French investment fund Tobam sets up Dublin operation

Paris-based fund managing over €8bn in assets plans to increase staff to 20 this year

One of France’s leading investment funds has established an operation in Dublin, which it plans to double in size by the end of the year.

Paris-based Tobam, the brainchild of finance guru and mathematician Yves Choueifaty, a former chief executive of Credit Lyonnais's investment arm, manages more than €8 billion in assets.

It has been operating in Dublin since last July with a staff of 10, which it plans to extend to 20 by the end of 2017.

The firm chose Dublin from a shortlist of four European cities, including London, but insists the decision predates Brexit.


It said the State provided an ideal English-speaking gateway between North America and Europe and was already an established funds industry hub.

Stable business environment

The company also cited the stable business environment as a key factor in its decision, and praised the IDA in assisting the transition.

"Dublin is a major gateway to the global funds industry, is a recognised talent and technology hub, and offers a stable environment to grow our business while maintaining the highest standards of quality in the asset management industry," Tobam Ireland's chief executive David Bellaiche said.

Set up in 2005, the firm was originally incubated in the ill-fated Lehman Brothers but managed to spin off before the US bank spectacularly imploded in 2008.

Tobam’s founder Mr Choueifaty is heralded as one of the founders of the so-called “smart beta” movement, which uses exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other investment strategies that use alternative index construction rules to traditional indices.

However, Mr Choueifaty is a critic of the tag “passive investment”, noting his company’s “anti-benchmark” strategy, based on an algorithm that measures diversification, runs counter to the typical capitalisation-weighted benchmark.


"The benchmark has a property that I don't have: it is the sum of all portfolios, and it shows what is expensive. That is still useful, but not in order to be replicated," Mr Choueifaty said in a recent interview with the Financial Times.

Tobam's expansion into Ireland is the culmination of a 10-year growth spurt. Last year, it was named European asset manager of the year by the respected Funds Europe magazine.

The company is 80 per cent employee-owned with Calpers, North America's largest pension fund and French asset managing giant Amundi, holding minority stakes.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times