H20 AM has set up a new office in Geneva and named former longstanding Natixis Investment Managers executive Babak Abrar as chief sales and marketing officer.
Already established in London, Paris, Singapore and Monaco, H2O AM said the new office will be co-led by Cédric Ludwig and Mickael Benzakin for distribution to clients across Switzerland and Luxembourg.
The Geneva office is part of the gradual takeover of H2O AM's distribution and investor relations activities, linked to the proposed sale of Natixis IM's stake in the management company, the company said in a statement on 30 September.
The creation of this new department dedicated to investor relations is strategic for H2O AM."
H20 AM currently has a partnership with Natixis Investment Managers, which holds 50.01% of the shares with H2O's partners being allotted the remaining 49.99%; H2O fund managers plugged their front-office systems in the Group's Straight-Through Processing (STP), back-office and risk-monitoring systems and NIM is a distributor of H2O's UCITS.
Abrar will have responsibility for a new department, dedicated to distribution, communication, client servicing and marketing, after more than 13 years at Natixis Investment Managers. He will also be a member of the Global Executive Committee.
H2O AM further said it will also soon announce the creation of a communication department.
Swiss investors, who were among the first to partner with H2O AM when it was created more than 10 years ago, have developed a very strong bond with the management company and its teams, H20 AM added.
Institutionalizing this link, with a local office,was a natural step, it said, to continue to provide a high quality of service and maintain the proximity to its clients in the region.
Bruno Crastes, CEO and Founder of H2O AM: "The creation of this new department dedicated to investor relations is strategic for H2O AM and I am delighted with the arrival of Babak, whose qualities and experience are well established, to lead it.
In the same way, the choice to open an office in Geneva testifies to our conviction of the potential of H2O AM in this market that is key to our development and where we know how to bring a differentiating offer thanks to our Global Macro expertise.
As such, I am delighted to welcome Cedric Ludwig and Mickael Benzakin, whom we have been working with for many years, in the H2O AM family. Cédric and Mickael are recognized professionals, they are a real asset to H2O AM and our clients."
Babak Abrar, chief sales and marketing officer: "After over a decade of close partnership with H2O AM, I am thrilled to officially join the company to continue its development by relying on the expertise of its teams.
The arrival of Cedric and Mickael, to co-head the coverage of Swiss and Luxembourg clients, will be great additions to the team and is the perfect example. Their understanding of our partners' needs and technical knowledge strengthen our relationships with our investors.
I strongly believe in the value of active management and am confident that the high conviction investment approach of H2O AM will continue to find a privileged place in client portfolios."
Cédric Ludwig and Mickael Benzakin, Co-Heads distribution in Switzerland and Luxembourg said: "It is a fantastic opportunity to join one of the most talented teams in the market in absolute return and fixed income space. We are delighted to evolve within a company where passion and fortitude are core values."
Co-founded by Bruno Crastes its CEO, and Vincent Chailley its CIO, H2O AM was set up in 2010 "with the aim of providing clients with the opportunity to achieve high, risk-adjusted returns with daily liquidity".