Natixis' H2O says redemptions have 'markedly' subsided

LONDON (Reuters) - H2O, one of French bank Natixis’ asset management businesses, said on Wednesday that withdrawals from its funds have “markedly” come down compared to last week when Morningstar flagged concerns over liquidity and governance.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French bank Natixis is seen outside one of their offices in Paris February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

H2O said investors redeemed 450 million euros on Wednesday versus 1.4 billion euros (1.25 billion pounds) pulled last week, when Morningstar put one of its funds under review.

Natixis shares fell 14% to near 3-year lows last week but were steady this week.

In an attempt to attract investors, H2O reiterated that it would not charge entry fees to its funds “until further notice”. Earlier this week, H2O sold off some illiquid assets.

In an emailed statement, H2O said its assets under management stood at 27 billion euros ($30.7 billion) on Wednesday after “substantial” inflows since Monday. H2O’s assets under management were 31.3 billion euros as of March 31.

In a further measure to win trust back, Natixis held briefings with equity analysts. Credit Suisse and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) wrote on Wednesday that they had attended presentations held by Natixis’ top management.

“Natixis this morning held a sell side analyst meeting with Francois Riahi, its CEO, and Jean Raby, CEO of Natixis Investment Managers. We see this meeting as a first, positive step towards a discussion/dialogue on the lessons to be learned,” wrote KBW.

Related Coverage

“In our view though, the issues raised cannot be circumscribed to H2O or a few H2O retail funds, but there are wider structural issues associated with the affiliate model to be reviewed and discussed, an opportunity which should not be missed,” it added, keeping an “underperform” rating on Natixis.

Credit Suisse also said it had attended the presentation, although it had a more upbeat assessment than KBW, despite not expecting H20 to start winning back money yet.

“However, we think the good performance of H2O in 2019 should limit any downgrades, and crystallisation of performance fees from exits in 2Q19 should support the current quarter. We continue to see the underperformance of Natixis in the last 5 trading days as overdone,” wrote Credit Suisse.

Natixis shares were flat by 1310 GMT, with the stock down by nearly 10% so far in 2019.

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan in London and Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle