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Michael Reinhard (Universal Investment): solving digitisation, regulation and sustainable finance challenges.

“Our Luxemburg platform is pivotal for our ambition to become a global franchise“ says Michael Reinhard, CEO of Universal Investment. Interview.

Can you describe Universal investment in a few words? 

 

Universal Investment is one of the leading European fund service platforms and Super ManCos. We have a significant track record in offering fund services to asset managers as well as asset owners such as pension funds. We enable our clients to concentrate on their core competencies, taking care of everything behind the alpha, be it the structuring of assets, fund accounting, reporting, risk management, or distribution. And we are an independent platform with a mature open infrastructure. This is part of our DNA since we were founded 1968 in Frankfurt. Today, we employ more than 1,500 experts in seven countries who provide reliable services to our clients and more than 5.000 funds with assets of over EUR 900 billion.

“We take care of everything behind the alpha”

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What place does Luxembourg have in your global strategy?

 

Two things make Universal Investment Group unique. On the one hand, we offer to our clients not only ManCo services but also fund administration and active distribution. On the other hand, we are present in the three largest fund domiciles in Europe: Germany, Luxembourg and Ireland. Our Luxemburg platform is pivotal for our ambition to become a global franchise. Luxembourg UCITS funds are the global gold standard in many parts of the world and as a financial centre it is an important hub for alternative investments as well. For more than two decades, we have invested in local substance in Luxembourg having now more than 120 professionals on site. We evolved into the largest third party ManCo as well as the largest AIFM in the Grand Duchy. And we have recently closed the partnering with Luxembourg-based European Fund Administration. Their great team and set-up provides us with an additional expertise driving further our internationalisation and our service offering e.g. for direct Private Equity.

 

 

What risk and opportunities do you identify for Luxembourg in general and Universal Investment?

Right now, all financial centres and financial players face three major challenges: digitisation, regulation and sustainable finance. In our opinion, digital assets will become a game changer, which is why various regulators aim to develop the necessary frameworks – with Luxembourg being one of them. We have started our digital twin UI Enlyte as one of the first end-to-end investment platforms for digital assets. Throughout the entire asset management industry, we see an increase in costs due to regulation and ESG which result in high competitive pressure. Combined with the challenging market environment, we expect two developments: Many players will ask themselves the make-or-buy question and look for partners like us to help them cope with various parts of the value chain. And we expect a further consolidation of the industry, especially in the quite fragmented Luxembourg industry - which we would like to actively shape.

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