, he said. The European market tends to be very benchmark-driven, with low tracking error relative to a benchmark. The focus will be on higher alpha and therefore strategies with more tracking error.
CDC IXIS AM will look to grow in areas such as hedge funds, real estate, REIT fund of funds, small-cap and midcap value and growth equity strategies. Typically, these types of products are competitively compensated, and this is where the firm would look for higher fees, Mr. Voss said. It will also create limited partnership funds.
There are also plans to grow the firm through acquisitions. The firm stepped up acquisition activity last year with the purchase of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based international equity manager Hansberger Global Investors in the first quarter.
Mr. Voss said CDC IXIS will also seek to buy its way into the alternatives area, when the firm is ready. And real estate will play a role, as Mr. Voss tries to appeal to European investors as well as non-European clients who want to invest in real estate in Europe.