Next-Gen Ultra High Net Worth Advisors

Curated approach towards investing in next gen technologies

Loic BondiguelPartner, Investment Office — Private Markets

Loic Bondiguel, Partner - Private Markets, at Decisive Capital Management, talks
to Tom Burroughes, WealthBriefing Group Editor, on what makes the firm special.

What sets you apart from your peers this year and why? 

Decisive is a next generation wealth advisor and under our Curated Investment Management division, we seek smart technology investment opportunities around the world. Created in 2016, Decisive is now a 90 people organisation and growing. It emerged with a completely different DNA compared to the traditional business model used by large corporate wealth managers, which we believe is no longer adapted to best address clients’ needs. We understood early on that we did not want to play a brokerage role, but rather an actively involved asset allocator, investing alongside our clients and aligned with them. Since the beginning, we have developed a strong and specialised internal due diligence capability, rather than relying on external generalist providers or “due diligence on demand”, which in our opinion is a recipe for error. As risks cannot be eliminated, our thorough due diligence processes allow us to identify and understand their magnitude, so that we can ultimately find the right risk-return balance. Today our 10-strong and growing Private Markets investment management and due diligence team are spearheading our efforts on that front.

How have your colleagues contributed towards the success of your organisation? 

We expect nothing but the best. We are tough on ourselves, setting high standards. But it is curiosity and the ability to keep our eyes open to opportunities that makes the difference. We access deals through a carefully constructed network, apply due diligence processes and ultimately manage private portfolios. We collaborate with all Decisive’s experts, in particular the legal and structuring teams. At the end of the day there is no such thing as luck. Accessing these markets is not an exact science and we need to eliminate as many risk factors as possible. 

What are you going to do to stay on the front foot? 

1) Curiosity, knocking on doors, leaving no stone unturned. 2) Getting close to where wealth is created and generated. 3) Being part of Smart Capital. The goal is to invest in companies with ground-breaking technologies and visionary business models. We apply a thorough selection and deep due diligence process as the team looks for loopholes and negotiates investment terms. We then actively follow-up with portfolio companies to be able to provide detailed reporting to our clients. Every single aspect counts: from assessing participations in further rounds to evaluating exit opportunities. On average, Decisive screens more than 500 companies globally every year. Currently, we are invested in FinTech, PropTech, BioTech, SpaceTech, Marketplaces, Renewables, Blockchain, SaaS, AgTech, Mobility and MedTech. 

What have been the challenges you have had to overcome to reach such a standard? 

What we are doing is not common in Switzerland. That makes the talent pool here very limited, and so we are hiring globally. A second challenge is that these markets often suffer from greed at the late stage. We need to be able to overcome this phase through exhaustive research and due diligence, to access a deal at the right price. We often face challenges with entering local markets, in that allocations to investment opportunities are often primarily given to local investors or supermarket asset managers, leaving non insiders with nothing. 

How has your business and business model reacted to the pandemic? Have you introduced new working practices that will endure? 

I would say that our business has benefited from the pandemic as the hectic public markets together with the low interest environment left investors without many investment alternatives. As a result many shifted their exposure to private markets. As the public markets are now correcting, one has to be more selective in the private markets and focus on sourcing companies with the right business models at the right valuation level. 

What lessons have been learnt that can be carried forward? 

A lot of tech companies experienced a tailwind during COVID. Selecting companies with solid business models and a clear path to profitability will be key going forward. The lesson learned is that ‘the rising tide only lifts all boats temporarily.’

Have your differentiators become more important to your business? Are they still relevant? 

Our strong origination and due diligence capabilities have become even more relevant and continue to be so. 

What have you done to bolster their spirits? 

Continuous communication, empowering people to succeed and fostering team spirit. 

What are the prospects for wealth management in the future bearing in mind a new social and economic environment ahead? 

We see positive impact as a key trend and it is one of our investment lenses. We also see continuous innovation of the segment powered by technology.

See the article on page 19 of Acclaim Magazine.