CFI.co Meets the InverCaixa Gestión Fixed Income Fund Management Team: Proactive Approach in Fixed-Income Fund Management
InverCaixa Gestión, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CaixaBank Group, earlier this year received the Best Fixed Income Fund Management Team Spain 2015 Award.
Last year, InverCaixa Gestión registered a particularly strong growth of its fixed-income funds which ballooned by 89%, thus affirming CaixaBank’s new leadership position in the Spanish fund industry with a market share of 17,02%.
The InverCaixa Fixed-Income Team – with around EUR8bn in assets under management – is a seven-person group headed up by Carmen Lumbreras de la Gándara. The team’s professionals are euro market experts with vast experience in trading a variety of bonds ranging from investment-grade to high-yield securities.
“We strive to excel and are relentless in our pursuit of the best possible result,” says Mrs Lumbreras. Each individual’s opinions merit respect within the team: “When you are privileged enough to work with professionals of this calibre, you need to foster participation; respecting and pooling opinions and evaluating return versus risk on a joint basis. The client remains a key consideration at all times. Our approach to the market also involves a continuous evaluation of both what we did right and where improvements may be made.”
The team has been together since 2008. That year, Carmen Lumbreras and Guillermo Viñuales were brought in from Morgan Stanley Gestión. In 2013, Carmen Pinyol and M Antonia Muñoz joined the team to bolster management of fixed-income securities issued by financial institutions and corporations.
The remaining members of the Fixed-Income Team are Luis Merino, Juan Manuel Blanco, and Carlos Robles. All boast extensive experience working with InverCaixa. “There is genuine cohesion within the team, and strong ties amongst the members”, says Mrs Lumbreras.
As well as leading the team, Mrs Lumbreras runs FonCaixa Renta Fija Flexible – a euro fixed-income fund that registered rapid growth in 2014 and now has in excess of EUR3bn in assets under management. The FonCaixa Renta Fija Flexible is a flexible fund that can have a negative duration, allowing up to 30% investment in high-yield bonds and up to 10% in currencies. The fund’s portfolio is assembled taking into account the team’s best ideas.
Mrs Lumbreras also manages the recently established FonCaixa Estrategia Flexible fund which can invest up to 15% in equity. “We are very excited to take up this challenge”, she says.
Another of InverCaixa’s noteworthy funds is the FonCaixa Ahorro. Managed by Luis Merino, this fund caters to the requirements of risk-averse clients, offering highly attractive risk/return ratios. Mr Merino is also in charge of covered bonds and ABS (asset-backed securities).
Another key product is the FonCaixa Monetario Rendimiento, a fund managed by Juan Manuel Blanco. Mr Blanco has extensive experience and is a money market specialist. He helps enhance the value generated from investment products appealing to more conservative clients.
Guillermo Viñuales is in charge of FonCaixa Renta Fija Corporativa. He is also head of credit. Mr Viñuales, Carmen Pinyol, and M Antonia Muñoz create these portfolios and offer recommendations that are applied to the entire range of InverCaixa funds.
Finally, Carlos Robles is a specialist in sovereign and supranational bonds. His main contributions come in peripheral bonds; managing products for all kinds of customers, including institutional clients.
In addition to an outstanding team of individuals, Mrs Lumbreras emphasises the importance of the investment process itself which combines top-down and bottom-up decision-making, as well as internal and independent analysis: “We are perpetually engaged in brainstorming. The team believes in sharing ideas and monitoring positions on a daily basis. If a strategy isn’t working, it gets promptly changed.”
The results provide ample evidence of the team’s superior quality and professionalism. Over the last three years, all funds representing the different fixed-income risk profiles have consistently outperformed their benchmark indices.
“What is particularly striking about the InverCaixa Fixed-Income Team is its proactive approach and the exceptionally high levels of cooperation and trust between the members,” concluded Mrs Lumbreras after accepting up the CFI.co award.