Asset Management

Reyl Creates “Impact Investing” Asset Management Brand

Jackie Bennion Deputy Editor 7 October 2019

Reyl Creates “Impact Investing” Asset Management Brand

The Swiss bank hires from rivals to start impact investment asset division, with acquisitions to come.

Swiss private bank Reyl Group has launched a new asset management division to focus exclusively on impact investing. The decision follows a trail of client interest in the space and stiff competition between private banks to offer highly tailored ESG approaches.

Reyl announced the launch of the new division, called Asteria Investment Managers, ahead of this week’s “Building Bridges Summit” held in Geneva as part of the country's sustainable finance week. The event, sponsored by Reyl, draws in figures from the UN, government, finance and business. It is aimed at elevating green finance as a national priority, with Swiss President Ueli Maurer addressing delegates during the week.

UBS, Julius Baer, Lombard Odier, and Credit Suisse are among a raft of Swiss-grown wealth managers jostling for market and mind share in ESG investment as the sector explodes.

Asteria will offer institutional investors a full range of impact products and strategies that allocate capital towards transitioning into a more sustainable and equal society, the Geneva-based group said.

The new team will include Guido Bolliger as head of investments; Natacha Guerdat as head of research; and microfinance specialist Fabio Sofia as head of fixed income and private debt strategies. Francesco Genovese, is moving within Reyl to head sales and overall commercial development. The four will report to Reyl CEO Katia Coudray.

Coudray was hired from Swiss rival SYZ private bank in July, where she spent several years as head of its asset management and investment division. Bolliger has also moved from SYZ where he was chief investment architect and head of quantitative strategies. Guerdat is an ESG veteran in the Swiss market, beginning as an ESG analyst at Lombard Odier, where she spent a decade in a number of sustainable portfolio management roles, before becoming a founding partner at Geneva-based ESG investment specialist Conser. In any respect, Reyl's hiring demonstrates the stiff competition between banks to attract managers with deep ESG credentials.

Asteria will offer a range of asset classes, including thematic-listed equities, sustainable bonds, alternative strategies, private debt and private equity. It will allocate into companies that generate positive social and environmental benefits based on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The group said that products will be structured around four areas: diversity and inclusion; preservation of the planet; support for developing countries; and innovation and technology as drivers for change. It currently manages around $16 billion in assets for clients.

The firm also said that it plans to expand Asteria’s business with “one or more acquisitions” to come.

“It truly is a unique opportunity to be able to create from scratch a new asset management company entirely dedicated to impact investing. This would not have been possible without the combination of strong human values and entrepreneurial culture within the Reyl Group,” Coudray said.

She said the team's institutional networks and entrepreneurial expertise would play an “important role” in implementing strategies.

It is widely agreed that $2.5 trillion annually is needed to achieve the 17 SDGs by 2030, in a pledge signed by all UN member states in 2015 to make the world more sustainable.

The financial industry is called upon at every opportunity to play its part. “We are convinced that the allocation of private and institutional capital will be an essential factor in a radical shift towards greater sustainability and inclusion,” CEO François Reyl, added.

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