Afore Citibanamex finally fills alternative-investment position

Afore Citibanamex has hired Juan Carlos Martin to lead its alternative investment team.

Industry experts expect this appointment, which was made effective on December 6, 2021, to revitalize the pension fund manager’s investments in alternative assets.

The Afore XXI Banorte veteran is also the head of Mexico at the Latin American chapter of CAIA. Afore XXI Banorte’s investments in alternatives place it in the top two spots in every Siefore, competing with PENSIONISSSTE, which recently launched a USD 400 million CerPI.

XXI Banorte still has mandates in place and has also started investing in international mutual funds.

Afore Citibanamex was pioneer in investing in mandates, although has now closed those vehicles, and at one point was the Afore with the largest investments in alternative assets, however, after a complete restructure of the investment team, which left the Afore without a head of alternative investments for almost a year, the firm took a wait-and-see approach to this asset class.

Before 2019, Afore Citibanamex had shown great interest in participating in alternative investments through CKDs, CerPIs and FIBRAs, however once the team’s rotation started, the pension manager stopped writing new tickets. This made its alternative investment participation go from about 8.5% of its AUM to about 7%, which is close to the average of all Afores.

Between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020, the CIO, CEO, equities director, fixed-income director, alternative director, and many other investment employees of the second largest Afore in AUM and third in largest number of affiliates, left its ranks. In May 2020, Tomas Acosta took over as CIO, following an interim stint by Luis de la Cerda, and Luis Kuri joined as CEO.

This rotation cost the firm a reduction from “Bronze” to “Neutral” in Morningstar’s Analyst Rating of the Siefores, released in Q42020. “Long praised for its stability relative to the rest of the industry, Afore Citibanamex’s recent wave of turnover in its leadership is thought-provoking,” then said Thomas Lancereau, CFA, North American director of manager research for Morningstar. The new Morningstar Analyst Rating of the Siefores are expected to come out in March 2022, and might also include language about the imminent sale of Afore Citibanamex now that Citi is to leave the consumer finance business in the country.