Romain Denis and Gregory Nicolas, our group Managing Directors, interviewed by DUKE

FundRock Management Company S.A. managing directors, Romain Denis and Gregory Nicolas, say the specialist ManCo group is branching out into distribution support and helping clients deal with hot-button issues such as liquidity and transparency.

What is FundRock’s origin in Luxembourg?

Established in 2004, as RBS (Luxembourg) S.A., FundRock, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, is a leading Super ManCo that oversees around $ 100 billion in assets across the group. We have a team of 120 people in total, including 80 in Luxembourg, and have a branch in Ireland and in Singapore and a subsidiary in the UK. Following our acquisition four years ago by the private equity firm Blackfin Capital Partners, we now benefit from not only the legacy of the processes and policies of a big group, but also a fresh entrepreneurial mindset and broader ambitions. In November 2018, we completed the acquisition of the SEB Fund Services ManCo, which has raised our profile in the Nordic region. We aim to be the leading third-party management company in Europe and provide a pan-European service offering for UK, Irish and Luxembourg funds distributed in multiple jurisdictions.

How do you adapt to your clients’ changing needs?

Our clients have streamlined the way they manage their Luxembourg products. Since the third-party ManCo business is highly competitive and value for money is critical, we go beyond the typical governance and substance mandate and add value in data management. Our open architecture model allows us to extract the maximum value from the data we manage by utilizing the skill and experience of our people. We also benefit from our culture of streamlining and we proactively step out of our comfort zone to align ourselves constantly with clients’ expectations, for example by bringing our experience and knowledge to help them on the distribution side. Early next year we will launch a new MiFID firm, called FundRock Distribution, to share with clients expertise in reaching investors in different jurisdiction. This diversification will further solidify our relationships with our clients.

How do you see the market evolving over the next five years?

From a ManCo perspective, while US remains a unique place where local market participants continue to demonstrate deep knowledge of EU fund products, we are seeing increased activity in Asia, where our Singapore office helps us link Asian and European market players through our European service offering.. The debate about active versus passive funds remains acute as value for money concerns put pressure on asset managers, and as a ManCo we are seeing increasing numbers of exchange-traded fund launches. Liquidity is also a live issue, illustrating the complexity of the products we work with. The look-through approach regarding both product and manager reflects the increasing importance of accountability. The complexity must be tackled through the right expertise, as well as good data management and controls. We are accompanying our clients in their transformation by transforming ourselves too, and maintaining the trust that is the driving force of our business.

Access the interview at DUKE here.