CdR Capital builds Anglo-Swiss investment boutique

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Ascertaining investment value in a world skewed by central bank intervention and punctuated by volatile government policy is at the heart of CdR Capital’s mission.

CdR Capital, which takes its name from Cours de Rive in Geneva, has grown quickly with offices in Geneva, London and Dubai, and with strategic joint-ventures in the pipeline that will see it operating in Latin America and the US imminently.

“We started first in Switzerland because many of our clients were used to dealing with us and booking their business there. Despite Geneva's recent troubles we believe that Finanzplatz Schweiz will bounce back.  Nevertheless, London is the principal market place for finance and funds in Europe, which is why we are also based here,” said Steve Smith, managing partner at CdR.

“Our current client base is fairly concentrated in the Middle East, but we are hoping to conclude a couple of significant joint ventures that will enable us to expand our reach in both wealth and fund management in the Americas,” added Omar Ayache, managing partner at CdR Geneva.

Co-founded by Smith and Ayache, CdR Capital started as a private investment office in 2012 as a hybrid of a traditional Swiss independent wealth manager and an Anglo Saxon investment boutique. Serving a stable core of large families and institutions, many of whom the founders have worked with for more than two decades, CdR Capital is building a boutique wealth and asset management business that today has close to $2 billion under management or advice.

CdR Capital initially teamed up with Tages LLC with whom they co-own and advise two niche hedge fund products in the acceleration and seeding, and frontier markets arenas. CdR Capital and their clients provided all of the founding Limited Partnership capital in the two funds, which have seen assets under management, grow to more than $400 million.

Ayache and Smith, both with derivative backgrounds, first worked together at O’Connor, while Salvatore Cordaro, chief investment officer of Tages, was part of the Smith's global alternatives team at Credit Suisse.

In terms of investment philosophy, CdR Capital takes a long-term thematic view of the world. “We probably spend more time than we should thinking about turning points and especially when an out-of-favour or poorly-understood asset class is set to outperform,” explained Smith.

“When we started the business at the end of 2012, we had identified a couple of themes, among them European real estate, Japanese equities and long/short hedge funds. We have been very happy about how those have played out,” said Ayache.

“Today, we like FinTech, seeding, real estate and frontier markets. We expect to see our Frontier Fund to start to attract more assets as Manuela Cedermas at Tages has done a fabulous job of preserving capital through the last 18 months. We're extremely optimistic about this space, longer term,” Ayache added.

“The geo-political situation is not as rosy as it could be, China is slowing, European growth seems endemically weak and the restructuring (and de-leveraging) of the financial services industry isn't even half done, but in all of this turmoil there is plenty to be done on the investment front” said Smith.

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Omar Ayache started his career in Financial Services in 1992 at SBC O’Connor (later UBS). Omar has extensive experience in derivatives, structured products, alternative assets and FX and equities. Omar has worked for SBC/UBS, Dune Partners and Goldman Sachs. Omar has a M.A. in Engineering from Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Steve Smith started his career in 1986 at Bankers Trust. Steve has extensive, global, management experience from both the investment banking and asset management industry. Steve has worked for Bankers Trust, SBC/UBS, Dune Partners, Albourne Partners, Credit Suisse and BlueCrest Capital Management. Steve has a B.A. in Law from Downing College Cambridge and is a qualified barrister.

Omar Ayache

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