Falling commissions for sell-side brokers meant ADM had to look to other sources of revenue. This led Mr Ventre and his colleagues into securities research, and subsequently to fund management.
“We did quite well in performance terms, but it was clear we knew nothing about distribution, about how to sell our wares,” Mr Ventre says of his time there. “It was a decent living with loyal existing clients, but it wasn’t a growth business.”
On the other hand, Skandia – now part of OMGI – has set out its stall as a growing business. As Spectrum established itself as an important part of the company’s product range, so the multi-asset team Mr Ventre now leads expanded its repertoire, helped in no small part by the link to the Skandia platform.
As Investment Adviser discovered last year, the fastest growing multi-asset ranges in the past two years have come from the likes of OMGI, Standard Life Investments and Architas – all of which have a sister platform company to turbo-charge their distribution.
While the oldest of OMGI’s multi-manager products, the Best Ideas fund, still features in its line-up, the range has grown exponentially since 2008. Additional ‘unconstrained’ multi-manager funds, launched in 2009 and 2010, were combined under the Voyager brand in March 2013 and are run by Mr Ventre and colleagues François Zagamé and Anthony Gilham.
In 2012 – the same year Mr Ventre was promoted to take charge of the multi-manager team – Skandia targeted the at-retirement market with four Generation-branded funds with dual volatility and income targets. At the start of this year, OMGI added three Foundation funds consisting solely of mandates run by OMGI managers.
Including these launches, Mr Ventre is now named as a manager on 16 funds with £3.8bn under management, and another five funds are under the management of the multi-manager team. The group is also weighing up demand for additional Generation and Spectrum funds.
In addition, the head of multi-manager also helped develop, and has oversight of, the group’s new WealthSelect model portfolios, of which there are more than 40. So, how does he do it?
“Obviously, I have a big team,” Mr Ventre laughs. Three new staff joined in 2013 to develop and launch the WealthSelect models, including Stuart Clark, who is responsible for fund research and portfolio management.
“While there are some 40 or so models, it’s important to understand that the number of times you’re making a decision is much less,” Mr Ventre adds, outlining that the model portfolios are driven by a “systematic” process allowing manager selections to be implemented appropriately across multiple mandates.