Spanish savings bank Caja Madrid has selected four foreign asset managers whose funds will be market...
Spanish savings bank Caja Madrid has selected four foreign asset managers whose funds will be marketed to customers through its branches. This is a significant development in a market in which banks have been slower than elsewhere in Europe to embrace open architecture.
The four asset managers selected by Caja are Franklin Templeton Investments, JP Morgan, Fidelity and Merrill Lynch Investments. Caja is said to be Spain's second largest savings bank behind La Caixa and has more than three million customers and over 2,000 branches. There were reports earlier this year that the bank is to open 28 branches along the Spanish coast to serve expatriates.
Ramon Pereira, country head of Spain at Franklin Templeton Investments, says Caja has managed portfolios in which some third party funds have been used. But he says Caja will now actively market funds managed by Franklin Templeton and the other three external asset managers to its customers.
"This is one of the first times that one of the major banks in Spain is offering third party funds to its retail customers on a stand-alone basis," adds Pereira. "Smaller banks have moved more quickly towards open architecture and private banking clients have had access to external asset managers."
Pereira says Caja is appointing specialists based in a few hundred branches to help with marketing the third party funds.
He says it has not been decided yet how many of Franklin Templeton's funds will be available to Caja's customers. "The four asset managers were chosen by Caja because we had comprehensive ranges of funds, good brand names and the bank felt we could add value to its own funds."
According to Pereira, it is sensible for Caja to have opted for guided architecture by offering its customers a choice of only four external asset managers rather than a wider selection. He says: "It makes sense for customers not to have too much choice initially."
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