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MEX Asset Management: MultiBank Exchange Group Acquires German Niche Operator


January 2018--

As reported by Private Banking Magazin

Fortinbras Asset Management has been rebranded as MEX Asset Management GmbH (MEXAM) after being acquired by online financial derivatives provider MultiBank Exchange Group. MultiBank can now offer asset management services for private bankers as well as institutional investors out of Frankfurt.

MultiBank Exchange Group (MultiBank) – one of the largest online financial derivatives providers worldwide – has bought out German niche provider Fortinbras Asset Management. Since its acquisition in the fall of 2017 the Eschborn based firm operates under the brand name MEX Asset Management (MEXAM). Applying MultiBank's FX strategy to index products, MEXAM will address an audience of private bankers and institutional customers, says MEXAM Managing Director & CEO Chris Kennedy, speaking to this private banking magazine.

MEXAM is currently looking for a new office location in Frankfurt where they can expand their global asset management business. At the outset, MultiBank had envisioned the UK to be the seat of its asset management business, but changed its mind in favor of Germany after the Brexit-referendum.

The predecessor company Fortinbras Asset Management was founded in 2004 as a specialist boutique to structure, manage and distribute FX-related strategies. The business license according to paragraph 32 German KWG law granted by BaFin financial authority, including among other activities approvals for financial portfolio management as well as proprietary dealing, was grandfathered with the acquisition by MEXAM. In the course of the takeover, former Managing Director Jochen Renz left the company at the end of October 2017.

Kennedy stayed on as sole Managing Director. Previously, Fortinbras had developed and managed systematic trading strategies for institutional investors in the past 15 years, marketing them primarily in partnerships with global investment banks. A grand total of US$3 billion worth of structured products for such strategies have thus been provided to customers.

Data mining FX transaction flows has allowed Kennedy and his team to detect where the market is going and apply this to FX trading strategies. Depending on the analysis, they will either go with the trend or take contrarian positions. In effect, the MultiBank Systematic FX strategy has produced an annual return of 21% p.a. at a volatility of 6.8% since inception in 2013, according to Kennedy.

Concurrently with the acquisition of Fortinbras by MultiBank in September 2017, Kennedy structured an obligation index-linked to the FX-strategy mentioned above. This bond was issued in Luxembourg and is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. According to Kennedy it has returned a total return of 18% since its issuance four months ago. All-time highs for stocks, all-time lows for interest rates as well as high priced real-estate generate demand for such financial instruments. "The need for FX-exposure for diversification purposes is substantial", says the MEXAM Managing Director.