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Edited Transcript of GAM.S earnings conference call or presentation 30-Jul-19 6:30am GMT

Half Year 2019 GAM Holding AG Earnings Call

Zurich Aug 2, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of GAM Holding AG earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 6:30:00am GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* David Joseph Jacob

GAM Holding AG - Group CEO, Member of Management Board & Director

* Richard Patrick McNamara

GAM Holding AG - Group CFO & Member of Group Management Board

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Conference Call Participants

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* Andreas Venditti

Bank Vontobel AG, Research Division - Head of Banks & Senior Analyst

* Daniel Regli

Octavian AG - Senior Research Analyst - Financials

* Young-Sim Song;AWP Finanznachrichten AG;Reporter;Editor

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to today's GAM Holding AG 2019 Half Year Results Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) I would like to inform you that your conference is being recorded today on Tuesday, the 30th of July 2019. I would now like to hand the conference over to your host today, David Jacob, CEO. Please go ahead, sir.

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David Joseph Jacob, GAM Holding AG - Group CEO, Member of Management Board & Director [2]

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Thank you. Good morning, and welcome, everyone, to our half year 2019 results call. I'm David Jacob, CEO of GAM, and I'm joined today by Richard McNamara, our CFO.

Looking at the agenda on Slide 2. In the first section of the presentation, I will run you through the key points for the first half of 2019. I'll give an update on the finalization of the ARBF liquidation, followed by an overview of how we continue to invest in our control framework, and then I'll focus on net flows and investment performance. Richard will lead you through the financials and capital management. In the last part of the presentation, I will touch upon GAM's unique position in the asset management industry, the set of distinct products that help our clients to achieve their investment goals as well as the strength of our client relationships globally. I will also summarize how we have delivered on our near-term priorities and how we remain focused on delivering on all our promises while at the same time, ensuring stability and continuity.

Helped, by the way, we are managing the leadership transition at the helm of GAM, which we have announced this morning. I will close the presentation with our outlook for the remainder of the year, and we'll take questions at the end of the call.

The finalization of the ARBF liquidation with the last payments being made to clients today allows us to close the most difficult chapter in our history. When we reflect back on how GAM handled this situation, we are confident that we took the right steps and acted in the best interest of our clients. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients again for their patience during the last 12 months.

The leadership changes announced today with Peter Sanderson joining us as CEO in September of this year are a signpost that we're now turning our attention to the future of the company. I know that we will emerge stronger from the recent past. By focusing on our areas of expertise, we will be able to get the business back on a growth path, benefiting all our stakeholders in the long-term.

On Slide 4, we turn to a summary of what we've done in the first half year. I'm glad to say that over the last months, we've made good progress in many ways. First, we were able to pay back an average of over 100% of the assets invested in ARBF strategies to our clients. Secondly, our investment capabilities continue to perform for our clients with around 75% of assets in investment management outperforming their respective benchmarks over a 3- and 5-year period. And lastly, we continue to enhance our control framework to ensure that clients can invest with us with confidence. I'm also very pleased to report that we've seen an improvement in flows in June and in July, registering positive net flows in both those months.

The implementation of the restructuring program is progressing well and Richard will provide you with more details on this later on. The key goal has been to simplify the business and focus on areas where we have competitive edge. In this context, we've also decided to sell our precious metals and money market funds to the Zurich Cantonalbank as announced today. They are better positioned to grow this business going forward while at the same time, being able to continue delivering high-quality services to the clients. Not least because GAM will continue to be responsible for delivering the Man Co services through our own private labeling business. This is another example of an action which allows us to enhance our capital buffers while increasing the focus and simplicity of the business as a whole.

I'm very pleased that Peter Sanderson will join us as CEO of GAM on 1st September. He brings with him a wealth of leadership experience and a strong skill set that GAM needs to prosper in the future. I look forward to continuing to serve GAM and work together with Pete in my future role as Chairman. With September being devoted to transition between Pete and me and Hugh Scott-Barrett remaining on the Board until our AGM, we ensure a smooth transition, which will provide stability for the business. The focus on stability is also reflected in the compensation expenses recognized for first half of 2019, which Richard will speak to later.

Turning to Slide 5. While we make the final payments to our ARBF clients today, it's important to emphasize that all the decisions relating to the suspension and liquidation of the ARBF strategy were made with the goal of maximizing the value and liquidity for our clients and treating all of them fairly at all times.

First, we announced the need to liquidate ARBF funds as soon as it became apparent that to handle the situation in any other way would have hampered our ability to treat clients fairly. Then we immediately stopped charging management fees on the impacted funds. Third, we were transparent in our projections of payback intervals and achieved almost all of those milestones in a timely fashion. The result was the desired preservation of value for our clients. We believe that taking such decisive action was the right and the only thing to do. It is important for us, entrusted as we are with our clients' money, to always uphold the highest standards of care.

Let me talk a little bit about some of the investments we've made in that regard. A strong governance and controlled environment is at the heart of any good asset manager, and it is gaining more and more visibility, given the increased levels of regulation. Over the course of the past years, we have continuously enhanced our risk and control functions, and we will continue to invest in these areas in the future.

Looking at our 3 levels of defense, we have made numerous improvements. Let me give you a couple of examples. In our first line of defense, we have created new roles to strengthen control capabilities in the front office. We've appointed a group head of investments, hired a new group head of front office controls, a new global head of trading, implemented a centralized dealing function and enhanced procedures across the investment teams.

In our second line of defense, we separated legal and compliance, strengthened the compliance function and reorganized our legal teams. Lastly, a new head of internal audit and the recruitment of audit managers with additional specialist asset management expertise have strengthened our third line of defense.

Furthermore, at board level, we have improved our governance and oversight with the creation of a separate risk committee, previously part of our Audit Committee, in order to better reflect the needs and challenges in each area. We have also promoted a strong internal culture of openness and transparency where people feel personally accountable for doing the right thing. And whistleblowers can come forward knowing they will be listened to, respected and protected. We continue to invest in our control framework, which is essential for a strong, successful and compliant business.

Turning to flows. We've talked about the flow drivers in the last 3 quarters where ARBF and the contagion effects of it, challenging markets for the asset management industry and the much reduced gross inflows we experienced, were key drivers resulting in net outflows. The situation has changed in the second quarter of this year, and we have seen an improving net flow trend in some of our core strategies. Most pleasingly, looking at the monthly trend, June saw slightly positive net inflows with the trend strengthening further into July.

Then on Slide 8, we talk about investment performance. Our investment performance remains strong. 77% of our AUM are beating respective benchmarks over 3 years and 75% over 5 years. Over the same periods, Morningstar peer ranking showed that 84% and 87% of AUM in funds are ranked first or second quartile. The story is even more compiling on a number of our growth strategies that have attracted strong positive net flows over the past 3 years, and I'll come back to those later on.

Let me just highlight a couple of points. In fixed income, we saw good relative performance from our local emerging bond, GAM Star Credit Opportunities and GAM Total Return Bond Funds. On the equity side, the performance improved compared to year-end 2018 with GAM Star Continental Europe, the GAM Star Japan Leaders and the GAM Swiss Sustainable Funds being the largest drivers. Systematic saw a strong recovery in the first half of 2019 with CCP Core Macro and Quantitative funds outperforming their benchmarks. Besides an attractive product portfolio, addressing client needs, strong performance represents the basis for success in our business, and we believe this is another element that will pave the way for future growth.

With this, I'll now pass to Richard for the financial summary.

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Richard Patrick McNamara, GAM Holding AG - Group CFO & Member of Group Management Board [3]

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Thank you, David, and good morning to you all. The events of the past year have had a significant impact on the group's AUM with investment management AUM being some CHF 28.3 billion lower compared to June last year. Around CHF 11 billion of that decline is related to the liquidated ARBF assets, but also the contagion effects have been evident, especially in the third quarter of 2018. However, as David mentioned, it is pleasing to see a positive trend with net inflows in the last 2 months.

Excluding the ARBF assets, which all will have been returned to clients today, investment management AUM stood at CHF 52.1 billion at the end of the half year. Net outflows in the first half amounted to CHF 7.6 billion, which was partly offset by a positive impact from strong investment performance and foreign exchange movements.

Our PLF business has been unaffected by the ARBF matters with AUM growing by over 10% with CHF 2.4 billion of net inflows to a record high of CHF 84 billion. The impact of lower investment management AUM meant net management fees declined by 42% versus the first half last year. Encouragingly, net performance fees of CHF 5.4 million were generated, beating the same period of last year. Overall and including net other income expense of CHF 3.8 million, total income was CHF 167.3 million.

Expenses came down by 16% to CHF 165.2 million. This is primarily the result of implementing restructuring measures and the reduction in bonus expenses given the decrease in revenues. This all translated into a disappointing underlying net profit before taxes of CHF 2.1 million and an operating margin of 3.4%. Including acquisition-related and nonrecurring items, the IFRS net loss was CHF 13.6 million. All these figures are in line with what we announced earlier this month.

Now looking at our management fee margins. Our first half 2019 management fee margin stood at 53.9 basis points, in line with the December exit margin of 54 basis points. The June 2019 exit margin is slightly above 54 basis points. I've often been asked whether GAM has had to reduce pricing given the ARBF matters. The answer is no. We remain disciplined on pricing and with our distinct and highly active investment strategies, we see them as appropriately priced.

Additionally, we continue to see growth mainly in strategies priced between 50 and 100 basis points. With the exception of absolute return, the average margins within the capabilities have remained stable or have seen a slight decline. As I've said before, the main driver to our average investment management margin continues to be product mix. As regards to future pricing, we have not seen material changes in fee pressure over the past 6 months. However, in line with the industry, we continue to see frictional pricing pressure. For us, estimated to be up to 1 basis points per annum, as previously guided.

Now turning to performance fees. Our performance fee eligible assets declined from CHF 6.7 billion as at the end of last year to CHF 6 billion. You may recall that as at December 2018, the vast majority of strategies were behind the high watermarks and in some cases, quite some way off.

As you can see on the right, all of our strategies have improved versus high watermarks, reflecting the strong investment performance delivered to clients over the past 6 months. The most notable are the systematic strategies, which generated the majority of the performance fees in the first half, along with the mortgage-backed securities strategy.

Overall, as at 30th of June, 57% of performance fee eligible assets were at or above their high watermarks with 24% within 5% of their high watermarks. As highlighted at our 2018 full year results presentation, our performance fee potential is significantly lower compared to previous years due to lower performance fee eligible assets. If all eligible assets started the year at their high watermark and delivered their internal target returns, the potential for annual performance fees would be approximately CHF 25 million.

Now looking at expenses in more detail. Our restructuring program is well on track with approximately half of the actions completed and approximately CHF 9 million of the CHF 40 million savings realized in the first half. I will touch on this more on the next slide. Fixed personnel expenses were down 5% reflecting the decrease in head count. Variable personnel expenses saw the largest decline, down over 40%. This reflects that the majority of bonuses are linked to our revenues, which saw a material decline.

As David mentioned earlier, the compensation expenses for the first half 2019 are reflective of the need to ensure stability in the business. Our compensation ratio target of 45% to 50% has not been achieved. Given our current situation, we will continue to consider and engage with shareholders on the indications this may have on our compensation framework for 2019.

General expenses decreased by 18%. But when I strip out the impact of the new IFRS lease standard, the reduction was approximately 10%. The IFRS lease standard, effective 1st of January 2019, causes our premises leases to be capitalized with a lease payment obligation liability also being recognized. The lease assets are then depreciated, hence our premises costs are no longer reflected in general expenses but in depreciation and amortization.

Now more on our restructuring program. Our restructuring program is ensuring that our business is structured to focus on areas where we have recognized expertise and see the potential for scalable growth. This will allow us to further reduce complexity and costs. The program is on track to deliver CHF 40 million plus of cost savings in fixed personnel expenses and general expenses compared to 2018 by the end of 2019 with the full benefit in 2020. I continue to expect at least 1/3 of the savings will be reflected in our full year 2019 results.

As mentioned earlier, over half of the actions have been completed and around CHF 9 million of savings were delivered in the first half. This number is adjusted for the impact of the new IFRS lease standard. As our multiyear change program progresses, albeit at a slower pace given our financial constraints, further savings will be realized in 2020 and 2021. We will provide further guidance on this once we have delivered on the CHF 40 million.

So now looking at the IFRS numbers. After deducting acquisition-related items of CHF 6.3 million, nonrecurring items of CHF 7.5 million and the tax effects thereon, we report an IFRS net loss of CHF 13.6 million. Nonrecurring items relate mainly to restructuring program and ARBF matters, whereas acquisition-related items mainly reflect adjustments to and finance charges on the deferred consideration liabilities as well as the usual amortization of investment management client contracts.

Before I finish on capital management, a few words on our underlying effective tax rate. Due to the low level of profitability, nontax deductible expenses have a disproportionate impact on our [ETR]. Until profits normalize, these types of expenses will continue to have a disproportionate impact and make our reported ETR less meaningful.

Finally, as you can see here, net cash is below the level seen at the end of 2018 due to the normal seasonality of compensation payments and some acquisition deferred consideration payments. Tangible equity has slightly reduced since year-end to CHF 174 million, mainly reflecting the IFRS net loss in the first half.

Crucially, the business has no debt but has appropriate flexibility through the undrawn revolving credit facility. GAM has been through a severe event that has seen profitability significantly impacted and cash resources utilized. Our focus is on change to ensure a stable business with appropriate capital and cash buffers. Therefore, we continue to focus on the effective use of capital and look to enhance our capital buffers.

The simplification and restructuring of the business, including some small business divestitures, such as the ones announced today as well as our dividend policy, provide us with the ability to enhance our capital buffers and financial strength. Our approach to capital is unchanged. We focus on delivering shareholder returns through investment in organic growth and the dividend.

With that, let me hand you back to David.

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David Joseph Jacob, GAM Holding AG - Group CEO, Member of Management Board & Director [4]

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Thanks, Richard. Let me now turn to our priorities and strategies. Our strategy remains unchanged. We strive to offer our clients nontraditional sources of return and genuinely differentiated active investment solutions focused on 4 areas: specialist fixed income, systematic strategies, equities and multiasset solutions. Despite the ARBF matter and the broader market backdrop, which has affected the wider asset management industry, we have continued to deliver the returns clients expect from us.

We continue to align our investment capabilities to focus more on areas of strengths. This is how we are reducing business complexity and enhancing our ability to capture future growth opportunities in areas where we have proven expertise. Not having a house view and fostering in an environment in which our seasoned investment managers invest client money according to their own convictions has helped us to retain key talent through the challenges that we faced in the last year. This allows us to deliver what clients demand from us, innovative products, excellent investment performance and superior service.

Our specialist fixed income platform offers alternative sources of yield, which are highly demanded by clients given the global low-yield environment. Our Local Emerging Bond Fund is already an industry leader, and we have launched a strategic bond platform with the aim of bringing to life the best of GAM's fixed income capability.

Our systematic platform is built to address the growing demand for quantitative investments. We're convinced that the combination of discretionary and systematic asset management is a benefit for our clients. We'll continue to leverage this platform as evidenced by our recent launch of our dynamic credit strategy.

In equities, we believe that unique and highly active management strategies will continue to offer growth opportunities in the future, and we see solutions in general as an attractive area of developing demand. Here we continue to reposition our product offering going forward.

Turning to distribution. The themes of investment strength and strong long-term client relationships with global reach go hand-in-hand as key elements of success for an independent asset manager. I have already shown the 7 strong leading growth strategies in our full year update, but I think it's worthwhile sharing it with you again and highlighting the fact that across these diverse sets of strategies, we were able to gain market share and more importantly, deliver strong performance for clients.

As you can see at the bottom-left side, we also have the next-generation strategies lined up across capabilities, which have significant potential over the coming years. It is in challenging times more than ever that you must remain focused on delivering for clients. Despite the distractions of ARBF, our relationship managers ensured that service standards stayed high and transparent communication with our clients has helped to maintain trust.

The strong client relationships spanning the globe, in some cases, going back decades, are a heritage that we can build upon. We have a network of over 2,000 distribution agreements with major distribution platforms and wholesale intermediaries as well as over 75 consultant relationships worldwide, including major global and regional players.

In the core European markets, we are well established. We're in the process of opening up an office in Copenhagen. In the APAC region, we opened an office in Australia, which is already showing results for us and will allow us to continue to attract more business from that region.

In terms of channels, we are a balanced business, addressing the needs of intermediary and institutional clients through dedicated sales teams understanding their specific needs.

Our near-term priorities remain clear. The key priority as ever is delivering attractive investment returns and excellent service to our clients. As I said before, our investment capabilities remain strong and combined with global sales reach, we are strategically well positioned to capture growth opportunities going forward. This is further supported by the GAM brand that according to both market and client feedback remains healthy. In addition, we will continue to further reduce business complexity and enhance efficiency, delivering at least CHF 40 million of cost savings and pursuing further savings in later years.

Let me now turn to leadership. With the completion of the ARBF liquidation, the time is right to address the future leadership of the company. I'm glad to announce that Peter Sanderson will take over as CEO effective 1st September, 2019. Most recently, he worked for BlackRock where, over more than a decade, he served as co-head of multiasset investment solutions, a business of around CHF 300 billion of assets under management, head of financial service consulting with clients across the spectrum, including G8 governments and central banks. And COO in EMEA for BlackRock Solutions.

In these various roles, he has built a successful track record in setting strategy, driving revenue growth and executing significant technological and operational transformations. Pete is not only a proven expert in asset management with excellent business and market knowledge but also a strong leader with exactly the right skills and attitude to guide GAM into a successful future.

Hugh Scott-Barrett will step down from his current role as Chairman of the Board of Directors effective 1st October. To ensure a smooth transition, he is committed to remain a member of the Board until the next AGM in 2020, at which he intends not to stand for reelection.

I would like to thank Hugh very much on behalf of all of GAM for his great work and fantastic support, which was crucial, especially over the last year. I will step down as CEO of GAM and serve in a transition role for 1 month before taking on the role of Chairman for the remainder term of office, starting on the 1st of October. And I very much look forward to continuing to serve GAM in my new role together with my colleagues on the Board of Directors.

I'd like now to conclude with our outlook. We will continue to reduce complexity to deliver further efficiency gains and focus on our strengths to rebuild revenue, both investment performance and the flow trajectory are promising. And while we expect the market environment to remain volatile, we are well positioned to capture client demand through our distinct products and global distribution capabilities. After a difficult year, our brand at GAM has remained stable and the successful return of value to our clients combined with our attractive product offering provides an excellent foundation to return our business to strength.

Before I end, I'd like to share some comments with you that we have received just recently. They are very reassuring and encourage us to continue giving everything for our clients. I leave that on the screen for you to read while I hand back to the moderator for the Q&A. Thank you very much.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) And your first question comes from Young-Sim Song from AWP.

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Young-Sim Song;AWP Finanznachrichten AG;Reporter;Editor, [2]

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I would like to know, maybe, could you comment a little bit on the final process of the new CEO. I would like to know if you look specifically for someone from outside the company or have there also been candidates within the company? And have there also been other external candidates?

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David Joseph Jacob, GAM Holding AG - Group CEO, Member of Management Board & Director [3]

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Sure. I'd be happy to talk about that. We have had a search process ongoing. We had numerous candidates. We had internal candidates as well as external candidates. And we met over the course of the last, I think, 7 months with a number of people. We had a, I would say, very strong shortlist as well as an attractive long list. And the decision around Pete was really reflective of the skills he brings and how he would complement the current management team as well. So very comfortable with the choice. We had quite a wide variety of individuals to choose from and very happy with the outcome.

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Young-Sim Song;AWP Finanznachrichten AG;Reporter;Editor, [4]

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And did you -- was it the preferred option to have someone from [outside] the company that you did not choose? Or was it [certainly] open.

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David Joseph Jacob, GAM Holding AG - Group CEO, Member of Management Board & Director [5]

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It was -- we were open-minded about it. I think the right result in the end was to have someone external, someone who could add additional capabilities to the management team and complement what was there rather than, at a time of rebuild for the business, weakening the management team by [having] to backfill for one of them.

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Operator [6]

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Your next question comes from Andreas Venditti from Vontobel.

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Andreas Venditti, Bank Vontobel AG, Research Division - Head of Banks & Senior Analyst [7]

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A few questions on the cost side. Maybe on the FTEs, the [CHF 863 million] number, does that still include certain people on notice or on consultation in the U.K.? Or is this now like the run rate going forward? Also regarding the cost target, maybe you could explain why the target did not change despite the change of the IFRS lease, the CHF 6 million?

And finally, you closed another 8 funds, if I read correctly. Is that now completed? And will you already see the impact in the first half or would you expect any impact from these closures into the second one?

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Richard Patrick McNamara, GAM Holding AG - Group CFO & Member of Group Management Board [8]

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Okay. I'll -- I think, I'll take all of those, Andreas. The FTE is the employees who are as at 30th of June, employed and working at GAM. So we are partway through the restructuring so you would expect that FTE number to come down during the course of the second half. It doesn't include head count, which is -- sorry, it would include head count, which would be still part of that restructuring.

Regarding the CHF 40 million, the CHF 40 million excludes the impact of the lease standard. So when we talk about the CHF 40 million reduction general expenses, it is a CHF 40 million reduction, excluding the benefits in general expenses because of the lease standard. So we've kept it like-for-like, and we can clearly provide you a clear reconciliation of that once we are finished on this call.

Regarding the closure of funds, yes, 8 funds were closed. We are continuing to look at our fund lineup. It's not a static and you never stop looking at your funds, so of course, we will continue to expect to see some funds merged or closed going into the future like any other asset manager. In respect of those funds, which have either merged or closed, most of those were as a result of the investment management changes, which we announced last year. So I would expect most of the impact in terms of any outflows because of those changes to have come through in the first half this year.

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Operator [9]

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Your next question comes from Daniel Regli from Octavian.

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Daniel Regli, Octavian AG - Senior Research Analyst - Financials [10]

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My first question is regarding the margin and your margin guidance of -- fractional margin pressure of 0.5 to 1 basis points per annum. Just to make it clear, I assume that I cannot -- just this model now 0.5 to 1 basis point. More -- or lower margins each year, right? But can you maybe just give me some kind of color how you exactly expect this 0.5 to 1 basis points to come through. Then the second question is regarding cost restructuring, cost development. You basically say that you will be looking for further cost savings in 2020, '21. Can you maybe give us kind of an idea where you expect to find some further cost inefficiencies, you can save more costs?

And the last question is maybe -- I know it's a little bit the elephant in the room. But earlier, you were talking about evaluating various strategic options to enhance shareholder value. Can you maybe give us an update on where you stand there and whether with the appointment of a new CEO, some options are now off the table?

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Richard Patrick McNamara, GAM Holding AG - Group CFO & Member of Group Management Board [11]

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Okay. I think I'll take the first 2 and hand the last one back to David. So first of all, on the margin point, the frictional pricing pressure, which we see and based upon our analysis going back into prior periods, it does fluctuate between 0.5 basis point to 1 basis point per annum. We don't see that changing. But the biggest impact on our margin is always the product mix, so depending on which strategies are seeing net inflows, which strategies are perhaps seeing net outflows and the combination of that and what their margin is for that particular product really is what drives the movement in our overall average management fee margin for investment management. But as I said, we would see -- we see growth, future growth potential in strategies, which are mostly priced between 50 and 100 basis points.

But clearly over the last 12 months, we've been through a period where there's been outflow across because of the contagion effect. But going forward, we'd expect to see most flows coming through our strategies, which are priced as I say, between 50 and 100 basis points. So hopefully that gives you some color there. Regarding the cost development. So what I mentioned at the end of talking about the restructuring program is our multiyear change program. Our multiyear change program is in effect putting the whole business, which was effectively a collection of businesses putting them onto 1 single platform.

Given the events of last summer and, therefore, the inherent financial constraints, which that put on the business, that change program is going at a slower pace as we balance out the investment in the business and the ability to drive those efficiencies through. So the future efficiencies in 2020, 2021 will be driven by us continuing to increment on that change program and get efficiencies -- the efficiency benefits of operating the businesses on 1 platform. I will hand you back to David for the last point.

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David Joseph Jacob, GAM Holding AG - Group CEO, Member of Management Board & Director [12]

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Thanks. So on the strategic question that you asked, just to repeat it for everyone, you mentioned that the Board in the past has said it would look at strategic -- all strategic options to maximize shareholder value. That, of course, continues to be the case. The Board will always be alert to what opportunities exist to maximize value for shareholders. But as we've also said at the same time, management is very much focused on the business and getting the business back to strength and improve profitability. I think the actions that we've taken today, including the hiring of a new CEO, all point to that. They all say that the focus is very much on turning this business around in its current form. But the Board, of course, needs to remain alert if opportunities arise that will be better for all stakeholders concerned, not just shareholders.

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Operator [13]

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Thank you. There are no further questions at this time. (Operator Instructions) And we seem to have no further questions at this time. I will now hand you over to your host for closing remarks.

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David Joseph Jacob, GAM Holding AG - Group CEO, Member of Management Board & Director [14]

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Thank you all. We appreciate the time you've taken to listen in this morning for our first half 2019 briefing, and look forward to speaking again soon. Thank you.

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Operator [15]

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Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for participating. You may all disconnect.