Rafael Anchisi (pictured), head of Fund Research at Bordier & Cie, discusses the recent reshape of the unit and his current fund selection approach with InvestmentEurope.
Regeneration seems the appropriate term to describe the actual moves of Geneva-headquartered private banking group Bordier & Cie.
Currently run by the fifth generation of the Bordier family, the 173-year old firm has taken another turn to adapt itself to the mutation of financial markets. Among others, Bordier FinLab was launched in February 2016 to scrutinise the most innovative investment solutions and seed new funds with strong potential of added value being developed.
Along with Bordier FinLab, the private bank has also launched a client advisory team. A move that led to the facelift of its fund selection unit at the start of 2016.
“The reshape of Bordier & Cie’s fund selection unit was welcomed. Antoine Denis, who used to be in charge of long only fund selection, is now managing the client advisory team of Bordier & Cie. That has enabled me, as Bordier’s head of Fund Research, to refocus my role on investments and idea generation for the fund buy list,” says Rafael Anchisi who serves as head of Fund Research and portfolio manager at Bordier & Cie since 2011.
Hence Bordier & Cie’s recommended fund buy list has been rationalised, adds Anchisi. Some 60 lines were cut over the last two years, including ETFs.
“We are seizing opportunities in the ETF universe, case by case, when the investment case or allocation needs are more important than finding the best active manager.
“Therefore, it really depends more on a certain exposure we want to take. A number of parameters are taken into account, such as bid-ask, traded volume or liquidity, that limit operational and business risks,” Anchisi explains.
Speaking further about his fund searches, Anchisi suggests that the frontier between traditional and non-traditional funds is narrowing ever more.
“I spent some time in the hedge fund business prior to my role at Bordier & Cie and I must stress that since a few years, long-only strategies have tended to converge little by little towards alternative fund management. Somehow a grey zone is developing. For instance, the borders look very thin between a total return fixed income fund and the strategy pursued by some hedge funds.”
In the low-rate environment pushing investors towards alternatives, the asset class of direct lending, which carries some factoring and trade finance features has been considered for investments, Anchisi continues.
“We see it as a good way to bring diversification to our clients’ assets. We have softened our liquidity requirements but yield is higher there than in traditional plain vanilla funds.”
Another segment in which Anchisi seeks diversification is equities. One theme Bordier & Cie’s fund selection has been playing since June 2016 is European small cap value, through a fund of Quaero Capital, the Argos Funds – Smaller European Companies (formerly the Family Enterprise fund).
“It remains one of the rare Ucits-compliant funds on this segment that provides daily liquidity, but together with a quite long prior notice period in order to avoid any liquidity mismatch (weekly before the rebranding of the fund),” asserts Anchisi.
“On the US equity segment, two strategies we appreciate are the Vanguard US Opportunities fund, managed by PrimeCap, and the Oyster US Selection
fund, investment style agnostic and managed by US-based boutique Scout Investments,” he highlights.
Anchisi also manages the Bordier Global Emerging Market fund of funds. He has recently introduced frontier market strategies that have exposure
to the forthcoming constituents of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, such as Pakistan and Vietnam, in the Fof.
He points out this helps the unit “to mitigate the impact of on/off moves of capital flows we often see in the EM space.”
If thematic funds are monitored and appear compelling to Bordier & Cie’s head of Fund Research, he explains that they remain very niche for the unit, whether these are robotics focused strategies or funds capitalising on big data or innovation.
In addition, at a time when several asset managers are turning part or all of their strategies into quants, Anchisi puts systematic funds aside from his selection.
“We do not hold quantitative strategies, because they are also disturbed by the influence of the central banks over economics and statistical behaviour – not to mention their embedded complexity,” he says.
Rafael Anchisi has been head of Fund Research and portfolio manager at Bordier & Cie in Geneva since 2011. His role encompasses the selection of hedge funds and long-only strategies.
Anchisi joined the Swiss private banking firm in March 2009 as a hedge fund analyst. Prior to that, he spent four years at hedge fund EIM that merged with Gottex in 2013.
At EIM, Anchisi worked within the asset allocation and portfolio management department. He was, among others, in charge of the portfolio allocation of funds of hedge funds. He also held hedge fund administration roles at Banco Santander in Switzerland.
This article was first published in the September 2017 issue of InvestmentEurope.