BOV Asset Management has announced that it is now the official representative of Fidelity International in Malta, significantly expanding the range of investment products it makes available to local investors.
Fidelity International is a major asset management firm with over €650 billion of assets under management, serving close to three million clients around the world. It is the sister firm to the USA’s Fidelity Investments, which is one of the top five companies in the space, with over $4 trillion under management.
Chairing both is Abigail Johnson, granddaughter of the firm’s founder and listed as of the most powerful women in the world for most of the last decade.
During an event held on Friday for financial intermediaries of BOV Asset Management, BOV Group CEO Kenneth Farrugia said the bank is “privileged” to be launching this partnership with Fidelity.
“It gives us great pleasure to be with you today to mark this important milestone,” he said.
Speaking about the commercial partnership with Fidelity International, Mr Farrugia said that this will enable the bank and appointed intermediaries to provide customers with a broader range of investment products. The choice of products will also include a number of sustainable investment funds, meeting the ESG ambitions of the Bank to provide investors with access to sustainable investment products.
He said fund management is a “pet area” for him, recalling when the Government introduced the first comprehensive framework for fund activity in Malta back in 1994; a bill, he pointed out, that was passed unanimously through Parliament.
“BOV was a first mover in the space,” he said, “setting up the first asset management entity and with it, the first investment scheme, just three months after the legislation was passed.
The partnership will add value to the bank, financial intermediaries, and ultimately, to clients, the BOV CEO said, by offering solutions beyond those that can be adequately provided by the local market.
This is of particular importance when it comes to funds adhering to environmental, social and governmental (ESG) criteria, he continued, noting that, thus far, the number of sustainability-focused funds available to Maltese investors “can be counted on one hand”.
“BOV’s partnership with Fidelity will broaden the product range of the sustainable investment area,” he said.
Another area that is ripe for growth is the pension sector, said Mr Farrugia, adding that many people come in for a shock when they find out what they can expect their state pension to be – unless they plan accordingly.
He therefore urged the financial intermediaries present to educate the public on the importance of sound financial planning for retirement.
Taking the floor, Fidelity International sales manager Giordano Lafrate explained that Fidelity has over 50 years of experience in the sector, and is present in 25 countries worldwide.
“We are really glad to launch this partnership with BOV Asset Management. Clients will benefit from the 50+ years investment experience of Fidelity International and its proprietary research platform, with gathers the best ideas of 450+ investment professionals,” he said.
He touted the firm’s private ownership, saying that this insulates it from the vagaries of the market and allows it to plan for the long term.
Mr Lafrate also highlighted Fidelity International’s deep expertise as a firm solely dedicated to asset management, explaining that it has hundreds of analysts around the globe dedicated to researching companies and markets.
“Our global presence means that, yes, we pour over companies’ balance sheets, but we also understand their revenue streams, the vulnerabilities in their supply chains, and the local environments they must navigate,” he said.
Its team holds company managers accountable and is taking an increasingly active role in the implementation of ESG principles, he continued, describing Fidelity as a purpose-led enterprise with a bottom-up approach whose initiatives towards sustainability have been awarded an A+ rating by the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.
Fidelity is exposed to 99 per cent of the global equity market (Malta being a notable exception), as well as a considerable portion of the global fixed income market.
In his intervention, BOV chief wealth management officer Simon Azzopardi stated that, “BOV Asset Management has developed an excellent working relationship with Fidelity over the years. This is being cemented today with the formal representation of Fidelity in Malta.”
He explained that while the Vilhena Funds and BOVAM Investment Funds will remain an important part of the group’s offering, the partnership with Fidelity will ensure that wealth management clients have an extensive selection of investment solutions backed by a top international asset manager.
“This alliance will also add further breath to BOV’s Investment Strategy and Research Team enhancing asset allocation and portfolio performance. As a result of the agreement reached with Fidelity International, Bank of Valletta will be strengthening its offering to assist clients in building better futures for themselves and their loved ones.”
Corroborating Mr Azzopardi’s comments, Mark Agius, head of BOV Asset Management, highlighted that since it was set up, BOV Asset Management has continued to make significant investment in the professional training and development of its people and systems. “Today, we have surpassed the €1 billion mark in assets under management,” he said.
BOV Asset Management manages several ‘life cycle’ investment funds as well as investment management for personal retirement schemes, occupational retirement schemes and retirement funds.
Simon Azzopardi, BOV Chief Wealth Management Officer
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