SAO PAULO, Brazil & RIO DE JANEIRO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings has affirmed the International Scale Asset Manager Rating at 'Highest Standards' for Viter - Vice-Presidencia de Gestao de Ativos de Terceiros da Caixa Economica Federal (Viter). The Rating Outlook remains Stable.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
Viter's 'Highest Standards' rating reflects Fitch's opinion that the investment platform and operational structure of the manager are superior relative to the standards applied by institutional investors in international markets.
Viter's rating factors in that the manager is part of a solid financial conglomerate, Caixa Economica Federal (Caixa, Fitch IDR 'BBB'/Outlook Stable). The rating also reflects the firm's quite conservative approach and broad client base and distribution channels, in addition to a well-disciplined investment process, concentrated on traditional fixed-income funds. The rating further considers its strong revenue generation, good technological structure and internal controls, besides the ample market risk and liquidity controls.
The rating of the manager only considers its activities in the local market, including the portfolio under management of free funds from the Unemployment Guarantee Fund (Fundo de Garantia por Tempo de Servico) (FGTS; BRL 124 billion) and excluding the management of structured funds (BRL 62 billion), such as credit rights investment funds (FIDCs) and private equity investment funds (FIPs). All these activities have their own processes and policies and are segregated from the management of traditional funds.
Viter's main challenges are the diversification into more sophisticated and higher value-added funds, such as those of credit and equities strategies, ongoing investments in tools and controls to sustain the growth of assets under management, and better performance of equities and multimarket funds.
The 'Highest Standards' rating is based on the following assessments:
Viter is part of a solid financial conglomerate, well-diversified and profitable. It is the fourth largest asset manager in Brazil, with significant experience in the fixed-income fund management segment, and contributes strong revenue generation for the group. It is part of a widely diversified state owned retail bank structure within Brazil, a key governmental instrument for social security, infrastructure, economic and habitation projects, with a large distribution network and client base.
The assets under management (AUM) grew in line with that of the local industry, at an almost 16% compound annual growth rate between 2008 and 2014. This increase happened with a diversified composition of funding from different types of investors. In 2014, the investor profile of total AUM was comprised by: FGTS (social security fund, 41%), governmental funds (20%), retail (15%), pension funds (12%), corporate (8%) and others (4%). Viter largely benefited from the strong relationship between the manager and institutional clients related to the government and from the implementation of an area specialized to attend the demands of this segment.
The manager relies on a well-established corporate governance structure, segregated from the other activities of the group, which involves formal and disciplined committees. The processes are well-established, with qualified and experienced professionals.
The manager's risk culture is rather conservative, with several well-established market and liquidity risk limits and close supervision from its main executives. Funds' liquidity has been ample, benefiting from the high volume of federal securities. Breaches of limits have been low and promptly resolved.
Viter's investment process is well-established, based on committees with a top-down and sectorial approach, with a long-term view supported by risk area analyses. The manager's team is adequate and experienced, benefiting from the stability of its professionals, most of which have over 15 years in the market and with the group. Fixed-income fund performance has been good, having reached, in general, return targets in the last couple of years, whereas the equities and multimarket funds have not reached their objectives.
Fiduciary and custody administration activities are mainly developed by the group, such as in other large asset managers linked to banks in Brazil. The funds' administration and custody activities rely on a good capacity and degree of automation, although there is space for improvements in process integration. Such processes observe regulations; conciliation and validation of funds' quotas are also carried out by the back office on a daily basis.
The manager relies on a solid technological platform, despite being in the process of implementing a new asset control system, which should improve the degree of automation and process velocity. The implementation of this system, however, is taking longer than initially expected due to changes on the scope and functionalities. In addition, Viter is considering hiring a front office system which will include pre-trading verification, with blockings and alerts and capabilities in obtaining managerial reports. Contingency plans are well-elaborated, with redundancy in all critical systems.
Created in 1998, Viter is responsible for Caixa's third-party asset management. It ranks as the fourth-largest manager in Brazil, with 7.2% market participation in the local market and AUM of BRL 186 billion, not taking into account the structured funds, according to the Brazilian Association of Financial and Capital Markets (Anbima), as of December 2014. Established in 1861, Caixa ranked as the third-largest bank in Brazil by assets as well as the second by deposits, as of September 2014, with BRL1.06 trillion in assets and BRL 7.09 billion in income (BRL 3.6 billion in 2013). It is fully controlled by the federal government and its ratings reflect the high probability of support from the federal government, if necessary.
The rating of Vice-Presidencia de Gestao de Ativos de Terceiros da Caixa Economica Federal may be sensitive to significant adverse changes to any of the aforementioned rating drivers, mainly in case of a weakening of its financial profile, high professional turnover, or deterioration in its processes and policies. A material deviation from Fitch guidelines for any rating driver could lead to the rating being downgraded by Fitch.
For additional information on Fitch asset manager guidelines, please refer to the criteria referenced below, which can be found on Fitch's websites, at 'www.fitchratings.com' or 'www.fitchratings.com.br'.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
--'Asset Manager Rating Criteria' (May 6, 2014).
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Asset Manager Rating Criteria