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Pablo Martínez Bernal from Amiral Gestion is our Sales Manager of the Month

Pablo Martínez Bernal from Amiral Gestion is our Sales Manager of the Month

Pablo Martínez from Amiral Gestion is our Sales Manager of the Month for October.
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12 OCT, 2022

By Constanza Ramos


When and how did you start your career in the financial industry? Did you have any other vocation?

Ever since I was young, I was always interested in financial markets, in economics and the relationship between both of them. I read during my first years at university about Warren Buffett and devoured for many years everything I could about value investing and financial markets. I think financial markets are very interesting, intellectually stimulating, constantly changing and the best place to see if the theories you read about actually happen.

It's a great way to follow what goes around in the world and how our near future ends up becoming. If I hadn't ended up working for the financial industry, I think I would have either become a full-time teacher or a writer (since I love to read and occasionally write). I have lectured in the past about value investing and behavioral finance to students from all ages and enjoyed the experience a lot.

How does a normal day as a Head of Sales for Iberia at Amiral Gestion looks like?

Every day is completely different, which I think is always pleasant and makes work more fun. In order to do our job properly, we must be updated about what our Sextant strategies are doing, why we have the positioning we have, what is our view of the current environment at any given moment, etc. That makes it vital to be in constant communication with our investment team (which is 21 currently from an asset manager of 52 employees). We try to have our current clients as better informed as we can, always making sure that every investor understands our products and what to expect from them. Finally, it´s also important to find new clients. Business development is always fun.

So, if you take into account the above, our days are a mix of travelling around Spain and Andorra, meeting with clients and prospects, hosting or assisting to events organised in our industry and having certain presence in the media to make Amiral more well known and share our latest news. 

What is the most interesting part of your role? What do you enjoy the most?

I think the business development part. This is a people business and you get to meet with many different profiles, you end up with a pretty good "big picture" of the industry, the trends and the world in general. Plus you learn a lot in the process. I also enjoy those few moments when you feel you really helped a client reach their goals with a strategy you explained and presented. Especially if you end up having a close relationship with that client.

What are your clients more interested in at the moment?

Flexible fixed income is the number one interest right now. The increase in spreads has made the High Yield category interesting again and we do believe it is starting to be a good moment to take some positions. We still hold 20% in Sextant Bond Picking, so it is true that prices are still not a bargain, but all-in-all, we do think that the Yield-to-Maturity and the low durations we have are an interesting proposition given the current environment. Our number one enemy is inflation and we need to protect ourselves from it. Staying in cash or in higher durations is very risky in our humble opinion.

It's 100% flexible fund where the managers target the inefficiencies of the fixed income market using a Bottom-Up selection process, highly focused on the risk/return ratio of each issue and its fundamentals. We seek to favour the less efficient segments of the market, targeting Small & Mid Cap issues, unrated issuers (but with strong balance sheets and cash flows with visibility), first issues of companies (when they offer a yield premium), convertible bonds, lesser known or less followed issuers, as well as in sectors or countries that are neglected or penalised by the market. We are talking to many clients who are beginning to see the current moment as a good entry point to increase risk in Fixed Income, although for the moment we continue to have liquidity in the fund, but not because of opportunities (we have gone from 28%  to 20%  during the year), as we see many, but because of market liquidity. In addition, the foreseeable rise in defaults makes us cautious.

On the other hand, we have a portfolio with low durations (2.9 years for the fund as a whole) and a performance cushion thanks to a portfolio yield of 7.6% for the invested portion, which allows us to better absorb market corrections. In addition, the relationship between NAV decline and portfolio carry makes us see the strategy as a very interesting alternative to replace funds with a very negative portfolio carry ratio.

In your opinion, what are the key drivers for successful fund distribution?

It's a combination of understanding very well your clients (what do they favor when selecting strategies), your products (from the technical details to the current positioning) and having a clear strategy (what to sell, to whom, how, why and when). It's mandatory that clients understand the risks of any given strategy, how will the funds perform if there are market downturns and what are the key drivers for positive returns.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in the asset management industry?

Read as much as you can, cultivate a network of other colleagues in the industry you can have lunch with occasionally and always try and out your client's needs in the center of everything you do. And find somewhere where you wouldn't mind staying the rest of your career. Finding a company with the proper DNA is way more important than looking for the best paying one. In the end, you need to enjoy every day and the people you work with will determine a lot that outcome.

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