Des O'Donohoe: Hi guys, Des from Fund Recs back again. Today I have Mr Eoin Motherway from the Asset Management Exchange. Welcome Eoin.
Eoin Motherway: Thank you.
Des O'Donohoe: So AMX, what are you guys all about? What do you guys do?
Eoin Motherway: AMX stands for The Asset Management Exchange. It is a concept we have to bring a digital market space where we can bring institutional buyers and sellers of asset management product together in one location.
Des O'Donohoe: Okay, yeah. So in terms of your global footprint, where are you guys based? Are you local in Ireland only?
Eoin Motherway: Right now we are in three countries. We went live in February of 2017 and have just passed $3 billion in AUM in December. We have our operations team in Cork and some of our technology team. We have our business development team and our markets team and sort of the core executive in London. And we recently added business development staff in New York.
Des O'Donohoe: Lovely. Okay. All right so, I suppose the main question is what is the problem that you guys solve?
Eoin Motherway: The issue we believe we solve is we want to bring order efficiency, cost saving to the asset management business, not just for the manager or the asset allocator which could be a pension fund or a bank, but ultimately to the end benefit of what we call the end saver. (That is) you and I who put money into our pension fund, that in turn ends up being invested in some form of asset management further down the line.
Eoin Motherway: We can see that up to now, most of the relationships in the asset management space are bilateral. You have an asset seller dealing with an asset buyer and all of that crisscrosses into many, many bilateral relationships. What we want to do is bring all of that into one exchange where you have a seller and you have a buyer. A little bit like the Amazon of asset management, where an investor can come to a shop once, do their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) once and not a hundred times and purchase whatever securities or exposures or investment strategies that they wish.
Des O'Donohoe: Okay. And is that an actual platform that you guys are creating or like me as a customer, how do I see the relationship or what way does that work?
Eoin Motherway: It's kind of both really where it's fundamentally built on what we call the back end. So traditional fund management, traditional fund administration, contract notes, transfer agency functions, etc. An investor right now can simply approach our transfer agent and enter into the fund, assuming they pass all of the regulatory requirements and AML requirements. What we are in the process of launching now is our digital front end, where our investors will have an access to a digital portal and with their asset allocation strategy allocate monies there and then online which would feed down to the ultimate investment managers eventually.
Des O'Donohoe: Okay. So ultimately business is about saving costs. Is that something you are helping the cloud ultimately do? Or is it a more efficient way of the person interacting or what's the hook from your perspective?
Eoin Motherway: The hook from our perspective is that we are trying to make asset management smarter, easier, and cheaper. Ultimately to the benefit of the manager, the asset allocator and the end saver, and the way that we do that is, right now there's a lot of focus on manager fees or the expense that's embroiled in asset management. And the traditional route is to go to the manager and say, "You must cut your fees." There are other parts in the value chain that could be looked at. And in order to do that, you need to have a transparent way of looking at all of the costs in the value chain. You need a mechanism to actually assess that. And then you need a seat at the table to drive it home with scalability.
Eoin Motherway: So with our firm, what we can do is we can construct the whole platform. So we own all of the relationships from the custodian, administrator, prime broker essentially, auditor, money laundering officer and so on. So we own the entire suite of relationships on the platform. And then managers come on and manage the money in our funds. So the manager gets to focus on what they do best, which is managing money. And we run all of the infrastructure around that and squeeze the cost say to scalability.
Des O'Donohoe: Yeah, that makes sense.
Eoin Motherway: And all of those savings end up in the NAV of the fund. So ultimately end up in the pocket of the end saver.
Des O'Donohoe: So in terms of the challenges, what are the current challenges that you guys are facing? We are at the start of the year now so, what does the roadmap for you guys look like over the next, let's say six to 12 months?
Eoin Motherway: The roadmap for us looks quite positive. We've launched eight funds this year and hit three billion by December. The next step for us now is to diversify and offer more strategies to our clients. So we have eight strategies in hedge funds live. We are now looking at a variety of equity and fixed income strategy solutions for the next year. We have a distribution strategy built around that. We see asset management and the growth of asset management and the challenges around costs and infrastructure pushing the industry towards a platform based model going into the future.
Des O'Donohoe: Okay, perfect. Eoin, thank you very much for coming and seeing us today.
Eoin Motherway: Thank you.
Des O'Donohoe: Thank you very much.