History of Fisch Asset Management
- Our word of the year: Change
- Unique Fisch culture is preserved
- Performance goals are achieved
- AuM crosses CHF 10 billion mark
- New arrivals
- Juerg Sturzenegger (CEO)
- Markus Becker (Sales)
- Michael Heller (IT)
- Cristina Masotto (Office Management)
- Wjatscheslaw Rein (Product Management)
- Günther Zanussi (Product Management)
- Alessa Waibel (Risk Management)
- Loredana Capassi (Office Management)
- Patrick Tax (Reporting)
- Marius Schaffner (IT)
- Attila Marxer (IT)
- Sandra Thurnheer (Business Development)
- Rudi Bredenkamp (Reporting)
- Atish Suchak (Portfolio Management)
- Sikandar Salam (Sales)
The high expectations we had for our joint CEOs have been met to the fullest since their appointment. They began by working with the Board of Directors to form a new strategy for the next five years. As an active manager, our ultimate goal is to achieve sustainable outperformance across all strategies. The past year is thus aptly encapsulated by the word “change”. A staff that has swelled to almost 90 members, our ambitions for the internationalisation of our business, the ever-proliferating regulatory requirements and the IT challenges we face as a result of our growth are all proof of the increasing need for our internal company structures and processes to move to the next level. With these come change, and our management and staff have shown the utmost zeal in facing and overcoming the challenges this change poses. In this shifting environment, we are paying close attention to the preservation of Fisch’s unique corporate culture. This means fostering flat hierarchies, entrepreneurial spirit, full transparency and a climate of teamwork. All our work revolves around our company’s two most important assets: our clients and our employees. It is our goal to build long-term, sustainable relationships founded on trust and respect. That is why Fisch implements a policy of fully transparent remuneration and a narrow wage differential, why 100% of Fisch shares are employee-owned and distributed as broadly as possible, why we avoid any conceivable conflict of interest between Fisch and our clients, and why we foster and demand mutual respect and a culture of open debate that enables us to maximise results in all areas. Arriving on the heels of a difficult year, 2017 has seen the performance of Fisch products return to a trajectory of success. 86% of products outperformed their benchmarks year-on-year. Over a five-year horizon, this figure was nearly 80%. These excellent results are the product of focused, professional work, a tried-and-tested investment strategy, and market conditions favourable to credit and momentum, two sources of our alpha. We look forward to the coming year with confidence.2017 marked an important milestone in our assets under management. In June, we reached the CHF 10 billion mark for the first time ever. At year-end, total AuM was CHF 10.59 billion. The largest fund volume increases were in High Yield and Absolute Return.No new funds were launched in 2017 as we focused our full attention on cultivating our existing product range. For the purpose of international expansion, we changed the legal form of our Luxembourg UCITS fund from an FCP to a SICAV.2017 brought the following new additions to our team: Juerg Sturzenegger joined us at the beginning of the year with responsibility for Corporate Center & Operations, and is also taking the lead in Legal & Compliance as of 2018. Atish Suchak joined our Portfolio Management as a Senior Analyst for High Yield. IT grew with the addition of Michael Heller (Senior System Administrator), Attila Marxer (Software Engineer) and apprentice Marius Schaffner. The German Sales Team was also strengthened significantly, joined by two senior members: Sikandar Salam (department head) and Markus Becker (Institutional Sales). Office Management welcomed Cristina Masotto and Loredana Capassi in Reception and Administration. Working on support and projects, Alessa Waibel was a new asset to both Risk Management and Legal & Compliance. The most extensive changes took place in Product Management, where we welcomed two new Reporting Specialists: Patrick Tax (department head) and Rudi Bredenkamp. In addition, the Product Management department was joined by Günther Zanussi (Communication Specialist) and Wjatscheslaw Rein (Product Management intern). Finally, we were pleased to welcome Sandra Thurnheer to Business Development.
- New leadership structure
- Strong personnel build-up
- Product expansion
- Performance targets not fully achieved
- Managing director in Luxembourg
- New employees
- Filip Adamec (Portfolio Management)
- Corinne Ess (Marketing)
- Sämira Grancagnolo (Sales)
- Kathrin Klaus (PM Support)
- Kyle Kloc (Portfolio Management)
- Robert Koch (Portfolio Management)
- Thomas Liebsch (Fisch Fund Services)
- Laura Mayer (Legal & Organisation)
- Marijana Bilalic (HR)
- Samet Reci (Middle Office)
- Linda Reser (IT)
- Fabio Scala (IT)
In an extensive process, we instituted a new leadership structure that took full effect at the beginning of 2017. We have high hopes for our chosen co-CEO solution with Philipp Good and Juerg Sturzenegger sharing the helm. After serving nine very successful years as our CEO, Patrick Gügi will continue at Fisch, focusing primarily on expanding the multi-asset business as well as on helping to shape the strategic direction of the firm in his role on the Board of Directors.
We made steady progress in the internationalisation of our business activities in 2016. This is reflected in the strong build-up of personnel in all areas. As part of these efforts, we also further expanded our Luxembourg-based subsidiary Fisch Fund Services AG, the management company for our umbrella fund, bringing on board Thomas Liebsch as a full-time managing director. The umbrella fund meanwhile comprises 10 sub-funds and had CHF 3.9 billion of assets under management at the end of 2016.
A major milestone took place at the product level at the end of June. We launched the Fisch Bond EM Corporates Opportunistic Fund, which covers the entire emerging markets hard currency corporate bond sector. This fund reached an asset volume of EUR 75 million at year-end.
Following many very successful years, 2016 saw us fall short of achieving all our performance targets. With 54% of the managed mandates and funds above benchmark, we did not reach the target level of two thirds. Over the long term (5 years), however, we still have a 100% success rate of beating the benchmark. Our difficulties related primarily to our momentum approach, which faced a very challenging financial market environment in 2016. Nevertheless, we are standing by our tried and true strategy while working steadily on further developing and improving our investment processes. Our entire business model is based on credibility as a successful active asset manager. We are therefore especially pleased that even in such a difficult business year, we were able to boost our assets under management by 6% to CHF 9.5 billion.
Over the course of 2016, we had numerous new arrivals to our company. Portfolio Management added Kyle Kloc in Corporate Bonds, Robert Koch in the Multi-Asset team and Filip Adamec in Convertible Bonds as well as Kathrin Klaus in PM Support. IT was strengthened by Fabio Scala and Linda Reser. Laura Mayer came on board in Legal & Organisation. Corinne Ess joined Marketing in the RfPs area, and Samet Reci bolstered the Middle Office. HR welcomed Marijana Ratkic. And Sämira Grancagnolo made the leap from an intern to a full-time employee in Sales.
1 January 2017 marked the starting date for Juerg Sturzenegger as CEO, for Markus Becker in Institutional Sales Germany and for Michael Heller in IT.
- Competitive asset manager
- Strong personnel build-up
- Office space extended to 3 floors
- Performance targets achieved
- New products
- New employees
- Isabelle Eckert (HR)
- Andreas Gehrig (Software Development)
- Martin Haycock (Portfolio Management)
- Dr. Stefan Jaecklin (Board of Directors)
- Cecile Jörger (Finance/Controlling)
- Hans Lauber (Board of Directors)
- Marco Rellstab (Risk Management)
- Liana Schenk (Trade Execution)
- Colin Schulthess (Apprentice)
- Reyyan Smith (Apprentice)
- Leonardo Spangaro (Portfolio Management)
- Carlo Toluzzi (Trading)
- Claudio Vanoni (Software Development)
- Dr. Patrick Wirth (Portfolio Management)
Since the beginning of our firm, we have been driven by the goal of producing the best possible performance. This mindset has given rise to a very modern company, one characterised by no conflicts of interest, complete transparency, entrepreneurial spirit at all levels, long-term focus, optimal motivation of employees, team approach, no politics, and continual improvement in all areas. Underpinning these high standards are great commitment, professionalism and constant critical assessment of our own work. Our efforts over the years have turned us into a globally competitive asset manager – and we are proud of this achievement.
2015 saw us take a major step forward on our path towards internationalisation. We steadily continued to build up personnel in all areas. As a consequence of this, we felt the need for added office space. Fortunately, we were able to remain in our beautiful building at the edge of Lake Zurich, where we now occupy three floors. We also expanded our sales activities to various European countries and the Middle East, with these efforts already yielding good success.
Another important step was the strengthening of our Board of Directors through the addition of two proven experts in the financial industry. We are pleased by the arrival of Hans Lauber and Dr. Stefan Jaecklin. Rainer Moser announced his resignation from the Board of Directors at the first meeting of the year. Having served on the Board since the founding of the firm in 1994, Rainer made a significant contribution to the success of the company. We thank Rainer for his great dedication through all the years.
The financial markets were very demanding for the portfolio management team in 2015. Nevertheless, the performance targets were achieved, i.e. two thirds of the funds and mandates outperformed their benchmark. Steadily meeting these high performance targets over the years is nothing to take for granted. It requires us to have a sharp management team in place and to continuously develop and refine our investment processes. This also includes building up our proprietary IT infrastructure, which is tailored to our needs, and expanding our know-how through the recruitment of new employees.
In December, we transferred the final Swiss fund to Luxembourg. The Fisch MultiAsset Manta Fund is now a sub-fund of the FISCH Umbrella Fund. This UCITS umbrella fund now holds nine sub-funds totalling over CHF 3 billion of AuM.
Apart from the aforementioned strengthening of the Board of Directors, we welcomed the following new arrivals to our company in 2015: Martin Haycock and Leonardo Spangaro in Convertibles as well as Dr. Patrick Wirth in the Trend area. Carlo Toluzzi came on board in Trading, and Liana Schenk was added in Trade Execution. Isabelle Eckert took over as head of HR. The IT area was bolstered by Andreas Gehrig and Claudio Vanoni in Software Development. Marco Rellstab became a member of the Risk Management team, and Cecile Jörger joined the Finance/Controlling area. Finally, Colin Shulthess and Reyyan Smith began their apprenticeships with us in 2015.
- 20-year anniversary of Fisch Asset Management
- Yield in a low interest rate environment
- Performance remains outstanding
- We are going international
- New branding
- Arta Alili (Marketing)
- Marianne Bircher (Legal & Organisation)
- Samuel Fisch (Middle Office)
- Mauro Gerli (Sales & Relationship Management)
- Julian Jantschik (Sales & Relationship Management)
- Patrick Jesinghaus (IT)
- Daniel Keller (Sales & Relationship Management)
- Meno Strömer (Trading/Middle Office)
Our company proudly marked 20 years of existence in mid-2014. Through a number of events, we celebrated this milestone together with our clients and our families. This anniversary brought great joy and satisfaction for all of us. Our efforts have indeed borne fruit. After 20 years, the company is in excellent physical and psychological shape. We are as determined as ever to keep improving ourselves in all areas. And we now aim to expand our sales activities to international markets beyond German-speaking Europe.
We know this step will place great demands on us. In the course of the year, we took appropriate measures regarding our personnel and our organisational structure. Hence, we strengthened our Board of Directors through the addition of two proven specialists. We are very happy that we were able to recruit the two successful financial experts Dr. Stefan Jaecklin (Oliver Wyman) and Haus Lauber (Independent Expert) for our Board. In addition, we adapted our Executive Committee so that it reflects our product lines. As a result, Philipp Good now sits on the Executive Committee as the representative for our corporate bond products.
In support of our internationalisation efforts, our new branding was implemented in November. The process for this new branding began 1½ years ago and was realised in cooperation with MetaDesign. The bottom line: our 'drive to do better' should take us a long way. This 'drive to do better' is also reflected in the steady improvement of our investment process, where we particularly made great strides in the corporate bonds area in 2014.
In the financial markets, the search for yield in an ever more extreme low interest rate environment continued to dominate. Our product range is very advantageously positioned in such a climate. This resulted in attractive absolute returns and in growth of our AuM to CHF 8.5 billion. The Asset Management team again exceeded our ambitious targets. Over a period of one year, 83% of our products outperformed their benchmark. And over three years, this figure reached the unprecedented level of 100%. This outstanding performance owes to countless small and large contributions from the entire staff, especially our strong team of 18 portfolio managers and 14 analysts.
On the product side, the launches of two new funds were the major events. In the absolute return area, the very defensive Manta fund was complemented by a sportier alternative (Fisch MultiAsset MantaPlus Fund), which has a target return of Libor +4%. A persuasive selling point is that Fisch Asset Management’s entire pension fund is invested in MantaPlus. In the bond area, our offering was rounded out through the addition of a global corporate bond fund, which began with brilliant performance. At the end of the year, this new fund had AuM of CHF 75 million.
Our personnel kept growing at a steady pace, and this trend should continue in view of the internationalisation of our firm. In Legal & Organisation, Marianne Bircher Hunn came on board. Trading welcomed Meno Strömer (Head of Trading/Execution) and Samuel Fisch (Trade Execution/Middle Office). Our Sales team was strengthened through the addition of Mauro Gerli (Senior Partner), Daniel Keller (Senior Partner) and Julian Jantschik. In Marketing, Arta Alili joined the team. And in the IT area, we added Patrick Jesinghaus (Software Development).
- Challenging markets
- Convertibles in the spotlight
- Asset Management performance remained outstanding
- Strong growth of AuM
- Joint Venture with Schroders too successful
- Sebastian Bryner (IT)
- Martin Büchel (Legal & Organisation)
- Sergio Coviello (Sales)
- Nathalie Erni (Apprentice)
- Brenda Faber (Legal & Organisation)
- Dino Lüssi (Trading/Execution)
- Freshta Modjib (Marketing)
- Oliver Reinhard (Asset Management)
Central banks continued to supply ample liquidity, paving the way for another successful year in most equity markets. But performance in the fixed income area was below average as the prospect of a global economic upturn spurred rising interest rates over the course of the year. The emerging markets produced very mixed results. They had a rough time in 2013 following strong advances in the previous years.
As we expected, convertible bonds shone brightly in 2013. In the generally challenging market environment, the positive characteristics of this asset class came fully to bear. On the back of mainly positive equity markets, convertibles exhibited a steady upward trend. And the rising interest rates in many markets had no impact on performance. It therefore comes as no surprise that convertibles recorded the best performance by far in the fixed income area and even kept pace with many equity markets.
Our Asset Management team did an outstanding job in all areas in 2013 (convertibles, emerging market and high yield bonds, absolute return and trend strategies). 90% of our funds and mandates exhibit outperformance versus their respective benchmark over periods of one and three years. This performance cannot be lauded highly enough. Any asset manager who ever had to beat a true benchmark can fully appreciate this achievement. Our success stems from our combination of above-average talents, deep commitment, a consistent team approach and the constant effort to improve ourselves at all levels.
The conclusion of our joint venture with Schroders at the end of November marked an important turning point. The two investment funds we managed (global and Asia) will henceforth be managed by Schroders. And we bought back the 10% equity stake in our firm from Schroders. This signifies the end of a successful collaboration at all levels. Both the performance we achieved and the inflows of money into the two products set unprecedented standards over the past 5 years in the convertibles area. It is at least satisfying for us to know that this joint venture came to an end because it was plain and simply too successful.
New money inflows were exceptionally strong. Despite the outflow of CHF 1.9 billion at the end of November (related to the two Schroders funds we managed), our AuM grew from CHF 7.3 billion to CHF 7.7 billion over the course of the year. Our attractive product range in this difficult market environment, our recently expanded Marketing & Sales team and our good performance helped us achieve this gratifying result.
Our team continued to grow strongly in 2013. In Marketing & Sales, we welcomed Freshta Modjib (Head Marketing) and Sergio Coviello (Sales & Relationship Management). Our Legal & Organisation team was strengthened through the addition of Martin Büchel (Compliance Officer), Brenda Guillan (Administration) and Nathalie Erni (Apprentice). In the IT area, Sebastian Bryner (Support) came on board. And finally, Oliver Reinhard (Bond Team) and Dino Lüssi (Trading) joined our Asset Management area.
- Very good markets
- All performance targets achieved
- Extraordinarly strong growth of AuM
- Expansion of PM-Teams
- Schroders partnership remained successful
- Hanspeter Diem (Sales)
- Diana Guidon (Legal & Organisation)
- Dr. Hansjörg Herzog (Marketing & Sales)
- Peter Jeggli (Portfolio Management)
- Holger Leppin (Sales)
- Dr. Donat Perler (IT)
- Dr. Olivier Schmid (Portfolio Management)
- Jonas Wolff (Apprentice)
2012 will go down in history as a very good investment year. Falling interest rates, rising share prices and narrowing credit spreads helped investors to achieve almost uniformly good results for the year. The basis for this development was an unprecedented flood of liquidity from the major central banks. Given the huge looming dilemmas, the central banks felt compelled to buy time for market participants to work on the unresolved problems by providing them with limitless liquidity.
In this market environment, attractive opportunities were accompanied by correspondingly high risks. Our asset management did an exceptionally good job. The most important contribution by far came from security selection. It provided the decisive input for the outperformance (benchmark/peers) achieved in all products. And it did this despite a neutral macro positioning due to ‘political’ markets and a fundamental positioning that ensures even clearer outperformance in the event of significant market turbulence.
New money inflows exceeded all of our expectations. With new money in the amount of CHF 1.7 billion and a very positive performance contribution, AuM rose to CHF 7.3 billion by the end of the year. Increased sales efforts, thoroughly satisfying performance and a promising product range in this very demanding market environment helped us to achieve this positive result. Our cooperation with our partner Schroders, for whom we manage two public funds, remained very rewarding and was a further component in the positive overall picture.
Over the course of the year, we further strengthened our team. The most new hires came in the sales team. With the addition of Hansjörg Herzog (Head Marketing and International Sales) and the two senior partners Hanspeter Diem and Holger Leppin, our sales power was markedly increased. In the asset management area, another two experts joined our team. The bond team welcomed Peter Jeggli, the co-founder of our credit research company Independent Credit View. And the trend team welcomed Olivier Schmid, a proven CTA specialist in the market. Thanks to the additions of Donat Perler (Software Developer) and Jonas Wolff (Apprentice in System Administration), we will better manage the increased demands in IT. And finally, the regulatory requirements are also growing rapidly. Here, we can count on the support of new hire Diana Guidon (Assistant in Legal and Organisation).
At the end of the year, we would like to touch on one more topic. We are experiencing exceptionally difficult times for Europe in general and the Swiss financial industry in particular. The fact that we can look back on such a successful year therefore should not be taken for granted. We are fully aware of this. A combination of serious work and of being lucky to be active in product segments which are in high demand in the current environment made this possible. Looking ahead, we are convinced that the demands on asset managers who strive for success will keep rising in the coming years. We intend to meet this challenge through constant and self-critical improvement at all levels. This attitude is also reflected in our persistent effort during these difficult times to achieve clear outperformance in all products.
- Political factors dominate difficult markets
- Performance targets nearly achieved
- Strengthening of Portfolio Management and Sales
- Very gratifying new money inflows
- Vision of the firm
- Schroders partnership successful
- Alexander Frick (Apprentice)
- Eva Hintner (Sales)
- Ute Heyward (Portfolio Management)
- Céline Régis (Portfolio Management)
- Fabio Schmid (Apprentice)
- Michelle Staerkle (Marketing)
- Franziska Vogt (Sales)
- Claudia von Waldkirch (Portfolio Management)
2011 was no normal year for investors. The euro crisis gained momentum over the course of the year, spurring a growing loss of confidence in the entire system. Europe faces a daunting task. The markets demand a credible, lasting solution. The American financial markets performed significantly better than Europe. At the bottom of the performance rankings were several emerging markets which were forced to take strong measures to cool off their overheating economies (BRICS).
In this challenging market climate, our asset management had its work cut out for it. The perfect achievement of all performance targets, in which we took pride in the previous two years, was beyond our reach in 2011. In the convertible bond strategies, we largely met our targets (benchmark, peer universe), most convincingly in the defensive strategies. We thus fulfilled a central goal of our corporate vision, namely protection and overperformance in difficult market phases. Over five years, 63% of our products outperform their given benchmark / peer group.
Our net new money inflows reached a very gratifying CHF 920 million in 2011. We are very happy with this result. And we are particularly pleased that several long-time, major clients substantially increased their money entrusted to us in the second half of the year. With a volume of CHF 640 million in the meantime, the FISCH Bond Value IG Fund, which was launched last year, displays impressive success in terms of performance and new money.
The partnership with Schroders proved to be a complete success for our firm again in 2011. The results of the products under our management met their targets, and attractive new clients were acquired through our combined efforts. As a regionally focused firm, we consider ourselves lucky to be able to profit from the know-how and experience of a traditional, global asset manager.
In 2011, we strengthened our team primarily in Asset Management and Sales. Ute Keil (Convertibles), Céline Régis (Trend Strategies) and Claudia von Waldkirch (Credits) joined us in Asset Management. Our personnel in Sales / Marketing were significantly bolstered through the addition of Eva Hintner (Sales CH), Michelle Staerkle (Marketing) and Franziska Vogt (Sales Germany). Moreover, Asset Management and Sales will be strengthened at the start of the year through two top senior partners. Finally, two apprentices began work in our firm this summer (Alexander Frick and Fabio Schmid).
We also devoted increasing effort in 2011 to elaborating our vision for FISCH. In order to promote further contemplation of our vision, we staged a photo contest in which statements of our vision were to be represented by the most expressive possible pictures. The six winning photos, which now hang in our meeting room, were presented by the professional jury at our Christmas dinner. Additional traditional events during the year were the ski weekend in Davos and the fall outing to Weggis. We also received very good feedback for the summer tutorial in June, at which convertibles were the central topic.
- Challenging markets
- Performance targets fulfilled
- Launch of the Fisch Bond Value Investment Grade Fund
- Very satisfying inflow of new money
- Schroders buy 10% of equity
- Vlad Balas (Trade Execution/Middle Office)
- Alexander Bischoff (Marketing & Sales)
- Stephanie Zwick (Portfolio Management)
- Jacky Tam (System Administration)
- Bruno Zemp (Senior Equity Analyst & Senior Sales)
2010 was a challenging year for investors. While most products exhibited a very attractive positive return at the end of the year, this is by no means indicative of the volatile development of the markets over the course of the year. Against the backdrop of a battered global financial system and the special situation for the euro and Europe, the markets fought their way through nerve-racking swings in emotion. In this difficult environment, convertibles held up in general, and our asset management was very successful in particular. Following our success in 2009, our highly ambitious performance targets were also fulfilled in 2010. That holds true for the pure convertible products as well as for the investment funds in the areas of bonds, absolute return and CTA.
A particular highlight was the launch of the Fisch Bond Value IG Fund, which was realised within a few weeks in early 2010. Our company thus manages one of the world’s first investment funds in the emerging market investment grade area. The fund did extraordinarily well. Performance and volume (CHF 220 million) exceeded our high expectations.
The new money acquired in 2010 amounts to nearly a billion Swiss francs. Assets under management (AuM) rose by a healthy 20% to CHF 4.6 billion at the end of the year. We are proud of this growth in AuM in view of the strong Swiss franc, which caused portfolios with the euro (-15%) and the US dollar (-7%) as base currencies to lose significant value.
Our focus as a manager of convertibles globally reached a new high point in 2010. Over the nearly three years of rewarding cooperation with Schroders, we have gained a stronger foothold in the Asia region. Successful business acquisition in this growth region, also versus top competitors, underscores the effectiveness of the Schroders-Fisch teamwork. We also view this success as a result of our efforts to become one of the leading convertibles managers in the world. With a qualitatively and numerically strong team, a world-class credit research group and a unique investment process, we satisfy the highest demands today. Meanwhile, Fisch manages convertibles in the amount of CHF 1.5 billion in Asia alone. As a sign of the long-term nature of the cooperation between Schroders and Fisch, the English company acquired a 10% stake in our firm in autumn.
Over the course of the year, our team grew in various areas. Vlad Balas joined the team Trade Execution / Middle Office. Alexander Bischoff became a member of Marketing & Sales for Swiss clients. Stephanie Deutschmann strengthened Portfolio Management. And finally Jacky Tam joined System Administration and Bruno Zemp became am member of Sales.
Our social events proved to be enjoyable highlights in 2010. All the participants in the ski weekend had to make their way though a veritable snowstorm to enjoy the annual weekend of physical exertion. The pleasurable three-day family outing in autumn, involving sports, boat rides and wellness, took place at a location outside of Switzerland for the first time, in Badenweiler in Germany’s Black Forest. And finally, we celebrated Christmas with an evening featuring classical music and a Santa Claus in the Blumenhalle in one of Zurich’s livelier neighbourhoods.
Despite the challenging environment, we are confident at year-end that we are well prepared for the challenges ahead. With an eye on these high demands, we remain alert and level-headed. At the same time, we feel able and ready to do exceptional work for our clients in 2011.
- Very strong markets
- Three new products
- High standard of risk management
- Stephen J. Mills joined the Board of Directors
- Karina Kaatz (Marketing & Sales)
- Florina Schmid (Legal & Organisation, Apprentice)
2009 saw even very experienced and durable investors exposed to a never seen before time of switching emotions. The start of the year led to a complete sale in all markets. Mid of March, the valuation of the markets was leveraged into a global catastrophe. The following recovery led to an exceptionally strong year for investors. Our managed funds and mandates showed very high returns by year-end. But not only our absolute performance was convincing in the past year. No less than 79% of our products outperformed – even after deducting costs – their relevant benchmarks. The strong performance of our asset management resulted in a considerable growth of our assets under management (AuM).
2009 we launched 3 new products. This is a record number in our business history. In May we incepted our first sustainable convertible fund after a remarkably short preparation period. The Fisch CB Sustainable Fund invests globally into convertibles of sustainable corporations. The relevant screening for sustainability is managed by the Bank Sarasin, the leading specialst in this area. In June the Fisch CTA Diversified Fund followed onto the list. This fund invests into successful CTA/Managed Futures strategies with a long track record and is a very important part of a diversification strategy in times of weak markets. Finally after a long preparation period, we started the Fisch MultiAbsoluteValue Manta Fund. The fund, which is the basis for our own coporate pension fund, invests in all parts of the investment universe. With an optimal diversification and the systemic exploitation of risk premiums, the fund aims for an asymetric behaviour. The goal is positive performance also in weak times and markets. The fund value of these 3 in mid year launched funds per year-end was CHF 160mio.
This once-in-a-lifetime baisse led to a lot of additional work for our marketing & sales team. Our clients deserved a more complex and more intense explanation of the actions and situations at the markets. Analytic work covered a lot of time. Thanks to the bold recovery of the markets and the improved performance the analytic work became more and more easy. IT achieved in 2009 a very high goal. The per quarter mutually agreed project portfolio was fulfilled several times in a row. Portfolio management as well as risk management did benefit from that positive development with new helpful tools. We were very happy with the feedback of our audit which commented on our level of risk management as being strongly above average.
In 2009 we are also able to welcome Stephen J. Mills in the Board of Directors. As CEO of Schroder Investment Management (Switzerland) AG his attendance on the Board of Directors documents the long-term cooperation between Schroders and Fisch Asset Management. The two Schroders Convertible Bond Funds managed by Fisch (Schroders ISF Global CB Fund and Asian CB Fund) started in a difficult market environment (in spring 2008). By end of 2009 the two funds held assets of CHF 370m.
In March we were able to welcome Karina Kaatz in our team, she supports our Sales Team for Germany. Florina Schmid started her 3 year apprenticeship in August.
As always once in the winter time, all employees (without significant others) of FAM came together for the exhausting skiweekend and in autumn (significant others included) we met in Montreux for a 3 day weekend. In December finally we celebrated our Xmas party in festive style at the guild house „zur Meise“ . Those events are part of many tesseraes in the course of building the painting that should illustrate our company. After the successful mastering of this once-in-a-century crisis we as a company look forward full of confidence to tackle our next tasks.
- Challenging markets
- Exploiting economies of scale
- Fisch equals convertible bonds and asymmetry
- Fisch Tank
- Peter Bartholet (IT)
- Hannes Boller (Asset Management)
- Manuel De Tommasi (Legal & Organisation)
- Adriano Ettlin (Personal)
- Dr. Patrick Gügi (Executive Committee, CEO)
- Nicolas Hauser (Legal & Organisation, Apprentice)
- Audrey Massie (Marketing & Sales)
- Stefan Meyer (Asset Management)
- Reto Ormos (Trade Execution/Middle Office)
- Dr. Peter Reinmuth (Asset Management)
- Philippe Streiff (IT)
- Roman Walter (Asset Management)
2008 was an exceptional year in many respects. In spite of the turbulent financial market conditions, we added 12 new employees. Dr. Patrick Gügi began in spring as a product manager and took over the position of CEO as of mid-year. In Asset Management, we welcomed the two senior portfolio managers Stefan Meyer and Dr. Peter Reinmuth as well as the asset management analyst Hannes Boller. Roman Walter, who came on board as a senior partner, runs the Multi Asset Class Absolute Return area. In Middle Office, Reto Ormos joined us as part of the Trading & Execution team. Adriano Ettlin, also a senior partner, took charge of our Human Resources area in order to professionally manage FAM’s growing personnel needs. Marketing & Sales hired Audrey Massie , and Legal & Organisation welcomed Manuel De Tommasi. As a result of the integration of Bluesky Softworks into FAM, Philippe Streiff and Peter Bartholet joined our IT team at the start of the year. Finally, Nicolas Hauser began his three-year apprenticeship in our firm early in the year.
It was a very disappointing year for the financial markets in 2008. Convertible bonds were no exception. Influenced by special factors, this sector also suffered sharp setbacks. The performance thus had a clearly negative impact on assets under management. Convertible bond valuations fell steadily over the course of the year, reaching an exceptionally attractive price level in late autumn. This led to a clear inflow of new money in the last two months of 2008.
With a total of 40 employees, our firm has taken the leading position among the convertible bond specialists in Europe. We devoted a great amount of energy during the year to developing and arranging our organisational structure more efficiently. The optimized organisational structure, with clear processes, will enable us to exploit the clear economies of scale as a distinct competitive advantage.
FAM’s stated strategic focus is as follows: Fisch equals convertible bonds and asymmetry. Hence, FAM wants to be known as a firm that offers its clients various asset class strategies whose content is always linked with our convertible bond know-how and always embodies the typical asymmetric price behavior of convertible bonds. With this in mind, we offer bond-like products such as the FISCH Hybrid CHF for bond strategies and we offer equity funds such as the FISCH Japan Fund as an equity strategy. Furthermore, before year-end we completed the preparations that will allow us to launch a multi asset class absolute return product already in early 2009.
The significant efforts in the IT area in 2008 culminated in the successful introduction of the project FischTank (formerly Phoenix). Our systems, which are based entirely on proprietary software, thus meet the highest demands. At the same time, they allow us to implement our investment strategy in a time-saving and professional manner. For our clients, we are in a position to set up a tailored reporting system on short notice.
We continue to set the bar high with respect to fostering our corporate culture. In addition to many other things, this also includes our annual internal company events, which play a particularly important role in difficult times. A ski weekend, a two-and-a-half-day big summer outing with the whole family as well as the elegant Christmas gathering were the most notable events in 2008.
- Move to new offices
- Growth and performance
- Teamwork with Schroders
- Integration of BlueSky into FAM
- Philipp Good (Asset Management)
- Dr. Klaus Göggelmann (Asset Management)
- Marco Müller (Asset Management)
- Urs Reiter (Middle Office)
- Stefan Stucki (Marketing & Sales)
- Nicole Wyss (Marketing & Sales)
- Daniela Suter (Marketing & Sales)
- Prisca Benedetto (Administration)
- Dr. Oliver Marchand (IT)
- Alexander Houben (IT)
FAM grew rapidly in 2007. A total of 10 new employees joined the existing team over the course of the year. The biggest increase came in the asset management area. The two senior portfolio managers Philipp Good and Dr. Klaus Göggelmann strengthen the value and convertible segments respectively. Marco Müller has come on board as the first pure analyst. Urs Reiter has taken charge of the middle office. In the sales area, Stefan Stucki joined us as a director of sales & relationship management. He will head the sales team. Nicole Wyss started working for us as a marketing support assistant, and Daniela Suter as a sales assistant. Prisca Benedetto joined the administration team. And finally, the IT specialists Dr. Oliver Marchand and Alexander Houben add important know-how to our software development. The rising number of employees reflects the increasing demands placed on our growing company. And this trend continues. In view of the integration of BlueSky Softworks AG into FAM as well as additional requirements, we have already hired 7 new employees as of the first quarter of 2008. They will reinforce us in the asset management, office management, products, human resources and IT areas.
A significant event in 2007 was our move to a new office location in the Seefeld district of Zurich. The striking office building at the edge of the lake offers us a high-quality and very comfortable new home. We have quickly settled into this new headquarters.
Growth of assets under management normalized again following the unusually sharp increases of the previous two years. AuM amounted to CHF 4.5 billion at the end of the year. Our products largely fulfilled the performance expectations. The benchmark difficulty was resolved satisfactorily at the end of the year by the benchmark provider.
The teamwork with English asset manager Schroders represents an important milestone in the history of FAM. The globally active, long-established company selected us as the external manager of their newly introduced convertibles asset class. Through the launch of various convertible bond funds, Schroders intends to target a large number of markets in which we do not operate.
Initiation of the new IT project Phoenix was delayed. It has been scheduled for the end of the first quarter of 2008. The high demands relating to this project also had another consequence: BlueSky Softworks AG, in which we hold a minority interest, will be integrated into FAM at the beginning of 2008 and no longer provides any products to external clients. We are therefore very well positioned in the IT area, which we view as a key factor for our long-term success.
- Launch of the FISCH Bond Value Fund
- Approved as Securities Dealer
- Very strong increase in AuM
- Takeover of the Luxembourg investment fund company
- Bernice Landolt (Sales & Relationship Management)
- Angela Eder (Office Management)
- Olivier Widmer (IT, Webmaster, System Administration)
- Andreas Weber (Middle Office)
- Ilona Vinichenko (Apprentice)
- Dr. Martin Kühle (Sales & Relationship Management)
2006 was another very successful year for Fisch Asset Management. The robust growth of assets under management to more than CHF 4 billion required us to strengthen our organisation at various levels. Six new employees joined us over the course of the year, and we are already in the process of adding more personnel. As a result, our current office space is no longer sufficient for our needs. We will therefore move into a newly constructed office building the Seefeld district of Zurich in mid-2007.
The FISCH Bond Value Fund was launched in the first quarter of 2006. This Swiss fund recorded its first NAV on January 24th, with a volume of EUR 35.54 million. At the end of the year, the fund had a volume of EUR 54 million and a price of 105.45%. Our diversification into the realm of value products thus got off to a very successful start.
Our swift growth required us to bolster personnel in various areas. In April, Bernice Landolt joined us as a marketing assistant. At the beginning of May, Angela Eder started working for us as an office management assistant and Olivier Widmer took over as our webmaster. Two more new employees began working for us in August: Andreas Weber in the middle office area and Ilona Vinichenko as an apprentice. And in November, Dr. Martin Kühle joined our firm as a senior sales & relationship manager.
Successful new business acquisition brought us a number of new mandates in Switzerland. We won various customers in germany as a result of several inquiries on behalf of the consulting industry. The increased regulatory requirements for fonds in Luxembourg due to the UCITS III implementation prompted us to apply for securities dealer status in fall of 2005. At the end of March, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA, formerly Swiss Federal Banking Commission) approved us as a securities dealer. We therefore completely fulfill the increased regulatory requirements.
At the end of December, we took over the Luxembourg investment fund company that manages a number of our Luxembourg-based funds. This step gives us more independence and additional opportunities in the development of the European fund business. The takeover required the approval of Luxembourg’s financial regulatory commission (CSSF). The fact that we received this approval means that we are also recognized by Luxembourg’s CSSF.
During all of 2006, our IT area worked closely together with BlueSky Softworks on implementing the Phoenix project. This major project, scheduled for completion in mid-2007, will enhance the entire software platform.
Our asset management performance was mixed in 2006. Following the exceptionally successful performance in 2005, the hybrid convertible bond strategy produced a slightly below-average performance. In contrast, the conservative strategy of Hybrid CHF achieved a sensationally good result. The very active approach of TOPportunities and the bond value product also produced extraordinarily good results for the year.
- Robust growth of AuM
- Peak relative and absolute performance
- Application to become a securities dealer
- Peter Jeggli (Credit Research, Portfolio Management)
- Daniel Pfister (Credit Research, Portfolio Management)
- Reto Baumgartner (IT)
- Manuel De Tommasi (Asset Management)
2005 was an exceptional year for FAM in many respects. For the first time, a total of four new employees joined us. Peter Jeggli and Daniel Pfister , the founders of Independent Credit View AG , took charge of our credit research activities in spring and will manage the FISCH Bond Value product scheduled for launch in early 2006 following preparations in the second half of 2005. Reto Baumgartner joined us in summer, strengthening the IT department. And in December, the asset management area also welcomed a new employee, Manuel De Tommasi.
In both absolute terms and relative to the industry, our products achieved exceptionally high outperformance in 2005. Thanks to this environment, assets under management developed very favorably, breaking through the CHF 2 billion barrier at the end of the third quarter.
Within the company's management structure, Marcel Hess became the CEO and Beat Thoma joined the Executive Management. At the organisational level, various measures were taken to make it possible to successfully master the growing demands.
In marketing, the main event of note was the roadshow for the FISCH Bond Value Fund in the second half of the year. The launch of this fund, scheduled for January 2006, will represent an important further step in the development of FAM's product range.
And finally, we were also active at the research level – a decisive factor for our long-term prospects. For example, together with Nuclear Finance we developed a prototype of a portfolio optimizer that calculates various risk measures and takes into account asymmetric distributions. In addition, we are constructing a genetic algorithm to enable us to identify the most promising portfolio weightings. Our successful research, which yields new and improved tools to support the asset management process, is an important element of our efforts to achieve above-average performance in the future.
- Establishment of semiautonomous pension fund
- Teamwork with Nuclear Finance (derivatives valuation)
- Teamwork with the ETH Zurich (risk management)
2004 flew by at breakneck speed. A great deal of work and many projects kept us moving along. In the year of FAM's 10th anniversary, assets under management developed quite favorably. Early in the year we managed to surpass the billion CHF hurdle.
Three new colleagues joined us. Andy Gehrig supports the IT team in handling its ever-growing workload. Various systems came into being precisely in this sector in 2004 that simplify the daily work of the asset managers and the back office as well as notably accentuate our technology leadership in managing convertible bonds.
Maria Vogt takes charge of customer care.
In addition, in August Thiemo Fisch began an apprenticeship with us. We decided to take this step because it allows us to give something back to the community and represents a constructive challenge for a company such as ours.
For a limited time in 2004, we also employed a recent university graduate (Benchmarkstudie) and a current university student (thesis, risk management).
To underscore our ambitions regarding analytical and know-how leadership, we began working together in 2004 with Nuclear Finance, a mathematics spinoff of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), and with the ETH itself. We are convinced that thanks to such partnerships, we will be able to make a number of very valuable contributions to the field of asset management in the years ahead.
2004 we established our own semiautonomous pension fund.
- Introduction of currency hedged classes for ICEF and Hybrid International
- Creation of a new corporate design
- Activation of remodeled website
- Big golf outing with clients
Coinciding with the end of the bear market for stocks, we introduced currency hedged classes in March for the two public funds International Convertible Expert Fund and Hybrid International Fund. This enables our clients to now choose and switch between currency hedged and unhedged classes free of charge.
The introduction of the new corporate design represented an important step in 2003. It was not so easy for everyone to give up the well-liked but well-worn logo. Under the leadership of a professional design team, we created a new logo that is intended to convey our know-how based technology leadership in the field of professional convertibles management. At the same time as the new logo, we constructed a completely new website aimed at meeting high standards in terms of design and information content.
The mood within an asset management boutique obviously also depends on the conditions in the financial markets and on the inflow of new assets. Both developed very favorably in 2003. Also worth mentioning in this connection was a fantastic, two-day golf outing to Gstaad and Interlaken with our clients.
- Approval to sell the LLB Topportunities Fund in Switzerland
- Start of the BayernLB Convertible Bond Fund (Luxembourg)
- Stake in BlueSky Softworks AG raised to 70%
- Growth of assets in a very challenging environment
2002 turned out to be an extremely difficult year for asset management. But despite this backdrop, our public investment funds and mandates performed very successfully. They were among the top performing convertible funds.
In August BayernInvest Munich launched the BayernLB Convertible Bond Fonds. The experts for institutional asset management within the BayernLB group selected us as the external manager for their convertible bond fund in Luxembourg.
Even in this difficult environment, we succeeded in boosting the assets under management. Since risk had once more become an important factor for investors, there was a renewed widespread interest in convertible bonds, from which we benefited.
We underscored our belief in BlueSky Softworks by buying the 35% stake held by a pension fund. FAM thus now holds 70% of this software company.
- Stefanie Glaser (Secretarial Services, Marketing)
- Roland Hotz (Client Acquisition)
- Management owns 100% of equity
- Move to larger offices
- Launch of LLB Topportunities Invest
In 2001, the efforts of the enlarged team and the increased client acquisition activities began to show initial results. The assets climbed to nearly CHF 700 million, and the client base was expanded notably. Apart from this, an additional fund managed by FAM was launched in January (LLB TOPportunities Invest). During the course of the year, two more employees joined FAM in the areas of client acquisition (Roland Hotz) and marketing (Stefanie Glaser). The resulting need for new office space spurred FAM's move to Gartenstrasse 19 in the month of May. Early in the year, a step of major long-term significance was also undertaken: FAM's management bought back the 50% stake held by Swisspartners Investment Network since 1994, thus giving management 100% ownership of FAM.
- Claude Jeanneret (Client Acquisition)
- Beat Thoma (Asset Management)
- Japan CB Fund (Equity Sensitive)
- CHF 421 million under management
In summer 2000 we launched the Japan CB Fund (Equity Sensitive). This convertible bond fund tries to outperform the two best known japanese stock indices (Nikkei 225/TOPIX). By the end of 2000, the assets under management reached CHF 421 million.
- Cornelia Höhn (Secretarial Services, Back Office)
- Dieter Höfemeier (Acquisition)
- Marco Aschwanden (IT)
- Sights set on pension funds
- Concentration on convertibles
- New offices
- CHF 340 million under management
1999 was a decisive year. In its first 4 1/2 years, FAM concentrated almost exclusively on the management of the existing products. With the objective of pursuing pension funds as a new target customer group, the decision was made to build up the client acquisition and marketing areas. In addition to this, a strategically important step was taken: FAM decided to focus 100% of its capacity on successfully expanding its activities in the convertibles area. From mid-1999 to early 2000, the number of employees grew from 4 to 9 people. FAM became a different company.
The reinforcements came in the areas of asset management (Beat Thoma), client acquisition (Dieter Höfemeier, Claude Jeanneret), the Internet (Marco Aschwanden) and secretarial services (Cornelia Höhn). Moreover, two new funds specially tailored to pension funds were launched around the end of 1999 (Hybrid CHF and Hybrid International). This laid the foundation for marked expansion of the client base as well as the assets under management. At the same time, FAM moved into offices suitable for the new number of employees.
1996 - 1998
- Entwicklung eigener Software
Already in 1996, FAM developed a special software program for convertibles that enabled the firm to carry out all detailed analyses also at the portfolio level. Furthermore, FAM was among the first companies in Switzerland to launch a website on the Internet. The assets developed as follows: CHF 198 million in 1997, CHF 238 million in 1998 and CHF 340 million in 1999.
The team grew into a close-knit family over the years. It is also worth mentioning the annual business weekends, which turned into memorable three-day golfing competitions and provided unforgettable experiences within the FAM family.
- Marcel Hess (Asset Management)
- First Luxembourg-based convertible fund (ICEF)
Marcel Hess joined FAM in 1995 and, with the International Convertible Expert Fund, started the first Luxembourg-based convertible fund that was also officially approved for public sale in Switzerland and Germany. By the end of the year, the assets under management reached CHF 75 million. In the following year, the assets rose to CHF 127 million, and a software specialist named Bilgi Sakarya was welcomed to the team. This small group of professionals remained unchanged over the next three years.
- Founders: Kurt und Pius Fisch (50%), Swisspartners (50%)
- Convertibles / hedge funds
- Institutional clients
- CHF 22 million under management
Fisch Asset Management (FAM) opened its doors in the summer of 1994 as a manager for institutional clients (portfolio managers, banks, insurers) in the two niche markets of convertibles and non-traditional investments. Kurt and Pius Fisch moved into a tiny office on the premises of portfolio manager Swisspartners Investment Network AG, which simultaneously became FAM's first client and a shareholder with a 50% stake. Two investment companies were established in mid-July: Annapurna I Convertible Ltd. (CBs worldwide) and Pike Global Hedge Ltd. (fund of funds in the non-traditional segment). And by August, with these two companies FAM had CHF 18.9 million worth of assets under management. FAM managed to end the year with assets of CHF 22.2 million and in the black.