Q. When was the Singapore office founded and how do you work with your Swiss head office?
Crossinvest has been operating in Switzerland since 1985 and in Asia since 2005. While we work independently of each other, we look to optimise all identified synergies.
Q. How big is your team here?
We currently have 14 employees, with two more joining us before the end of the year. We have six senior private client advisors, who are supported by a team of five senior investment professionals and four admin staff. We are looking to grow the Crossinvest team.
Q. Where are your clients from?
We have clients from Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the broader Asia region, including India.
While our clients book their assets with us for us to manage, we are agnostic about where the bank account is, which is usually in the country of domicile. Our independence and our ability to customise and work with banks in most other jurisdictions allows us to onboard clients from all over the world.
Q. How are you charging clients?
On average, we charge clients a percentage of their assets under management, and we don’t take in retrocessions. We generally don’t charge performance fees, because it might lead to conflicts of interest, but for some high growth-oriented, aggressive clients, we might introduce performance fees.
We believe in maintaining complete alignment with the client at all times, removing any real or perceived conflicts that may arise. We operate with full transparency, as far as fees are concerned.
Q. What is your business model?
We are an independent wealth management company offering discretionary management, financial advisory and family office services to sophisticated individuals, entrepreneurial families and institutions.
We provide multi-asset and multi-jurisdictional discretionary and advisory investment solutions. 70% of clients are in discretionary accounts and 30% are in advisory.
Our investments are based on the principles of risk-based dynamic and strategic asset allocation strategies. We offer a solutions-based business model and partner with providers of trust services, corporate finance, insurance, off market real estate and estate planning, to name a few.
Q. What’s your investment strategy?
Our investment process is unconstrained across geographies and asset classes and is underpinned by a combination of top-down and bottom-up understanding. Performance is driven by top-down macro drivers that drive beta and bottom-up fundamentals, valuations and factors that drive alpha.
We have a highly experienced in-house investment and research team with a combined experience of more than 80 years.
We believe in maintaining complete alignment with the client at all times, removing any real or perceived conflicts that may arise. We operate with full transparency, as far as fees are concernedRohit Bhuta
Q. What percentage of your clients’ portfolios is in cash right now?
This has varied throughout the year. We have held between 5 and 10% in cash for the more conservative portfolios and 25 and 40% in the growth and high-growth portfolios.
We currently have 40% in cash in the high-growth portfolios. We closely monitor macro events, fundamentals, valuations and factors on a daily basis, and look to deploy when a target price is reached for underlying assets being monitored.
Q. Have you ventured into any new services?
We launched the Crossinvest Private Access platform in 2017.
We aim to bring independently sourced and selected private companies and assets that aren’t typically made available to private investors. Individual deals are selected from our global partners and we put each deal through our rigorous review and selection process.
Our ultimate aim is to have a portfolio of 20 to 25 private companies from Series A to pre-initial public offering, from around the world and across sectors, within two to three years.
In March, we expanded the Private Access platform to include private credit. Private credit provides a meaningful diversification to fixed income. We recently identified the first private credit opportunity that we will be taking to our clients this quarter.
We are also running a campaign offering accredited investors an opportunity to have their investment portfolios reviewed and evaluated against risk exposures and investment objectives – we refer to this as ‘cross-opinion’. This is offered at no obligation and no extra cost to the client.
Q. What is your growth strategy?
One of the key things we are working on in the next 12 months is growing our private wealth advisory team.
We have also formed a number of collaborative partnerships with like-minded and similar businesses in India and Thailand, and are white-labelling our investment portfolios for smaller IAMs.
We will continue to expand in unlisted private equity, private credit and private real estate.
Q. Are you looking at M&A?
Growth through acquisition is not yet a strategy for us. Having said that, the highly saturated and fragmented IAM industry will lead to consolidation, but we believe this is still some years away.
Q. Have you launched any digital tools?
We deployed AssetMax, a new portfolio management system widely used in Switzerland by IAMs.
This is a comprehensive tool with multiple modules ranging from risk management, customer relationship management, compliance, portfolio management, client reporting functions, finance, auto reconciliations, order generation and much more. Our clients are able to view their portfolios 24/7.
Q. What changes have you seen in the industry over the past five years?
The independent asset management space has seen progress in recent years, albeit at a fairly slow rate. From its emergence as a new industry in Europe and the US around late 2008, it only gained widespread recognition and prominence around 2013.
IAMs have certainly gained momentum and emerged as one of the mainstream players, even if there are multiple models and variations of the IAM. All the hard work has been done, and now there is a broader awareness of IAMs both within the client segment and the client advisors.
Q. What new challenges are IAMs facing today?
We had this perfect opportunity as an industry to come out and be independent, but a large percentage of industry players were doing exactly what they were doing at banks – just under a different brand. This has resulted in a very fragmented industry and cost us the opportunity to create awareness and develop a point of difference and, ultimately, a massive industry.
The fragmentation of the industry and the fact that there are so many different models of independent asset management on offer has not necessarily been a negative thing, however – it has helped awareness. The challenge now is to establish how we transition into a more formalised, mainstream industry with a clear point of difference from the other players – banks included.