IN A NUTSHELL | PARTNERS VIEW | ORGANISATION | TEAM| PARTNERS HISTORY
IN A NUTSHELL
VIA AM is a Paris-based asset management company, formed in 2015 by a group of experienced ‘systematic-investment-strategies’ managers and analysts..
Our philosophy is not to stick to a specific investment style or factors.
Our objective is to maximize funds performance using proven and robust investment techniques..
VIA AM promotes two ‘state-of-the-art’ systematic strategies: long only “Smart-Beta” on equity and “Risk-premia” on multiple asset classes.
VIA AM also relies on a strategic partner and shareholder, Eric Sturdza Management Company S.A, which supports funds operations & distribution.
VIA AM has been regulated by the Autorité de Marchés Financiers (AMF) since November 2015 (agreement GP-15000029) and is the delegate manager of the VIA AM SICAV in Luxembourg.
“How would you introduce VIA AM?
““VIA AM is a new company, however VIA AM does not re-invent the “investment-wheel”. When it comes to taking financial risks, I prefer to try and improve existing successful strategies than apply brand new ideas. I’ve been working with Laurent Pla for more than 15 years and together, we have been able to develop investment solutions with above-average returns simply by systematizing some of the best investment techniques in history.
For me, VIA AM is an opportunity to go one step beyond by applying our methods to the best possible data. Thanks to Mauricio Zanini’s great accounting expertise, we benefit from a global investment universe of more than 3000 companies for which we have top notch economic and comparable information.
I would add that nothing would have been possible without our strategic partner, the Eric Sturdza Group, which offers us a strong operational and distribution support and lets us focus on what we do best, investing!””
“Why did the Eric Sturdza Group decide to partner with VIA AM?”
““Within my group, we harvest investment returns” off the beaten track”. We specialize in uncovering high-value added, alpha-focused, high conviction investment strategies and managers.
We have decided to partner with and accompany VIA AM managers as they seem to master one of the best ‘systematic-investment-technology’ available.
Their impressive track-record as managers, associated with Mauricio Zanini’s ground-breaking data technology were major catalysts to our decision making process.
And maybe more importantly, they have the entrepreneur mind-set that we value as a key success factor in navigating in an ever more competitive industry.
For the Eric Sturdza Group, teaming up with VIA AM is also a way to diversify our investment perspectives from the traditional discretionary approach.”
“As a Quantitative Analyst, you have been working on systematic strategies for about 20 years. What do you think are the main advantages of a systematic strategy over a traditional approach?”
“I see several advantages in implementing systematic investment strategies, advantages that we try and maximize at VIA AM.
Firstly, a quantitative approach allows to widen the investment universe by screening thousands of stocks based on many selection metrics when a discretionary stock picking can reasonably be performed on a few tens of securities only. To some extent, this is “big data” applied to asset management.
Moreover, a systematic process overcomes the risk of human psychological biases: loss aversion, unproven prediction capacity or illusion of talent can become dangerous friends when it comes to making investment decisions!
Computer-based algorithms can bear their own risks, however: data mining, curve fitting, over-optimization… At VIA AM, and in our whole respective careers, we have always considered quantitative analysis as a tool to support a sound economic investment rationale, not as a goal in itself. To us, this is an absolute prerequisite to implementing a systematic strategy.”
“How is data normalization embedded into VIA AM’s strategy?”
“VIA AM’s differentiation factor and competitive advantage are underpinned by the combination of proven successful systematic investment strategies with high quality corporate economic data. It means that we replace accounting data, which neither represent the interests nor fulfil the needs of equity investors, with real corporate economic data.
Corporate economic data is the outcome of a detailed accounting normalisation process that aims to provide investors with not only the true situation of corporates in terms of valuation and real cash returns but also comparability among them, regardless of the sector, region, GAAP, or country. It is a proven process designed to take systematic investment strategies to the next level.
When Guillaume Dolisi and Laurent Pla first explained the project to me, I saw significant synergies straightaway. I’m very glad to be part of the VIA AM team as we all endeavour to expose the truth concerning corporates, opportunities and risks alike, to our investors, hence VERITAS.”
VIA AM focuses on research and asset management, with a particular emphasis on systematic long only equity selection technics and Multi-Asset Absolute-Return models.
VIA AM’s equity edge relies on an extensive quantitative research driven by a genuine quest for economic truth.
By retreating hundreds of balance sheets every year, VIA AM’s research team aims to transform public accounting figures into real and comparable corporate economic data.
VIA AM’s edge in selecting Absolute Return strategies comes from its long experience in designing and managing “All-Weather” investment approaches.
VIA AM is a delegated manager of the VIA AM SICAV in Luxembourg
Eric Sturdza Management Company S.A. provides SICAV Middle office, Back office and Compliance support.
VIA AM SICAV Custodian is BNY Mellon Luxembourg; Central Administration is supported by SS&C
INVESTMENT MANAGERS & ANALYSTS
Founding Partner and Fund Manager
Prior to cofounding VIA AM, he co-created and co-managed with Laurent Pla the Quant Equity GURU and the Quant Equity Income strategies at BNP Paribas. In their fund format, several were ranked 5 stars by Morningstar, belonged to the best 5% performers over 3/5 years and accounted for over 4 billion euros in asset under management (2015). Before joining BNP Paribas, Guillaume was Head of Long/Short Equity trading at Société Générale Securities.
Along his 16-year career, Guillaume’s work has been centered on trading and design of numerous investement strategies, first on Equity Arbitrage, before focusing on long term systematic methodologies such as “Smart-Beta” or “Risk-Premia”.
Guillaume graduated from ESLSCA Business School (Paris) in Finance & Trading, and from the University of Nancy in Business Law and Economics.
“A money manager with an IQ of 160 and thinks it’s 180 will kill you. Going with a money manager with an IQ of 130 who thinks its 125 could serve you well” (Charlie Munger).
Founding Partner and Fund Manager
Prior to cofounding VIA AM, he co-created and co-managed with Guillaume Dolisi the Quant Equity GURU and the Quant Equity Income strategies at BNP Paribas. In their fund format, several were ranked 5 stars by Morningstar, belonged to the best 5% performers over 3/5 years and accounted for over 4 billion euros in AuM (2015). Laurent also held Head of Quantitative Research positions at Société Générale and Credit Agricole Cheuvreux.
Along his 18-year career, part of Laurent’s work has been centered on designing, back testing and validating multiple successful proprietary strategies. At BNP Paribas, he focused on “Smart-beta” stock selection investment strategies globally, with both a high-conviction and an income-orientated bias.
During his previous experiences, Laurent’s research covered the fields of statistical arbitrage, risk modelling and benchmark replication, among others.
Laurent graduated from the Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique (ENSAE Paris) in Statistics, Probabilities and Financial mathematics.
“Better to be roughly right than precisely wrong” (John M. Keynes).
Founding Partner and Head of Research
Prior to co-founding VIA AM, he held a Senior Analyst position within the CROCI Research Group at Deutsche Bank. For over 10 years, he expanded and improved the global coverage of equities to enable the creation of various successful funds and structured products. Mauricio also held a Financial Analyst position at JP Morgan.
Following his experience at Deutsche Bank, Mauricio founded VICAP, a research firm focused on providing institutional investors with first class equities valuation data. He designed VIPE®, a proprietary equities valuation model that produces systematic corporate economic data on assets, cash returns, and valuation.
Mauricio holds an MBA from the Cass Business School (City University London).
“The power of psychological influences must never be underestimated. Greed, fear, suspension of disbelief, conformism, envy, ego and capitulation are all part of human nature, and their ability to compel action is profound, especially when they’re at extremes and shared by the herd” (Howard Marks)
Hicham Qasmi joined VIA in February 2016 as its risk management officer and quantitative research analyst. From 2008 to 2011, he was the deputy risk officer at Harewood Asset Management where he co-developed a risk management platform for systematic and formulas funds. Then he worked as a quantitative research analyst on formula funds and equity smart beta strategies at THEAM asset management and then at Banque Baring Brothers Sturdza. Hicham graduated in physics from Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon.
He holds two Masters of Science degrees; one in statistical physics and one in probabilities & finance from the University of Pierre-Marie Curie in Paris.
“You must know the big ideas in the big disciplines, and use them routinely – all of them, not just a few. Most people are trained in one model – economics, for example – and try to solve all problems in one way. You know the old saying: to the man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” (Charlie Munger).
Prior to joining VIA AM, he worked as a Structurer in the Equity/Fund Derivatives division of Goldman Sachs International in London. Jordan also held a Quantitative Research position at Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Investment team in New York and at the Paris based Asset Manager Lutetia Capital.
Jordan’s experience at Goldman Sachs was mainly focused on developing and back testing proxy-hedged products based on mutual funds, and pricing fund-based exotic options.
Prior to that, he participated in the development of the Lutetia Merger Arbitrage Quant Index (SGIXMAE Index) and worked on an ESG-linked prototype portfolio algorithm for Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Investment team.
Jordan graduated from Columbia University New-York (MIA in Energy) and from Sciences-Po Paris (Ms in Finance).
“The airplane takes off against the wind not with it” (Henri Ford)
BOARD MEMBERS & GOVERNANCE
Guillaume Dolisi is acting as the CEO of VIA AM, Laurent Pla as its CIO and Mauricio Zanini as a Board Member.
Board Member and Advisor
Bruno is a member of Banque Eric Sturdza’s Executive Management and has been CIO for over eighteen years. During his 35-year career in Investment & Private banking, he held, among others, roles of Director at ABN AMRO Corporate Finance in Paris, in charge of the Merger & Acquisition activities and Director of Financial Research at Neuflize Schlumberger Mallet.
Bruno was also a Professor at SciencesPo Paris for 10 years and published numerous articles and books related to International Economy.
He graduated from SciencesPo (Paris) and holds a Master’s in Corporate Law (Paris X University) and a Master’s in Economy (Dauphine)
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” (Confucius)
Board Member and Advisor
Aimery is also a Member of the Board and Administrator at Banque Eric Sturdza. During his 45-year career, among others, he held the Board President position at Imerys, Chief Executive Officer at Pargesa and was a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch Capital Markets in New-York.
Aimery graduated from SciencesPo (Paris) and Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA – Promotion Robespierre).
He is also a Doctor in Law.
“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” (Napoleon)
(1) June 1998: Laurent Pla launches an Equity European Value-Momentum systematic model – from 1998 to 2007, 15% p.a. vs. 5% for the Stoxx 600
(2) December 2008: Guillaume Dolisi and Laurent Pla launch a systematic strategy based on star-managers technics.
(3) October 2000: Mauricio Zanini joins a major investment bank’s research team and participates in the development of an accounting normalization model
(4) September 2011: Mauricio Zanini launches VICAP, a company specialised in accounting data normalization.
(5) November 1999: The Baring Brothers Sturdza bank launches an asset management business.
(6) October 2014: The AM entity of the Eric Sturdza Group has won three Lipper Fund Awards – the prestigious ‘Group Equity (small)’ award for Europe, Germany and Austria. The Lipper Fund Awards recognise exceptional performance throughout the global professional investment community.
(7) November 2015: VIA AM emerged with the association of 3 successful managers and analysts with robust track-records in managing systematic strategies, complemented by a well-established European Investment group.