Skip to main content

The Ethna-AKTIV – celebrating 20 years

Thanks for 20 amazing years – here’s to many more!

In February, we are celebrating a milestone that we are very proud of – the Ethna-AKTIV turns 20. We would therefore like to reflect on an amazing couple of decades and look at where we are heading.

A pioneer among multi-asset funds

Back in 2002, after years of honing their skills working for well-known players in the finance industry, Luca Pesarini and Arnoldo Valsangiacomo decided to establish their own fund – the Ethna-AKTIV, a risk-conscious, multi-asset fund with a focus on asset allocation. Initially set up as a ‘family and friends’ fund, the Ethna-AKTIV was designed to offer those close to the pair an opportunity to grow their investment over the long term while, at the same time, minimising their risks.

At that time in Germany, the idea of a fund offering a multi-asset approach was rather revolutionary and the Ethna-AKTIV was a pioneer in the field. However, over time, the fund and its underlying philosophy became so successful that increasingly more investors became aware of the Ethna-AKTIV and invested in it.

This led to Luca and Arno setting up two additional multi-asset funds – the bond-oriented Ethna-DEFENSIV in April of 2007 and the equity-focused Ethna-DYNAMISCH in November of 2009. However, the Ethna-AKTIV remained the flagship fund of the trio and has become a core investment product for many investors.

A proven investment approach

With the Ethna-AKTIV, investors have an actively managed, multi-asset fund that focuses on active asset allocation and rigorous risk management. But what really sets it apart is the fact that it does not follow any benchmarks. This gives the fund’s Portfolio Managers the freedom to invest exclusively in the securities they believe in the most. The fund’s approach, which combines a focus on capital preservation with a high degree of flexibility, has proven its worth many times over, with the fund weathering a range of crises, including the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008, the euro crisis of 2012, and, more recently, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Diversification across asset classes, sectors, and regions is an important part of the Ethna-AKTIV’s investment strategy. In making their allocation decisions, the Portfolio Managers take both the current macroeconomic scenario and the relative attractiveness of each investment opportunity into account. This enables them to react flexibly to different market situations and take advantage of potential returns while, at the same time, managing risks. Equities and bonds remain the core components of the fund’s portfolio, with investments in commodities and, above all, currencies rounding out the allocation.

The basis of the Ethna-AKTIV is a high-quality fixed income portfolio of corporate and government bonds, in which the duration and credit risk are managed flexibly and independently from the individual bonds. In addition, the Ethna-AKTIV can hold an equity allocation of up to 49%, through single stocks and index derivatives, such as ETFs, futures, and listed options. The fund can further diversify its portfolio by including up to 10% in gold and/or other commodities. In implementing its investment strategy, the Portfolio Management Team uses a top-down approach with rigorous macroeconomic and financial market analysis to determine in which asset classes, regions and sectors the fund will invest. This, together with their use of liquid derivatives (also known as a dynamic overlay strategy), enables them to optimise the fund’s risk/return profile.

An experienced team

The experienced Portfolio Management Team consists of founders Luca Pesarini and Arnoldo Valsangiacomo (who have been actively involved in the fund’s day-to-day management since its inception), as well as Michael Blümke - all of whom bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise in managing multi-asset funds. Following ETHENEA’s team approach, they are supported by other experts from within the wider Portfolio Management team.

 

Although there have been some challenging years, the fund has always been able to weather these, due to the in-depth understanding the Portfolio Managers have of the macroeconomic environment, their clear view of the constantly changing financial markets, and their careful management of the assets entrusted to them. Thanks to the combination of a long-term strategy and flexible tactical adjustments, the Ethna-AKTIV (T-class) was able to deliver a strong performance of 5.14% in 2021.

ESG in focus

The Portfolio Management Team consciously does not follow every trend that arises, but they know that the world is constantly changing and that it is essential to adapt in order meet future challenges head on. Currently, one of their key areas of focus is Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) aspects. The fund’s Portfolio Managers are committed to fulfilling their responsibilities as asset allocators to work towards a more sustainable future, while continuing to deliver a strong performance that meets the ESG expectations of its investors. In 2021, this effort was rewarded with not only four ESG globes from Morningstar, but also an AA ESG rating from MSCI.

To the next 20 years

Over the last 20 years, the Ethna-AKTIV has remained true to itself and its investors. The fund’s Portfolio Managers are committed to managing and safeguarding the fund assets entrusted to them in the best interests of their investors. The credo that Luca and Arno established 20 years ago of reducing risks in times of crisis in order to preserve the capital of their investors remains a hallmark of the fund. The Portfolio Managers not only manage the money invested with them as if it were their own, they treat it with as much care as if the investor had handed them their entire liquid funds. In fact, they believe so strongly in the Ethna-AKTIV that they themselves are invested.

Going forward, they will continue to optimise their approach as necessary, while still retaining the key elements that set the Ethna-AKTIV apart – a focus on asset allocation, a rigorous risk management approach, an emphasis on capital preservation, a high degree of flexibility, and independence from benchmarks and third-party opinions. This will allow the Ethna-AKTIV to take advantage of the opportunities that arise while, at the same time, manage risks, so it can continue to deliver an attractive risk-adjusted performance for its investors in the years to come.

Did you know?

The Ethna-AKTIV started out as a ‘friends and family’ fund

The first of the Ethna Funds, the Ethna-AKTIV, was initially set up as a ‘friends and family’ fund. Over time, the Ethna-AKTIV and its underlying philosophy became so successful that increasingly more investors became aware of the fund and invested in it. This encouraged Luca Pesarini and Arnoldo Valsangiacomo to follow their passion and set up two additional multi-asset funds – the bond-oriented Ethna-DEFENSIV in 2007 and the equity-oriented Ethna-DYNAMISCH in 2009.

The Ethna-AKTIV was among the pioneers in multi-asset funds

It may be hard to imagine now, but in the early 2000s, the multi-asset concept was not particularly well known or widespread. When Luca Pesarini and Arnoldo Valsangiacomo set up the Ethna-AKTIV, an actively managed multi-asset fund with the aim of preserving capital and achieving stable returns over the long term, they were among the first.

The fund started out with a slightly different name

Originally, the Ethna-AKTIV was known as the Ethna-AKTIV E. The E stood for Europe, which was the core of the fund’s investment universe at the time. As both of the other funds in the Ethna family were focused on OECD countries, and to optimise investment opportunities, the Ethna-AKTIV’s universe was also expanded to the OECD and on 31 December 2014 the ‘E’ was dropped.

The Ethna-AKTIV shares its birth year, 2002, with the official introduction of the euro banknotes and coins as legal tender.

This is a marketing communication. It is for information purposes only and provides the addressee with guidance on our products, concepts and ideas. This does not form the basis for any purchase, sale, hedging, transfer or mortgaging of assets. None of the information contained herein constitutes an offer to buy or sell any financial instrument nor is it based on a consideration of the personal circumstances of the addressee. It is also not the result of an objective or independent analysis. ETHENEA makes no express or implied warranty or representation as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or marketability of any information provided to the addressee in webinars, podcasts or newsletters. The addressee acknowledges that our products and concepts may be intended for different categories of investors. The criteria are based exclusively on the currently valid sales prospectus. This marketing communication is not intended for a specific group of addressees. Each addressee must therefore inform themselves individually and under their own responsibility about the relevant provisions of the currently valid sales documents, on the basis of which the purchase of shares is exclusively based. Neither the content provided nor our marketing communications constitute binding promises or guarantees of future results. No advisory relationship is established either by reading or listening to the content. All contents are for information purposes only and cannot replace professional and individual investment advice. The addressee has requested the newsletter, has registered for a webinar or podcast, or uses other digital marketing media on their own initiative and at their own risk. The addressee and participant accept that digital marketing formats are technically produced and made available to the participant by an external information provider that has no relationship with ETHENEA. Access to and participation in digital marketing formats takes place via internet-based infrastructures. ETHENEA accepts no liability for any interruptions, cancellations, disruptions, suspensions, non-fulfilment, or delays related to the provision of the digital marketing formats. The participant acknowledges and accepts that when participating in digital marketing formats, personal data can be viewed, recorded, and transmitted by the information provider. ETHENEA is not liable for any breaches of data protection obligations by the information provider. Digital marketing formats may only be accessed and visited in countries in which their distribution and access is permitted by law. For detailed information on the opportunities and risks associated with our products, please refer to the current sales prospectus. The statutory sales documents (sales prospectus, key investor information documents (KIIDs), semi-annual and annual reports), which provide detailed information on the purchase of units and the associated risks, form the sole authoritative and binding basis for the purchase of units. The aforementioned sales documents in German (as well as in unofficial translations in other languages) can be found at www.ethenea.com and are available free of charge from the investment company ETHENEA Independent Investors S.A. and the custodian bank, as well as from the respective national paying or information agents and from the representative in Switzerland. The paying or information agents for the funds Ethna-AKTIV, Ethna-DEFENSIV and Ethna-DYNAMISCH are the following: Austria: ERSTE BANK der österreichischen Sparkassen AG, Am Belvedere 1, A-1100 Wien; Belgium: CACEIS Belgium SA/NV, Avenue du Port / Havenlaan 86C b 320, B-1000 Bruxelles; France: CACEIS Bank France, 1-3 place Valhubert, F-75013 Paris; Germany: DZ BANK AG, Platz der Republik, D-60265 Frankfurt am Main; Italy: State Street Bank International – Succursale Italia, Via Ferrante Aporti, 10, IT-20125 Milano; Société Génerale Securities Services, Via Benigno Crespi, 19/A - MAC 2, IT-20123 Milano; Banca Sella Holding S.p.A., Piazza Gaudenzio Sella 1, IT-13900 Biella; Allfunds Bank S.A.U – Succursale di Milano, Via Bocchetto 6, IT-20123 Milano; Liechtenstein: SIGMA Bank AG, Feldkircher Strasse 2, FL-9494 Schaan; Luxembourg: DZ PRIVATBANK S.A., 4, rue Thomas Edison, L-1445 Strassen; Spain: ALLFUNDS BANK, S.A., C/ stafeta, 6 (la Moraleja), Edificio 3 – Complejo Plaza de la Fuente, ES-28109 Alcobendas (Madrid); Switzerland: Representative: IPConcept (Schweiz) AG, Münsterhof 12, Postfach, CH-8022 Zürich; Paying Agent: DZ PRIVATBANK (Schweiz) AG, Münsterhof 12, CH-8022 Zürich. The paying or information agents for HESPER FUND, SICAV - Global Solutions are the following: Austria, France, Luxembourg: DZ PRIVATBANK S.A., 4, rue Thomas Edison, L-1445 Strassen; Germany: DZ BANK AG, Platz der Republik, D-60265 Frankfurt am Main; Italy: Allfunds Bank S.A.U – Succursale di Milano, Via Bocchetto 6, IT-20123 Milano; Switzerland: Representative: IPConcept (Schweiz) AG, Münsterhof 12, Postfach, CH-8022 Zürich; Paying Agent: DZ PRIVATBANK (Schweiz) AG, Münsterhof 12, CH-8022 Zürich. The investment company may terminate existing distribution agreements with third parties or withdraw distribution licences for strategic or statutory reasons, subject to compliance with any deadlines. Investors can obtain information about their rights from the website www.ethenea.com and from the sales prospectus. The information is available in both German and English, as well as in other languages in individual cases. Explicit reference is made to the detailed risk descriptions in the sales prospectus. This publication is subject to copyright, trademark and intellectual property rights. Any reproduction, distribution, provision for downloading or online accessibility, inclusion in other websites, or publication in whole or in part, in modified or unmodified form, is only permitted with the prior written consent of ETHENEA. Copyright © 2022 ETHENEA Independent Investors S.A. All rights reserved. 04/02/2022