Bernd Vorbeck, CEO of Universal Investment“I think only the big players will survive,” he said.In the German market there were quite a few mid-sized companies, with assets ranging from €40bn to €200bn, but theirs was not “a real valid business position”, according to Vorbeck.A spokesman for Universal said the company differed from most of its competitors as they were specialised, for example either in fund administration or as an investment management company, while Universal was “a one-stop shop” for both investors and asset managers.Universal used to be owned by small German private banks but last year it was sold to Montagu Private Equity. Vorbeck said this was the first big move by a private equity company in the German fund market.The change of ownership may mean that, for the first time, the company could grow by joining forces with outsiders rather than organically.Vorbeck said that, with a private equity company as owner, the question of mergers and acquisitions is much more on the agenda and that Universal “could imagine pure synergy plays” or adding specialists to grow with “adjacent services”.It was “quite realistic” that a transaction like this could happen over the next few years, although Universal was not necessarily actively working towards this on a day-to-day basis.“We’re ready whenever an opportunity would be on the horizon,” said Vorbeck. The fund service provider sees room for growth both domestically and in Luxembourg, where it also has a fund service platform.Vorbeck said that in Germany there was still business to be had, but only for companies of sufficient size.“The only thing that counts in this environment is are you big enough, do you have enough money to invest, and do you have enough attention from your shareholder in your strategy,” he told IPE.He was referring to pressures stemming from the low interest environment, regulation and digitalisation. German fund service providers with less than €200bn in client money are unlikely to be able to survive the current market environment, according to the chief executive of Universal Investment, the country’s second-largest institutional fund provider. The company has a goal to raise its own volume to €500bn over the next four to five years and to be the leading fund service provider for all asset classes in Europe, said CEO Bernd Vorbeck.As at the end of its last fiscal year in September, Universal had €340bn of assets under administration, the bulk of which was for institutional investors (€278bn). Most of this was held in Spezialfonds, or master funds (€242bn).Universal is a big player in the market for so-called Master-KVGs, a fund service model used by mainly German institutional investors for the consolidated administration of assets held in Spezialfonds.
He told BBC Radio Newcastle: “If you don’t make the Champions League, then the big teams come for your players – look at Southampton. “We are pushing every year to try and build to hopefully get to a stage where we make it without losing our players. “We have pitched in and signed players that we think give us a chance to push for Champions League. “We have already shown we are much better covered offensively than we were after Yohan Cabaye’s departure. “We have options, more options to come in and it is going to strengthen my hand to tactically change the team.” The Magpies have lost France internationals Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy to Paris St Germain and Arsenal respectively since the turn of the year with both clubs able to offer them European football. However, Pardew is hopeful that the additions of the likes of Daryl Janmaat, Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere will allow the club to compete for a top-four finish once again. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew admits teams have to be pushing for the Champions League if they are to retain their best players. Press Association
Tipperary County Board vice chairman John Devane has doubts about the Club Players Assosciation’s proposals to restructure the GAA season.The CPA called upon the GAA authorities to discuss the matters at Special Congress.By ring-fencing April as an exclusive club only month, and by leaving December free of fixtures, the group say it would benefit club players. They also wish to complete club competitions in a calendar year – where the season currently run up to St Patrick’s Day.Co board vice chair John Devane says he’s not sure the CPA’s proposals are feasible…[CLIP]0730JohnDevane