As the Spanish fund industry consolidates - and parent banks merge or are taken over - there will be fewer private bank fund selectors and changes to access third-party funds.
The La Caixa/Cívica merger is expected to generate cost synergies of €540m per year by the third year of integration. "I am confident the merger will further improve the excellent service provided to our nearly 14 million customers," says Isidro Fainé, chairman of CaixaBank, the group's banking and insurance division.
The deal could also lead to the disappearance of asset manager Cívica Gestión de Activos less than a year after its creation. At launch last May, Cívica fund assets were valued around €3bn. Based on February figures, La Caixa's asset management arm InverCaixa could inherit just €2bn in assets from Cívica if the merger takes place.
With €17.5bn, the merged asset manager would be Spain's third-largest behind Santander Asset Management and BBVA Asset Management. InverCaixa has been a star sales performer in recent years, thanks to aggressive campaigns to promote its tranche-based guaranteed funds, or fondos garantizados.
Markets had expected La Caixa to take over Bankia, itself the result of a seven-way merger led by Caja Madrid. Such a deal would finish Bankia Fondos. Launched last year, the asset manager recently rationalised its inherited fund range. The number of funds was reduced from over 190 to 51. Bankia now wants to remain independent and sell assets to bolster its capital levels.
Captive asset management arms are slowly losing their grip on the Spanish fund market. Ahorro Corporación calculates that the domestic banks' share of AUM fell from 65.6% in 2010 to 50.6% at the end of February. It says the trend represents "a redistribution of market share in favour of independent groups, insurers and credit cooperatives."
Local independents and foreign fund groups have seen their market share climb to 13.9%, according to Ahorro Corporación.
The industry trade association INVERCO says foreign groups have a larger market share. Overseas groups have assets of €45bn, 22% of the industry total, it says.