UniCredit Looking to Conquer Hungarian Investors With Onemarkets Fund

Banking

Réka Vörös and Giacomo Volpi

The Budapest Business Journal talks with Giacomo Volpi, deputy CEO at UniCredit Bank Hungary, and Réka Vörös, head of the bank’s retail division, about the essential features of the bank’s cutting-edge onemarkets Fund investment portfolio, recently made available to clients in Hungary.

BBJ UniCredit has made its onemarkets Fund available to clients in Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary. How is the client feedback so far, especially in Hungary?

Giacomo Volpi: The idea behind the onemarkets Fund investment portfolio is simple: to provide our clients with a wide range of tailored investment solutions so they can always find the best possible product matching their investment needs and “appetite.” What makes our solution unique on the market is that we developed it (and continue to do so) by combining our deep knowledge of our clients with the knowhow of the best asset managers in the world, among others, Amundi, Allianz Global Investors, BlackRock, Fidelity, J.P. Morgan, Pictet, and Pimco.

Réka Vörös: The portfolio was introduced in Hungary last November, following a successful year-long distribution period in Germany and Austria. At our launch event, representatives of strategic partners and our in-house experts presented the benefits, specialties, and short- and long-term plans of the new portfolio to our colleagues who will market the products. Since then, the demand for onemarkets Fund products has been strong; what’s more, it has been higher than expected. We started with products denominated in EUR at the end of November 2023, followed by two HUF funds in January this year. All in all, we can see already that the onemarkets Fund is a success story for us.

BBJ: Talking about those two Hungarian forint funds, what motivated you to launch the Hungarian-focused products?

RV: The motivation behind adding the two further Hungarian-focused funds was to make our investment offer more varied, flexible, and attractive to Hungarian clients. The Hungarian investment fund market is dominated by short bond and bond funds as a rational solution for conservative customers. As the salaries and wealth of our clients are in HUF, most of our clients’ savings are also denominated in the local currency. So, we decided to offer our customers an even more comprehensive range of investment opportunities. By introducing these HUF bond funds, clients can invest in Hungarian local bonds, where interest rates are higher than in the eurozone.

BBJ: You have a large variety of options ranging from conservative bond funds to more dynamic alternatives, such as a fund that focuses on investments in emerging markets. Which do you think will be especially popular in Hungary this year?

RV: As we see it, this year will be very similar to 2023, when bond investments dominated among our customers. We expect some differences, though, and that is in the duration factor: bond funds with a higher duration can offer a higher potential yield, as interest rates are expected to decrease during the year. We believe these funds will have a higher ratio in the investment “pie chart;” we’ll see the exact data at the end of the year, of course.

BBJ: How does UniCredit ensure the sustainability and ethical considerations of investments made through the onemarkets Fund portfolio?

GV: Sustainability and overall ESG are the core parts of our UniCredit Unlocked strategy, which was introduced at the group level at the end of 2022. I can safely say that no company today can have business success without taking ESG into consideration, regardless of market. At UniCredit, we keep sustainability in focus when creating our products: we offer ESG-focused funds to our customers, managed by one of the most experienced asset managers, Amundi.

BBJ There are different investing styles; how do you help your customers find the best solutions for themselves? 

GV: Every client has different needs, and that’s why our relationship managers take the time to discuss the best personalized solution with each one of our clients. In general, there are three critical insights in investing that we want all investors to know: stay invested for the long run; choose your investment asset class based on your time horizon and your risk tolerance; and invest regularly, every month. We are happy to discuss how these insights fit with the goals of each customer.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of March 22, 2024.

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