BT Asset Management SAI – CEO Aurel Bernat talks about growth, transparency and further upward trend
BT Asset Management SAI is the fourth asset management company in Romania and a member of Banca Transilvania Financial Group. Banca Transilvania, as its main activity, is currently the largest bank in Romania, with more than 500 branches across the country, and also a regional player.
Aurel Bernat is the CEO of BT Asset Management SAI after nearly 15 years with the asset management company, coming from a banking background and having obtained an EMBA from the University of Hull in the UK. He spoke with Wanda Rich, Editor-in-Chief, Global Banking & Finance Review, about a number of factors that drive the company’s continued success, including its “Keep it Simple” approach to making investing affordable. and the support it offers to young investors.
Congratulations on your award winning success. BT Asset Management SAI has experienced significant growth since its inception. What do you attribute this to?
Thank you for congratulating us – we are honored and proud to have the recognition from you. Since our inception in 2005, we have had an extraordinary journey, reaching a new milestone for BT Asset Management SAI in 2020 with over 4 billion RON assets under management (around 800 million EUR) from over 40,000 clients. We can attribute our development to the significant growth of the local financial market of Banca Transilvania, our group leader. Banca Transilvania being the largest bank in Romania, the distribution network has allowed us excellent national coverage and access to a large clientele. On the other hand, the last years of strong growth of the Romanian economy have been a trigger for success in our area of competence.
Can you tell us more about your investment philosophy?
Simple and efficient products. The “Keep it simple” philosophy is something we cherish, as investments should be viewed as easy to manage, accessible to a large customer base, and automatic behavior. At the same time, performance is a key factor in the asset management industry, which is why we provide our clients with predictable and successful products. Both characteristics are extremely important in a retail oriented business.
How are your Investment Advisors helping guide investors through these difficult times?
Transparency is vital in our business because a viable and consistent flow of information is relevant to all investors. We choose to inform our clients on a weekly basis of the development of their investments and the state of the market, seeing ourselves as a reliable source of financial information and a solid basis for future investment decisions. Our commitment is underlined by the continuous training of the entire distribution network and of the few asset managers, with a dedicated call center service for both customers and prospects.
Are there any funds you would like to discuss?
Over the past three years, BT Asset Management SAI has been one of the most active asset managers in Romania in terms of newly launched funds. We have developed a new product line comprising four thematic funds which are energy, technology, real estate and agriculture, investing both in the European market and in the United States. This strategy has led us to younger clients looking for greater market exposure, and going forward we see these types of funds as our main driver of development. Any retail investor can find something among these products that can exceed their expectations, as long as their focus is on long-term – and preferably recurring – investment.
What investment strategy do you recommend for young people entering the workforce and looking to invest?
Recurring investing is probably the best strategy at the moment. Recurrence is easy to manage, can be started with small investments, and because it’s an automated process, it should deliver a high degree of engagement and achievement at the end of each day. This type of strategy is ideal for young investors who are not used to market timing or exhaustive research, but who have the will and the power to act for their own future success.
What is your strategy for continued growth and success?
Take advantage of each project and each step forward, and not a single day that goes by without a larger or smaller business achievement. We are extremely optimistic about the future development, as the asset management market has a low contribution to local GDP, which gives us the opportunity to increase our assets under management at a faster rate. The monetary and financial context is favorable for our industry, the low interest rates being a key element for a better awareness of investments and a search for viable alternatives. If we add in future advances in COVID-19 vaccination and a strong response from the global economy, the coming year should be a bumper year for BT Asset Management SAI.