The five asset managers that gained the most clients in 2021 together attracted almost 1.6 million new shareholders to their investment funds. Three of them are “independent” and two are linked to large banks.
XP Allocation Asset Management, linked to XP, was the one that gained the most clients, with 478,700 new members. Then comes the asset management of Nubank, Nu Asset Management, with the arrival of 430,000 investors. The asset managers of Caixa Econômica Federal and Bradesco appear in third and fourth places, but in fifth place comes again an independent company of the big banks: Vitreo Gestão de Recursos, linked to Empiricus (currently of BTG), with 174,000 new investors.
Some factors explain the growth of these independent firms. The launching of alternative products, such as foreign-oriented funds or less talked-about assets like cannabis, water and uranium; low initial minimum contributions; and marketing strategies to draw individual investors.
The survey also shows that the asset management companies linked to the five main retail banks in the country (Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa, Itaú and Santander) closed last year with 15.63 million members, compared to 15.10 million in 2020 – a 3.5% growth. The other asset managers had a 30% growth in 2021, reaching 8.29 million members.
Valor talked to the five firms that attracted the most clients last year to understand what strategies were adopted and what to expect for 2022.
XP Allocation Asset
The success of XP’s management company, for example, is due to different factors, according to CEO Bruno Castro. The main ones are the launching of products with differentiated strategies and the low initial investment amounts, which brings the company closer to the individual investor, considered by Mr. Castro as “the heart” of the company. “We focus on bringing products that were previously available only to institutional or qualified investors to the other XP clients,” he said.
Some of the main highlights of the year, according to him, were real estate funds and also the launching of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), like XINA11, which follows Chinese stocks. There is also an ETF that replicates the average price of gold.
By being connected to the largest investment platform in the country, the XP manager also has the advantage of the broad base of the broker, which counts on independent agents and investment advisors to help in the distribution of its products. Mr. Castro, however, emphasizes that XP Asset practices “the same rebate rules of the market.” The rebate is a kind of commission paid by the managers to these professionals who resell the funds.
For 2022, the manager says that it will continue to keep an eye on the so-called “thematic funds.” “Our international grid tends to become more robust, with more sophisticated products. We have recently launched water, carbon and internet funds, and we will continue to keep an eye on this,” Mr. Castro said.
The wide distribution network was an asset for Caixa’s growth last year, while higher interest rates helped boost fixed income products.
The bank serves a less coveted slice of the market: the lower income bracket. “We are present in 99.83% of Brazilian municipalities, and the growing number of customers are the main levers of new shareholders,” the state-owned bank’s asset manager said in a statement. “Caixa Asset has structured and positioned itself to meet the needs of the lower income bracket. The products and the way to invest are simple and give returns.”
According to Caixa’s firm, fixed income products were the ones that attracted the most new shareholders throughout 2021. One reason was the increase in the Selic, Brazil’s benchmark interest rate. This contributed to increase the yield of this class of assets, since many fixed income products have their variation tied to the Selic. Another possible reason was the debut of Caixa’s insurance unit Caixa Seguridade on the stock exchange. According to the bank, “new investors came to the customer base through the initial public offering.”
Fixed income and credit strategies are the focus of Caixa’s asset manager for this year, the bank said.
Bradesco links the growth of its asset management business to two main reasons: the wide range of products, including those coming from partnerships with other assets, and the distribution on different platforms.
Ricardo Eleutério, the asset manager’s director, explains that the firm’s funds are currently available on 16 platforms, which have attracted 64,000 shareholders. “This accelerated a lot in 2021, when we sought partnership with independent distributors and attracted more investors,” he said.
The presence of house funds on partner shelves, however, is not the only reason for the result. According to Mr. Eleutério, Bram’s own shelf also justifies the arrival of new shareholders. He says that the firm has a very diverse menu of funds and, therefore, is able to meet the most diverse types of profiles in different scenarios.
“In 2020, we saw a lower interest rate, which made investors look for multimarket and equity funds. And we had many options of these products. Last year, with higher interest rates, the demand started to be for fixed income funds and even with a certain risk, such as private credit funds, for example. And we also had funds,” he said.
According to the executive, in the last two years the management company greatly accelerated its offer, as was the demand from the public. One path for this was partnerships with other firms, including international ones.
“We accelerated the offer with new products, alternative strategies and increased the product grid locally and also abroad,” he said. “We made many exclusive partnerships abroad. Where we didn’t have a presence, we started to have one. We were not in Asia, for example, so we made partnerships with managers bringing funds from Asia. For 2022, we believe this trend will continue and we will continue to do more partnerships.”
Nubank’s fund manager links its growth to the ease of use of its digital platforms, through which investors can invest simply and on their own. According to Andrés Kikuchi, leader of Nu Asset, the company makes every effort to present the available products in a clear way to investors to facilitate their understanding and decision making.
“With simple language and investments starting at R$1, the process is 100% guided through an application to define profile, amount to be invested, monitoring and redemption request,” says the executive.
Currently, the company has five funds available in the Nubank app or on the NuInvest platform. The product Nu Seleção, for example, is made up of multimarket funds composed, in different proportions, of assets such as fixed-income securities, stocks in Brazil and the United States, gold and dollars.
The funds with the largest number of shareholders are Nu Seleção Cautela, with 236,000 shareholders, followed by Nu Seleção Equilíbrio and Nu Seleção Potencial, with about 86,000 and 85,000 shareholders, respectively.
The accumulated profitability from March last year until December for Nu Seleção Cautela was 3.34%, while that of Nu Seleção Potencial was 2.19%, and that of Nu Seleção Equilíbrio, 2.51%. As a reference, the interbank deposit rate (CDI) in 2021 was 4.42%, while Ibovespa fell almost 12%.
The other successful asset manager is Vitreo. The rise in the number of shareholders in its funds was explained especially by the launch of different thematic products that were pioneers in the market, according to George Wachsmann, founding partner of the firm. “Since the beginning of Vitreo we have had this idea of bringing the best investment opportunities. Many of them sometimes are not available to clients in general, or even to anyone in Brazil, and this was accentuated last year,” he said.
The executive says that the last launch of the firm was a metaverse investment fund, which invests exclusively in companies that have the so-called metaverse as a business. “This fund alone attracted 10,000 shareholders,” he said.
Another example was the launch of a fund that invests in uranium, which already gathers 9,000 investors and had a 50% increase last year.
In order to hasten and make launches that are appealing to the public, with the potential to appreciate in the market, Vitreo relies on the partnership with the analysis company Empiricus, which, just like the asset manager, now belongs to BTG Pactual.
Source: Valor international