Cerulli Associates, the mutual fund consultancy, says gestioni patrimoniali in fondi (GPFs)are the fastest route into mutual fund distribution and sales in Italy for non-Italian fund managers.
GPFs – discretionary portfolio services combining asset allocation in mutual funds with an asset-based advisory fee – are similar to mutual fund wrap-fee accounts in the United States. According to Cerulli, participation in GPFs accounts for over two-thirds of foreign groups’ assets under management in Italy, and 88 per cent of net new inflow into these groups’ foreign-domiciled UCITS during 2001.
These are among the initial findings of an investigation by Cerulli into the GPF market, launched in December last year. GPFs accounted for E185 billion in assets in Italy, or perhaps a third of total retail mutual fund assets.
Cerulli surveyed foreign fund managers who have entered the Italian marketplace by cross-registering existing funds, largely domiciled in Luxembourg, for sale in Italy (using the UCITS common passport). The survey sample represented 86 per cent of foreigners’ assets (locally referred to as fondi esteri esteri, meaning foreign-domiciled funds sold in Italy by foreign fund providers).
Until 2000, GPFs were predominantly closed architecture systems: mutual funds that populated the programs tended to derive from the sponsor’s proprietary fund range. But the advent of “multimanager” GPFs-programs that incorporate a number of third-party funds-created a new asset-gathering channel for foreign vendors seeking distribution in Italy.