The Challenges of the Asset Management Industry in a More Complex Scenario in the Markets and for Businesses

The recent event focused on the asset management industry, organized by the Association for Progress and Management (APD) and Inverco, brought out interesting conclusions about the health of the sector, the concerns that affect the industry, and the challenges it has to face. With an attendance of over 650 people, the event welcomed regulators, small, medium and large managers, advisory companies, and the media.

Figures

The figures show that the sector has continued to grow, driven both by the favorable market scenario to date and the changes introduced by Mifid II.

Since 2008, the industry has gone from AUM of €232 Bn to the expectation of reaching €472 Bn at the end of 2019, more than double. Only this year, the AUM has grown €10 Bn. And the number of participants has already reached 15 million. The average return of the funds in any category in Spain is 5.34%, considering the low interest rates.

Currently, there are 119 IIC management companies registered in Spain, four of which have been created this year. A total of 1.9 million retail customers have contracted advisory services, and 1.3 million have sought out discretionary management. The AUM, in both, amounts to €75 Bn, generating revenues of almost €600 million euros.

Concerns

One of the industry’s concerns is the new economic scenario. Uncertainties arising from the US-China trade war or Brexit; the very low interest rates that have reversed the curve and caused negative returns on some bonds; and the expectations of deceleration, will challenge managers to solve problems like maintaining the current levels of profitability and growth.

Another concern, also shared by regulators, is the impact of regulatory changes related to customer information about markets, as well as the transparency of information on revenues and expenses. Additionally, income reduction due to changes in regulations regarding incentives is another shared concern.

The CNMV regulator admits that more progress has been made in regulations. The regulation of omnibus accounts, sending information remotely to participants, reducing the capital necessary for the creation of entities, the reclassification of customers, sending analysis reports to customers, and the establishment of criteria to limit fund underwriting, are measures that have already been implemented.

However, all this has led to extra effort for management companies, which “weakens the operators’ business expectations” as the CNMV Vice President herself acknowledged in her speech.

Challenges

To face this complex scenario, industry representatives pointed out several challenges they are facing, with the view of preserving their business models.

The first is to maintain customers’ trust, this will help maintain the products’ level of profitability in a scenario of low interest rates and worsening the expectations of the cycle. The regulator reported on behalf of its efforts that have been carried out to preserve liquidity in the portfolios of investors, through strict monitoring and supervision of control procedures, surveillance measures, stress tests, and contingency plans.

The second is to defend against the narrowing margins caused by higher expenses and lower revenues. The CNMV, on the other hand, explained the measures taken for the correct selection of financial intermediaries by management companies, and to expedite the authorization procedures for new operators. Despite this, the managers believe a process of concentrating operators will be feasible in the short and medium term.

The third is to approximate the size and trends of the manager-client relationship in effect in the Spanish market towards the other European markets’ trends in our environment. The industry is committed to expanding the diversification of the assets it invests in – an example would be the expansion of vehicles that invest in real estate assets – and to maximize the possibilities of digitalization as a tool that facilitates efficiency in the models of distribution.

The last challenge is to reinforce the implementation of ESG criteria in the management of investment vehicles to increase competition. There is a long road ahead in this field, since as recognized by the CNMV itself, as of June 2019 there are only 17 solidarity funds registered, and 37 funds managed with ESG criteria, which accumulate AUM for €2 Bn.


 

Javier Ferrer
Director of Financial Communication at Proa Comunicación

PROA Comunicación 10 Years | Is Aging the new Sickness?

Doctor Ángel Durántez, Sports Medicine and Age Management expert shares what this type of medical specialty consists of, as well as clearing up if aging could be considered an illness. “We have to take care of ourselves our whole lives,” he says.

Dr. Ángel Durántez is the pioneer doctor in Spain of Proactive, Preventative Medicine and Age Management Medicine – Medicine for Healthy Aging-.

He currently directs his clinic in Madrid attending to patients integrating the application of the latest medical advances of the 7 P’s: Preventitive, Proative, Participatory, Predictive, Personalized and Pleasant. He is the doctor of numerous figures of the business world, finanze, politics, art, entertainment, media, and sports.

The Lack of Love and Violence in Teens

Human beings on the way to maturity to go through moments that can accelerate it or strand them in the middle of development. Stages which are especially influential include your stay in the womb, the first two years, and pre-adolescence from 9 years to 12 in which there is an increase in the pathways that communicate the brain modules with each other, preparing it for increasingly more complex tasks. Adolescence is disrupted by the entry of reproductive hormones onto the scene and young people’s need to be included among peers, and the first stage that begins to outline what adult life will be. And lastly, what we each bring as a genetic predisposition can be an obstacle or an advantage.

We know that the human is born premature, because if it was born “developed”, their brain would not fit through the birth canal, so the very complicated cerebral anatomical structure will end up outside the uterus: in the social and family environment. We know that at birth we have no functional brain, only the brain stem, where the reflections that maintain the vegetative life reside. We know that neurons with few stimuli, few branches (dendrites) to collect information, little intelligence and human skills are present. Therein lies the human vulnerability and the enormous dependence on the family environment for the rest of the brain to function. A mixture of genetic dispositions and the need for multimodal stimuli requires careful and constant attention.

Given the current situation, especially in early and late adolescence, where they have to suffer the consequences of an inadequate diet, excessive hours hooked to phones and television series, which ruin, spoil and create possible citizens, preparing their minds for simplicity. In short, they present no so precisely structured models of a half-developed youth that seems to matter to no one. All this will test what parents have received and their contribution of love, bonding, education and values. Parents are going to have to give up their criteria and understand what comes from their children’s environment and gangs. And, they have already lost the game.

The human being who is lucky and survives that barrage can maintain and interject attitudes, emotions, habits, feelings, values and everything we call the family group structure, as they follow their personal evolutionary path.

If this takes place naturally and gradually, the infant builds an identity based on tangible, human, finite and positive models. All this will take place in a reassuring, stable and safe environment. The product of a couple that respects and enhances the role of one another in front of the children, where the children are loved for who they are, themselves. They will not be used for narcissistic, family image and class objectives, nor should they have to be perfect to be valued and loved.

As the result of a loving, attentive upbringing, dedicated to the enjoyment of raising and educating them, we have stable humans, with the ability to create their own criteria, mental independence, the ability to make a life plan in accordance with nature, which is to care, respect, and cooperate; they have empathy away from any mental intoxication. Humans can thus identify with their parents and relatives and finish this process and complement it with good educational models. It is the calm serene identification that builds healthy, peaceful, kind goals and developments alongside teachers, parents and family.

In case of failures and deficiencies of everything previously stated, the subject has a void, an unease, a contained rage, a desire to fill that gap … and fills it through some conscious and non-conscious processes. Some within this group achieve success and get ahead, but perhaps blocking their emotional system, along the way so as not to suffer the consequences of the stressful family environment. Others are installed in models of good and bad, of the ideals and the scorned, and many other compensatory systems that may indicate lack of emotional development. Or they show how much they have to hide how little they are. In other cases, their minds have not experienced nuances, complexities and middle terms. They perceive little and focuses on only one direction of life, they have a very limited life repertoire, they are fanatics. They can use addictions, material or immaterial drugs, another “therapy” self-applied as a crutch, as a sign of the poor ability to enjoy common life, their lack of impulse control, to get carried away by the environment. Copying, imitating, living on borrowed criteria. It may be normal, but when you touch a point of fragility, it snatches away, loses shape, and is flooded with emotions, violence and lack of control.

 


José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena 
Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

10 Management Skills Required by Companies

Carlos Recarte, founding partner of Recarte & Fontenla, explains in Proa Comunicación’s video when companies should call a headhunter. Also, he describes to what extent it is important to consider the professional environment and highlights the 10 management skills that companies currently require:

  1. The courage and determination to take risks and accept failure.
  2. The ability to make decisions, especially those that are increasingly more difficult and lack perfect information.
  3. Self-awareness of strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots that prevent us from seeing our weaknesses.
  4. Flexibility to adapt to constant changes.
  5. Constant learning especially in personal development in everything related to the sector in which the company operates.
  6. The ability to be comfortable and well-versed in networking both physical and online.
  7. A developed global mentality that helps us have a more complete vision of the world and understanding of different cultures.
  8. The capacity to innovate and reinvent yourself in an almost constant manner.
  9. Integrity to say what you are thinking, and humility to learn from mistakes and failures.
  10. The capacity to motivate and inspire others to overcome the habitual resistance to change.

Security and Cyber Security

Nobody nowadays understands how our homes could lack doors with locks, considering all of the kinds available, armoured and protected in many cases by an alarm that can be connected to an alarm centre; and if necessary, motion detectors and a thousand other devices that I could go on enumerating. Cybersecurity deals with other types of areas such as mobile phones, notebooks, laptops, computers, cars and all kinds of devices that connect to a network (Internet). With the launch in mid-September of the European Payment Directive, better known as PSD2, which requires having a “strong authentication” (which involves using two of the following three: something that the person knows, PIN, password, etc. Something that the person owns, credential, magnetic card … etc. Something that the person is, facial recognition, retina … etc.) in these types of transactions, economic ones specifically, we are forced to review what we do from our devices as safe or not.

How can we protect them? Beyond the physical protection that prevents scratches or deterioration while carrying them, but nobody carries their cellphone or laptop completely bundled up, what kind of protection are we giving these devices? As always, logical protection is an option to consider with non-obvious passwords and changing them from time to time seems simple, but it requires discipline. If we use our cellphones like computers, and sensitive data is stored on them, we have to ask ourselves if we need to increase the security levels using payment programs to protect them, antivirus, or biometric measures, which have their limitations, even if we apply them all at once.

There are facts in cybersecurity that can go unnoticed, such as having private data and files on the same computer that we connect to the internet, however, we do not know if those files are safe. Our computers can be infected with viruses and even cause us to lose the information we have saved. Does it make sense to use two computers, one with sensitive data and the other for connecting to the internet, hobbies and leisure? In the hyperconnected world we live in, how can we be sure that nobody has connected to our car’s computer, and accessed and compromised the information?

There are issues that cybersecurity is already offering solutions for, like the solutions of older times against theft, abuse and invasion on your own land such as locks and windows with bars. The topic is diverse, exciting and complex, but in the meantime it would not hurt to use common sense and some basic rules that help to safeguard the privacy of the information such as avoiding negligence when exchanging files, not connecting to an unreliable network, changing passwords more often, and ultimately being reasonably distrustful and, if possible, informing a cybersecurity expert in advance.


Manuel García Ramírez
Director at MGR Consultants IT y Security

How do our Brains Work?

Rafael Yuste, a Spaniard, at Columbia University in New York City, is studying in a program focused on the brain for ten years in the US. So take a look at the simplifications that are working out there.

“It’s a type of exploratory research, like getting to a new continent and seeing it for the first time. Many of the lessons we have learned and that we are still learning were unpredictable until very recently. The entire brain is used even when we are asleep, and it only turns off when the patient is in a coma, and not completely. Spontaneous brain activity is one of the great mysteries of Neuroscience: why do we spend so much energy keeping it active all the time? Because the brain works multidimensionally. ”

“I guarantee that there are going to be new neurons that nobody has described before and types of neurons that people have previously described that are going to disappear.” “We cannot explain most of its functions, how the brain processes a thought, a notion, a sensation or an action. To do this, we will have to map the networks of the brain and see how information is transmitted through those networks, which will require many new technologies and theories that we still do not have. We do not know how they connect with each other and we do not know how the information is transmitted through these connected networks .”

You may have noticed that a Spanish scientist, speaking on behalf of an advanced team, says that we do not know what an emotional process is. Do you realize how often we hear or read about “emotional intelligence experts? And even marketing based on how neurons work. ”

Gaps in Human Behavior

Emotion, or better to say feeling, the feeling of comfort, feeling good or bad, anger, anxiety, pain, these are all biological states, body, glandular, sympathetic and parasympathetic. Therefore, they are the most unconscious.

If there are thousands of neuroscientists studying the brain, it is because of its enormous complexity that we have immense gaps in our knowledge about it. On the other hand, I insist again that, in many technological researchers, there is constantly so much ignorance about what is culture, civilization, the life of the Planet be belong to, human behavior and, therefore, future ventures into technology, putting in the media’s very imaginative news about our brain. You should feel very encouraged that the media highlights all the news about the brain, emotions and motivation, without contrasting with specialists, and thus contribute to degrading the cultural environment. We are flooded with headlines.


José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena 
Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

“The State’s Job is to Avoid Historical Deformations for Political Purposes”

The former Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport, José Ignacio Wert, presented his book The Education in Spain, a Pending Subject in Proa Comunicación’s videos celebrating its tenth anniversary. “The state’s job is to avoid historical deformations for political purposes,” he said forcefully when referring to the Catalan social and political conflict. Additionally, he highlights in his book that “the manipulation of textbooks used in Catalonia has been abundant” and this has not only been the work of the nationalist parties, but the Tripartito Government as well.

On the other hand, in relation to the Lomce (organic law to better the quality of education), he wanted to point out that “the lack of implementation of its main objectives is what has prevented a greater improvement in education.” Also, he remined us of the context of the law saying that “the Lomce was passed during impossible fiscal and economic conditions.”

Lastly, he signaled that dropping out of school early is the main problem in Spanish Education, “it surprises me how poor the awareness of this problem is in our country.”

Presence and Cosmetics

When I started coaching 15 years ago in Spain, the problem was that no one knew what coaching was. They not only did not know what it was but the did not know how to pronounce the Anglo-Saxon word with its origin from sports. Now the problem that I have found is that everyone has already tried coaching, as if it were a task they could cross off their list and talk about later.

Our definition of leadership is intimately linked to this. Because of this, being a good leader consists of having the highest grade on a list of behaviors or skills defined by a company, so coaching has been converted into a service that helps increase that score across those behaviors. How? Well, as we watched the coach on the series “Billions,” scare the lady!

Western films with cowboys and Indians always reference the odd things that the primitive, loin-cloth wearing Indians did. They did not want written papers justifying if the land was theirs or someone else’s, and they did not measure a man’s strength by the size of his gun. What seems like ignorance in the eyes of the cowboys, however, was another more authentic way of measuring a person’s leadership. For them, leadership was presence.

And of course, as we drown in the collective madness of hyper-connectivity, it is hard for us to imagine what old wise people mean when they talk about really being present in a conversation. Instinctively, however, it is very easy to distinguish a present person from one who is not there, since that kind of presence it not understood, it is felt: a serene, warm look, and not a furtive one – that probably is directed at a phone or a smartwatch.

We clearly feel when we are with someone that does not hide anything about themselves, while others strive to impress us by hiding what they do not want us to know. The leader who is really present transmits stillness, confidence, and the desire to grow constantly, while others generate uncertainty and nervousness. They dance faster than the music, as they say in French – “plus vite que la musique.” We feel like the present leader helps us to better ourselves, while others squeeze us to our maximum performance until we are completely worn out.

But to become a present leader requires a long road of coaching, self-exploration, rest, and then more coaching. Never is focus of the effort a series of external measurements or a list of tasks to check off, but inside, like Carl Jung said, “those that look outside dream, those that look within wake up.” To be able to bring ourselves to the present with all of our mind and energy, to truly live in the present, we have to make peace with our past and stop asking for the future to save us.

What I found myself is that the majority of coaching that is done in businesses is cosmetic. you might say it is like putting management on a diet. While following this diet with your coach, pending that you do not break their prescribed habits and disciplines, your evaluation grade improves on the selected skills, very good. The coaching ends, the evaluations are positive, and everyone is happy. The coach charges the trainee and goes home even happier.

After finishing the diet, the lost kilos return in a few weeks, the improved behavior disappears as soon as the manager’s life gets complicated. And this is clear, “people do not change.” This is what I call cosmetic coaching. It only tricks the HR professional into coughing up an improvement in the valuations.

A diet and discipline are not a solution for losing weight, but rather a measure of shock for emergency situations that is difficult to sustain over time because it requires too much effort. And for me, if something requires a lot of effort it is a failure in the approach. The interesting question is why a person lost interest in eating healthy, taking care of themselves and staying in shape. If you find an answer- always emotional and thoughtless- to this question and the underlying problem is solved, it is no longer necessary to punish yourself with annoying diets and disciplines. People change their way of eating and exercising without thinking about it or having to discuss it with themselves. They do it because they want to, sorry.

It could be said that losing weight translates to communicating better in public, negotiating more valuable exchanges in the company, becoming more visible, or spending less energy on delegating work in a partonizing manner that. Behavior change is only a success when the person does it without having to think about it. When it has become something instinctive, normal. When someone is surprised after losing so many years doing things the hard way, he tells everyone while laughing at himself. Thus impacting its transparency and its presence.

People do change, everybody. And if not, do yourself a favor and change your coach.


Pino Bethencourt 
Coach y Founder of Club Comprometidos

Stories about our Brains in the Media

“A team of researchers from the Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea have created some organic nano cables that simulate the functioning of biological synapses; the highways of our brain. The distinction of this advance is that they consume almost the same energy as ours, about 1.23 femtojoules. “Now they “only” have to reduce to a tenth the thickness of the nano cables. By then, we will be much closer to a biological computer or a digital brain. ” This is the news that instead enlightens us away from true knowledge, and lead us to believe that the brain is only connections, cells to cells, makes no sense. The digital brain is a joyful occurrence. And it seems that this gentleman has not delved into what synapses, electrical, or chemical, or lateral connections are.

In a cubic millimeter of the brain, there are about 100,000 neurons connected through 1 billion connections that communicate by exchanging chemicals, ions, and other substances that cause this activity. Do you mean this real brain?

The brain weighs a kilo and four hundred grams. The dendrites: extensions of each neuron to receive information and send it to the body of the neurons, when the total amount is added together, gives us a figure of 70 with 70 zeros. Without counting on these connections, they can change, exchange in seconds, increase or decrease their size, disappear, assert their connection strength or decrease it. They are usually not fixed, nor stable. Something that this laboratory seems to disregard.

For this immense network to work, more than one hundred neurotransmitters are needed and twice as many other substances from a complex metabolism of the entire body, which includes the digestive brain and the ten million sensors distributed throughout our body and being sent to our brain constantly. This information must be added to the organizing center that we call the brain, as well as the bacteria that form the intestinal macrobiota, thousands of proteins that act as enzymes, as signals, as structural support and many other functions. The brain is the center of our bodies’ nutrients, oxygen from the blood, and a network of blood vessels measuring 600 kilometers.

In that brain insulin plays a role. This role serves as an important neuromodulator that contributes to neurobiological processes, such as cellular, biochemical and molecular functions, but which is manufactured outside the brain, as we know, in the pancreas.

Insulin has a major role in synaptic plasticity, in the mood, learning: it exerts a neuroprotective function, in the birth of new connections, for the survival of the circuits, even as a neurotransmitter.

Insulin from the pancreas plays a major role in cognitive processes, attention, overall functions, learning and memory.

The mind-body relationship is being scandalously simplified. They have to explain to us where they are going to install a pancreas to supply insulin to that biological brain that they plan to manufacture.

(Insulin, aging, and the brain: mechanisms and implications. Abimbola A. Akintola and Diana van Heems Department of Gerontology  and geriatrics, Leiden University Medical center, leiden, Nethederlands)

 


José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena 
Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

Why it is Important to Learn how to Debate

Marco Bolognini, founding partner of Maio Legal, highlights the importance of debate skills and the need for countries like Spain or Italy to reinforce their practice in the education system. In addition, he details why the skills that that he learned are important due to the level of debate in the legal field.