Martin Vogel (Waystone): Shaping the Future of Finance
Two years ago, DMS Group, MDO, and MontLake teamed up to create Waystone, a global institutional governance firm. An interview with Martin Vogel, Global Head of Strategy
How is Waystone evolving?
Our growth is driven by three factors: first, the fund business continues to grow rapidly in Luxembourg and Ireland; we also receive new delegations of in-house ManCos whilst at the same time, acquire third party ManCos. Finally, we have created a global governance firm with key footholds in the US, Europe, and Asia. Our brand is supported by four pillars: Governance solutions, European Fund Solutions, Waystone Compliance Solutions – providing compliance solutions at a corporate level and fund administration. . When I compare us to other companies with similar ambitions, I think that we have a rare ability to truly successfully integrate the companies that we choose to come together with. Each time, we facilitate an open dialog and look at the strengths of each entity before the integration of people, systems, and providers commences. A little bit more chit-chat over a beer could have made things easier during Covid, but we did well despite the challenging conditions. Waystone employs more than 500 people today, and we will pass the 1,000 person mark by year end 2022.
“Waystone act as a professional partner that covers all the requirements –building, supporting and protecting investment structures and strategies – helping our clients to achieve their goals”
Where is the market going?
The original reason behind Waystone was that ManCos and third-party ManCos needed to consolidate. This is still true today. The requirements from the EU and at national levels are so high that you need a large team of specialists in areas including risk, liquidity, SFDR, etc. You can no longer do this with 30 people. A company like ours provides the necessary scale and industry leading technology. Another key driver today is that larger clients want to deal with a single provider across all jurisdictions. Our global footprint is attracting a lot of them. They realize that with the current regulatory environment in Europe, a professional setup adds value to their end investors.
How do you see your industry in five or ten years?
In the old days, big asset managers were dealing with small service providers. Now, institutional firms like Waystone are on a level playing field with some of the worlds largest asset managers. Ten years ago, I predicted the concentration. It is here. We see large asset managers giving up their in-house ManCos. Companies like Blackrock will not outsource, but a considerable number of players no longer want the bother. Our main duty is to ensure that the whole ecosystem works well. With so many players in the market, you need proper checks and controls. When you look at recent scandals, they always come down to a lack of control or management that took inadequate decisions. Proper governance adds a lot of value to our industry. In the depositary business, I think that we will see fewer, bigger players. And while I believe that there will always be room for local specialists, we will witness the emergence of a limited number of global third-party ManCos and we are now one of the leaders in this space.