A lot has transpired since ML Capital founded its Irish-domiciled MontLake UCITS platform in October 2010 during the first wave of the alternative UCITS boom. From launching with just a single UCITS Fund, ML Capital finished 2017 with 25 UCITS funds on the Platform and over USD5 billion in Group AUM, and now sits as one of industry’s most visible and successful players.
Richard Day (pictured), COO of ML Capital says 2017 was a record year for the group in terms of assets under management and top-line revenue growth:
“Over the year, we added seven new funds to the platform. Among others, we launched funds with market leaders such as Crabel Capital Management (Crabel Gemini UCITS & Crabel Advanced Trend UCITS) and Butler Investment Managers (Butler Credit Opportunities UCITS), while Advent Capital Management took on the management of one of our existing funds”.
Forming partnerships with industry-leading managers goes to the heart of what ML Capital aims to achieve for its distribution business – namely, finding the best products to take to market.
“We saw some great traction last year on the asset raising side – the DUNN WMA Institutional UCITS Fund, which is one of our leading distribution offerings, finished the year at USD400 million and returned 10.6 per cent,” says Day.
“The team has put substantial focus on Butler and Dunn and it was great to see their efforts being rewarded by the market. We launched Butler mid-2017 and took its AUM to north of USD100 million within four months. We added more than USD200 million in AUM to the DUNN fund. The in-house sales team at ML Capital has raised in excess of USD1 billion of assets over the past three years.
“We’ve demonstrated to the market our commitment to being a distribution-led platform business,” explains Day.
Matthew Williamson joined ML Capital’s Dublin office last April, following a decade-long tenure as COO of Man Investments in Dubai. His appointment as General Manager further strengthens ML Capital’s capabilities.
“Over the last 12 months the firm has gone from strength to strength. We’ve added significantly to the Dublin team, as we build out the infrastructure to support the funds on our growing platform. We’ve taken new premises on St Stephen’s Green, doubled the capacity to cater to our clients, and now operate a 30-strong team. We also continue to support the asset growth of our managers, particularly on the passive distribution side,” comments Williamson.
ML’s sales team have nurtured productive relationships with several key seeding houses across Europe. More than half of the new fund launches over the last two years have been driven by those investors who turn to ML Capital to launch a specific manager on the platform.
Fund selection for active distribution is far from a straightforward exercise. As Day explains: “We have to be careful in respect of the funds we choose to actively distribute. Much has been invested in our relationships with investors and we want to always bring them only the best and mindfully curated investment ideas."
On winning both awards this year, Day remarks: “We are delighted to pick up the award for the Best UCITS Liquid Alternatives Platform for the second year in a row. It is a testament to the efforts of the whole ML Capital team. We also want to extend our congratulations to DUNN Capital who manage the MontLake DUNN WMA Institutional and who picked up the Best UCITS Liquid Alternatives Fund.”
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