Interview with azVALOR: Former executives of Bestinver

azVALOR Asset Management was started in 2015 by former Bestinver Asset Management executives Alvaro Guzmán de Lázaro, Fernando Bernard and Beltran Parages, who left their former employer after the star fund manager, Garcia Parames left Bestinver, owned by Madrid-based Acciona SA, to pursue other ventures.

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Garcia Parames left Bestinver in September 2014 after becoming known as Spain’s best fund manager. Parames, achieved average annual returns of 17% over the previous two decades. Alvaro Guzmán de Lázaro joined him in early 2003, when Parames had under 250mn AUM. Together, they reached EUR 7bln in July 2007, both getting an AAA rating by Citiwire. Fernando Bernad joined in 2007, and the trio went on together until reaching north of EUR 10bln AUM in the fall of 2014.

Guzmán de Lázaro (CEO, CIO and Partner) , Bernard (Deputy CIO, Partner) and Parages (Investor Relations, Partner)  created azVALOR with the goal of replicating the strategy that helped Bestinver achieve such impressive returns over the years.

In an interview with Bloomberg at the end of last year, Fernando Bernard said “We will keep doing the only thing we know, and that is value investing…That is looking for companies that are undervalued, with competitive advantages and good management teams.” At the time of the interview, Alvaro Guzmán de Lázaro was under a non-compete agreement that ended in November. Here, Alvaro Guzmán de Lázaro and Fernando Bernad answer our questions about their firm, their outlook and their portfolios. 

azValor

This interview is part of ValueWalk’s Value Fund Interview Series. Throughout the series, we are publishing weekly interviews value-oriented hedge fund, and asset managers. All the past interviews in the series can be found here.

The interview reads best as one page. To view as one page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘view as one page’. 

Interview with azVALOR: Former executives of Bestinver

Value Walk: First off, could you tell our readers a bit about azVALOR?

azVALOR: Azvalor AM is an independent Spanish asset management boutique, founded by Alvaro Guzman de Lázaro, Fernando Bernad, and Beltrán Parages.

After working together at Bestinver AM, the renowned Spanish asset management boutique, for more than ten years, they left the firm in 2015 after Mr. Paramés departure in September 2014.

Azvalor started its activity in November 2015 when they launched two equity funds: Iberia Equity and International Equity, followed by the launch of a Luxembourg SICAV to cover their international activity.

Today the company manages €1.5 billion and has more than 3.500 investors, including some institutional mandates.

The analysis and portfolio management team is led by Alvaro Guzman and Fernando Bernad, who oversee a team of six analysts.

The Investment philosophy that generated above 17% annual returns during the last 20 years remains unchanged from their Bestinver times. The team dedicates all their time and effort searching for good companies, owners of high-quality businesses with sustainable competitive advantages and high return on capital employed, managed by capable and honourable managers whose intrinsic value is not reflected in the share price.

So far this year, the firm has achieved outstanding returns reaching double-digit positive returns on the International Equity strategy.

Together with the founders, there are 25 professionals (all based in Madrid except one employee who is in Shanghai) working at azValor Asset Management.

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