PARIS — Private client boutique Carmignac Gestion is chasing institutional clients, hoping to benefit from the shift to specialist mandates from balanced ones in France and neighboring countries.
The Paris-based firm does business in Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy, and is poised to register its offerings in Germany and Spain within the next two months, said Miriam Mascherin, co-managing director in the Luxembourg office.
Carmignac tripled its assets under management during the past 18 months, to €2.4 billion ($3 billion), of which 30% is institutional. Most of the institutional business is from funds of funds.
Nathalie Boullefort-Fulconis, global head of institutional business for AXA Investment Managers, Paris, noted institutional clients in France seeking more diversification are hiring more boutiques for niche strategies.
Carmignac's philosophy is to anticipate market movements, said Ms. Mascherin. It prides itself on being "courageous" by often going against the benchmark weightings, she added.
In difficult market conditions, Ms. Mascherin said, Carmignac finds itself somewhere between traditional fund management and hedging. The firm emphasizes absolute performance in a down market by staying as close to 0% returns as possible, so when the markets start to rise, client portfolios can pop back up more quickly, she said.
The firm offers emerging markets, commodities, balanced and global stock funds.
Frederic Leroux, fund manager responsible for macroeconomic analysis and risk management, said Carmignac's commodities and emerging markets equity funds have generated the most interest from institutional clients. Among the investment management firms with which it does business is BNP Paribas Asset Management, Paris. Officials there didn't return calls.
Carmignac executives are trying to generate institutional interest in its core products, the balanced, flexible Carmignac Patrimoine, and an active global equity fund, Carmignac Investissements.
When asked why a firm that was trying to capitalize on the shift away from balanced mandates would offer a balanced fund, Ms. Mascherin noted institutional clients are seeking active management styles, irrespective of whether the mandates are dynamic, balanced or defensive.
As an example of the balanced fund's nimbleness, Patrimoine can be 50% stocks one day and go to zero stocks the next. It is always 50% in bonds.
Dominique Dorlipo, director general for Russell, Paris, said he's not surprised Carmignac is moving into the institutional arena. Institutional clients are investing in shares of mutual funds, an area of strength for Carmignac.