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Portfolio > ETFs

Pimco Parent to Offer Active Funds at ‘ETF-Like’ Prices

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Allianz (Photo: AP)

Pimco parent Allianz SE is deepening its foray into digital wealth management.

After becoming the biggest investor in London-based robo adviser Moneyfarm, the insurance giant will use the online platform to offer some of its actively managed funds directly to retail investors, without them having to go through a bank or a broker.

“We are opening up some of our existing funds for institutional investors to retail investors by creating a new share class designed for digital wealth managers,” said Juergen Weber, head of business and operational transformation at Allianz Asset Management. The robo share classes of the actively managed funds, which will be priced similarly to ETFs, will only be available through Moneyfarm, he said.

The funds — provided by asset management arm Allianz Global Investors — will be part of the seven investment portfolios that customers can choose from that differ by risk level and also include some ETFs, Moneyfarm Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Dapra said. For now, they will only be available in Germany.

Moneyfarm charges its customers a general service fee of 0.3% to 0.9% of the assets managed. On top of that, each portfolio carries a flat fee of 0.2% to 0.3% plus a performance fee estimated to be 0.1%. A portfolio with a medium level of risk, for example, will contain 60% of actively managed funds.

Crowded Field

In an increasingly crowded field, Moneyfarm is trying to differentiate itself from other digital wealth managers by extending its offerings beyond ETFs, which are the backbone of many robo advisers. For Allianz Global Investors, it’s a chance to address directly any customers who wish to use digital asset management without extensive advisory services.

Traditional retail share classes of Allianz Global Investors’ actively managed funds typically cost between 1% and 2% in management fees, while also carrying a front load of between 3% and 5%.

Moneyfarm’s customers register online, taking a questionnaire to assess their risk-appetite, investment time-horizon and the amount they are investing. The information is then used to choose one of the seven portfolio that best fits the client’s needs.

The company, founded in 2012, has 37,000 active customers and 550 million pounds ($700 million) in assets under management. It has raised over 60 million pounds from backers like Allianz.

“Moneyfarm aims to offer access to actively managed funds at the price of ETFs,” Dapra said. “This could enable a better outcome for our investors as actively managed funds –- in contrast to passive ETFs –- can grab outperformance opportunities, especially in inefficient markets.”

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