When Mediolanum established a bank, the main motive was to make it completely digital, leveraging a full range of technology capabilities, and to extend the associated beneﬁts into the area of asset management.
Mediolanum Asset Management Limited (MAML) is the Irish asset management company of the Mediolanum Banking Group, headquartered in Milan. It takes an innovative approach to investment management based on the application of a proprietary investment process, which allows the development of portfolio management solutions tailored to meet clients’ needs, including investment advice and related investment management services.
The main objective of the company’s research and development activities is the continued incremental refinement of this process to maintain and improve the effectiveness of the investment process, products and service delivery.
Mediolanum’s key distributors have offices in Italy, Spain and Germany, however, when the company established its bank it was intent on leveraging technology, ensuring a website banking centre and apps where clients and financial advisers can interact.
A family affair
Furio Pietribiasi is responsible for Mediolanum’s business operations in Ireland and Luxembourg. He is managing director of Mediolanum Asset Management and Mediolanum International Funds, among other responsibilities. Explaining developments, he says: “We do not focus on corporate banking. Our financial advisers, called family bankers, carry out financial planning and provide our clients with the best investment solutions for their needs. This is a dynamic and ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring.
Our family bankers regularly review their clients’ financial goals and priorities to take into account changes in income, asset values, business or family circumstances. Ongoing adjustments can then be made to clients’ solutions to ensure that these continue to meet the changing needs of the clients.” The Mediolanum Group’s strategy is based on a concept conceived by Ennio Doris. To provide comprehensive financial advisory services through our family banker network across three pillars – banking, insurance and mutual funds. This is a core and invaluable service that the family bankers provide to the bank’s clients.
Providing after-sales services means not only proposing the best investment solutions, it also means helping customers to make decisions that may be put to the test by inevitable market volatility. This was the case in recent years, as capital markets reverberated to the aftershocks of the global financial crisis – even if volatility in the near term has declined on stock markets.
The family banker input into the decision making process with clients is crucial, Pietribiasi continues. It is often the case that the family bankers have to help clients with their emotional stress that they experience during uncertain market conditions. In essence, they help clients to manage the emotional decision making process when making key financial decisions. This approach to advice ensures that customers reap the greatest benefits, long term, he argues. Accordingly, advice must be customised and targeted to individual needs so that customers can make investment choices that are consistent with their risk profile and individual needs in the asset management business.
“We ensure that these products are constantly evolving, meeting our clients’ ever-changing needs and circumstances,” Pietribiasi notes. “We are building innovative products to suit all market conditions. Our products are long-term solutions. We make sure they focus on and support the financial planning process. “From an asset management prospective we have been in Ireland for more than 20 years. Our core strength in Ireland is asset allocation and manager selection, so we not only depend on internal capabilities, but we want to leverage the best from global external skills and competences.
“We tend to have strategies engrained in our comprehensive solutions, across a broad range of asset classes from equities to fixed income, within multi-manager or single manager solutions packaged as fund-of-funds or fund-of-securities solutions.”
He continues: “Basically, we like to leverage the best skills and competences – both internal and external”, added Pietribiasi. “Our family bankers do not merely sell products, they offer actively managed solutions. This unique approach allows Mediolanum to operate in the various areas of financial services applying the skills and flexibility needed to best respond to constant economic, tax, financial and regulatory changes. “Our investment strategy is the result of a thorough analysis of global financial markets and the expertise Mediolanum has developed in asset management across asset allocation and manager selection. It aims to reduce risks associated with lack of investment diversification.”
Looking to the different markets that are the target of distribution, Pietribiasi points to Germany as an example of a market that is well understood and in which operations have been ongoing for a number of years. “We understand the needs of the German consumer and our products accurately reflect these needs. Our presence in Germany has also resulted in a number of key partnerships with German providers that include Deutsche Asset Management, Veritas, DJE Kapital AG and Flossbach von Storch. These are well established partnerships with very well recognised German brands who manage some of our client’s assets.”
Another angle to the Germany market that MAML is keen to highlight is its links to Bankhaus August Lenz – an long-established private bank in Munich, dating from the last decades of the 18th Century. This bank’s client base has always consisted of private clients and Bavarian based companies. Bankhaus August Lenz has been part of the Mediolanum Group since 2001, and since December 2002 has been offering multi-channel services, including a range of banking and financial products and a network of family bankers.