Former Pioneer parent plots new Irish asset manager

FinecoBank set up new company in Dublin late last year called Fineco AM Limited

 The IFSC in  Dublin. Fineco AM is understood to be currently in the market searching for additional portfolio managers and analysts. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The IFSC in Dublin. Fineco AM is understood to be currently in the market searching for additional portfolio managers and analysts. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

The former parent of Ireland’s largest fund manager Pioneer Investments is advancing plans to launch a new asset manager in Dublin.

Italian financial services giant Unicredit Group sold Pioneer to France’s Amundi for €3.5 billion last year, creating Europe’s largest fund manager with €1.4 trillion of assets under management.

A part of the Unicredit Group, FinecoBank set up a new company in Dublin late last year called Fineco AM Limited. Sources said that the new Irish unit, where Italian executive Fabio Melisso has been installed as chief executive, is seeking to establish as a fund manager that invests in other types of funds. This is known in the industry as a fund-of-funds manager. It is still still awaiting central bank authorisation.

The company has also hired former Goodbody Stockbrokers research analyst Paolo Maggioni as its chief investment officer. Mr Maggioni previously worked at Prescient Investment Managers Ireland (once AIB Investment Managers and now part of Davy).

Fineco AM is understood to be currently in the market searching for additional portfolio managers and analysts. Spokespeople for FinecoBank in Milan declined to comment, while efforts to contact Mr Melisso and Mr Maggioni were unsuccessful.

While Unicredit currently only owns 35 per cent of publicly-quoted FinecoBank, after selling a 20 per cent stake in the market in 2016, the company continues to be consolidated into – and controlled by – the wider group.

The development comes three months after Amundi moved to extend a redundancy programme initiated in its home market in France to Ireland as it seeks to scrape out €150 million of annual costs by 2020 as it integrates Pioneer. It is not clear how many of Pioneer’s Dublin workforce, which stood at about 450 at the time of the takeover, have opted to take up a severance package.

Savings products

Meanwhile, Unicredit and Amundi agreed as part of the deal last year to a 10-year distribution agreement for “managed savings products” in Italy, Germany and Austria.

Pioneer lost two star bond managers in Dublin in December 2016, after the company took legal action against them amid claims that they were planning to set up a rival firm.

In court documents Pioneer claimed at the time that the duo – Tanguy Le Saout, then head of European fixed income, and Ali Chabaane, then head of portfolio construction – planned to build up a business with €5 billion of assets under management, causing “very serious harm” to the group. The case was settled with both men resigning.