AMC – an innovative and flexible instrument for any investment strategy

Read the interview with Fabio Oertle, CFA, ISP Group’s Head of Structured Products and AMCs, in Fundplat GmbH, the leading platform for the fund industry.

About the person

Fabio Oertle, a native of Ticino, grew up in the city of St. Gallen and graduated from the University of St. Gallen with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master's degree in Banking and Finance. Fabio started his career in the field of structured products and actively managed certificates (AMCs) in the Investment Banking department of UBS in Opfikon. Subsequently, he deepened his derivatives know-how at Bank Vontobel in the areas of structuring, trading and distribution, among others. During his employment at the Zurich-based investment house, he also opened and set up a derivatives structuring desk in Singapore. In 2020, he left Bank Vontobel together with other colleagues to set up and head the Structured Products and AMC department.

 

Mr Oertle, can you say a few words about your company?

With pleasure! ISP stands for “Investment Solution Partners” and represents a globally active Swiss financial institution that has been in existence since 1993. The name says it all because we see ourselves as a sparring partner that works out customised investment solutions together with our clients. Of course, we also offer our clientele of professional asset managers, banks and family offices standardised investment solutions. This includes a product range with structured products, AMCs and bond brokerage, as well as services such as securitisation and asset and fund management. Thanks to a very strong, entrepreneurial DNA, our family-like boutique strives on a daily basis to analyse even very complex situations and to find potential opportunities for clients.


Which activity is the most important in Switzerland?

In line with our understanding of business as described above, we do not focus on specific activities, let alone departments. Our focus is always on the client and their needs, which we want to satisfy with the most holistic, efficient and professional ecosystem possible. However, ISP has grown significantly in recent years due to enormous client demand in the areas of securitisation and AMCs. In our team alone, we have grown from three employees to a team of over 10 specialists over the past two years and have been able to further promote ISP’s service-oriented and entrepreneurial image both in Switzerland and internationally.

 

So-called AMCs are obviously becoming more and more popular. What are the advantages?

Indeed, AMCs have been enjoying a steady increase in demand for more than 10 years. The advantages, which are primarily for professional asset managers in general, are very diverse. Due to their structures, comparisons with classic investment funds are often made. Both vehicles enable an asset manager to organise their day-to-day business more efficiently and thus scalably by bundling and uniformly managing assets. Compared to investment funds, AMCs typically allow for a significantly shorter implementation phase, can be implemented at considerably lower costs and thus allow for agile and flexible strategies for even small start-up volumes. In contrast to funds, however, conventional AMCs do not represent special assets and are therefore subject to the issuer’s counterparty risk as a certificate.

 

What specific services does your company offer?

Our declared goal is to combine the best of the certificate and fund worlds in our in-house AMC set-up. Thanks to the many years of experience of our specialist lists at various major banks, we know precisely from numerous client interactions where the shoe pinches for “typical” clients with conventional AMCs. Acute points of discussion were often the sometimes unacceptable issuer risk, relatively high trading fees and the lack of a professional reporting tool. And this is exactly where we started. First, thanks to the issuance of the AMC from a special purpose vehicle (“SPV”) set up specifically for the client, the traditional issuer risk was mitigated. Second, through targeted partnerships with best-in-class brokers, such as Interactive Brokers, Bitcoin Suisse and FxPro, we achieve almost unbeatably low trading rates within an otherwise very cost-efficient structure. Last but not least, with the platform myswissamc.ch, we provide our AMC clients with holistic and user-friendly reporting for optimal portfolio management. And the best thing about it all? Everything comes from a single source.

 

The demand for AMCs on common underlying assets, such as shares, bonds and funds, is still huge. In this area, ISP can excel thanks to the efficient interaction of its own trading desk and external brokerage houses, and is able to offer flexibility that is extremely rare in the market. However, we are increasingly seeing demand for AMCs on exotic underlying assets, such as private equity, private funds or even cryptocurrencies, which we can implement promptly and inexpensively thanks to our adaptable structure.

 

Do you have big business goals this year?

Of course! Although we have grown strongly in many dimensions in the past few years, we want to continue to be measured primarily by qualitative rather than quantitative criteria. The satisfaction of every client is our highest priority, which is why we strive for unconditional client service. It goes without saying that we also want to play a role in shaping the still relatively young market of securitisation through innovative and creative ideas in order to remain the preferred partner of our clients in the future or to become one for new clients.  Learn more about our AMCs offering.

 

Read the full article in Fundplat. 

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