First patent filed on the Anti-Benchmark® strategy and Maximum Diversification® approach.
TOBAM receives the approval from the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers)
TOBAM becomes independent
US and Australian Patents granted
TOBAM moves to new premises on 49-53, avenue des Champs Elysées 75008 Paris.
First Mandate with an Asian sovereign wealth fund.
After Amnesty International 4 years ago, TOBAM onboards a new partner: Human Rights Watch in its effort to support Human Rights in the world.
TOBAM partners with Canadian Mackenzie Investment Partners to launch ETF’s based on the Maximum Diversification Index Series.
TOBAM widened its global footprint and opens three new offices. The new operations in Zürich, Toronto and Dublin bring the firm’s total offices to seven, complementing its existing Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Cape Town offices.
TOBAM and Amundi strengthen their strategic partnership and announce the increase of Amundi’s stake in TOBAM to 20%.
TOBAM bolsters its Anti-Benchmark Fixed Income offering with a High Yield Strategy: Anti-Benchmark Global High Yield.
TOBAM launches the TOBAM Bitcoin Fund, an unregulated Alternative Investment Fund, set up in France. The fund, the first of its kind in Europe, allows qualified and institutional investors wanting to gain an exposure to the cryptocurrency to benefit from TOBAM’s top-of-the league research and IT systems.
I am a mathematician who spent all his career in the asset management industry. Before creating TOBAM, I was the CEO of Credit Lyonnais Asset Management, where I had been working for the previous 12 years. I started there as a structured product and financial engineer and ended up CEO. As I have a mathematical background, after I left CLAM, I went back to research with the aim of confirming a mathematical observation which I have always been intuitively convinced of: that market cap-weighted benchmarks are highly inefficient and a research-based solution was lacking for investors looking to more efficiently capture the risk premium, the beta of an asset class.
After conducting extensive research, I had an idea that was robust enough to be the basis upon which to construct a business. TOBAM was created in 2005, and the Maximum Diversification® approach first patent filled in 2006.
I launched TOBAM in 2005 as an independent venture and in 2006 Lehman Brothers incubated the company on the basis of a 3-year incubation period. I became the Head of Lehman Brothers Quantitative Asset Management Europe. Inevitably, the 3-year period ended up in Q3 2008 and I bought back TOBAM two months earlier than initially planned.
TOBAM is now independent and employee-owned, which is a strong component of its DNA and success.
In April 2011, CalPERS chose TOBAM for their highly selective Manager Development Program II, confirming their belief that the Anti-Benchmark® strategy and Maximum Diversification® process were an innovative solution for the world’s leading institutional investors. As part of this program, they became our first US pension fund client and a minority shareholder of TOBAM.
In May 2012, Amundi acquired a minority stake in TOBAM, and became a distributor of the Anti-Benchmark® strategy. The distribution agreement allows us to improve the accessibility of our products to a broad clientele on a global level, in particular in Europe, Asia and the Middle East where Amundi’s network is well established.
Why did you call your strategy the Anti-Benchmark®?
I believe that benchmarks have a role to play in the asset management industry. They are representative of the market, they are the sums of all speculations and as such, provide information for asset managers and investors. However, they need to remain an output. The trend over the last 20 years within the passive management industry to use market cap weighted benchmarks as inputs is a mistake which has a high destructive potential for the economy.
We at TOBAM have implemented a unique strategy, based on the Maximum Diversification® approach, which allows to capture the risk premium of an asset class without biases. As opposed to the benchmarks that are hugely biased, the Anti-Benchmark® is the absence of strategy, we are the truly neutral risk allocator.
How do you explain TOBAM’s success?
TOBAM was one of the founders in 2005/2006 of what has been later called the “Smart Beta” movement. I am not a big fan of the expression “Smart Beta” since it is lacking a clear definition, and as a mathematician, I don’t like undefined terminology. I don’t know whether we are smart but we believe that we provide the Beta.
The Maximum Diversification® Approach and the Anti-Benchmark® strategy answered needs that were unanswered before. Our development strategy since the beginning was to start reaching the largest pension funds in the world, and they indeed were our first clients.
TOBAM was also set up in a very rigorous way and we made sure to construct our strategies based on solid academic research grounds.
The team totals 49 financial professionals, from 17 different nationalities, in four offices (New York, Dublin, Paris and Hong Kong).
Yves Choueifaty heads the Executive Committee of TOBAM and is the Chief Investment Officer.
Fund Administration, operations functions, accounting, HR, communication, are outsourced to top-of-the-league partners.
Since 2006, all the portfolios have been team-managed by the Portfolio Management & Research team, which has grown overtime and currently includes 19 people that have combined responsibilities for portfolio management and research:
Collectively, TOBAM’s research and portfolio management professionals average 12 years of investment experience, and all team members have Master’s Degrees or higher.
The CIO of TOBAM oversees portfolio management & research activities and focuses on guiding the research agenda, strategic development and representing TOBAM in ongoing dialogues with clients, consultants and prospective clients.
The business development at TOBAM is complemented by third-party marketers, including a worldwide non-exclusive distribution partnership with AMUNDI.
“European Asset Management Firm of the Year* ”
Funds Europe Awards 2017, London
*: Category AuM below € 20bn
“Best Investment Strategy (France)” for TOBAM
“Most Innovative Flex-Cap Equity Fund” Award for Anti-Benchmark Global Equity Fund
Fund Awards 2017 – Wealth & Finance 2017
“AM Leader of the Year” Award for Yves Choueifaty
Grands Prix de la Gestion d’Actifs 2016 – Paris
“European Asset Manager* of the Year” Award for TOBAM
Funds Europe Awards 2016 – London
*: Category AuM below €20bn
“Equities Manager of the Year” Award for TOBAM
CiO Industry Innovation Awards 2015 – New York
“CIO of the Year” Award for TOBAM CIO Yves Choueifaty
Funds Europe Awards 2015 – London
“Best Strategy” for TOBAM Anti-Benchmark Strategy
Fund Awards 2015, Wealth and Finance International
“Profit for Non Profit Special Award for TOBAM Anti-Benchmark Emerging Markets Equity Fund”
Profit for Non Profit Awards organized by Axylia – Paris
“Special Commendation Award for the Asset Manager of the Year (AuM below €20bn)”
Funds Europe Awards – London
“2014 Entrepreneurial Asset Manager of the Year”
Asset Management Trophies organized by Deloitte and Option Finance – Paris
TOBAM initiated its contemporary art collection in 2010, a few years after its creation. “Uberall” by Dutch artist, Bart Domburg was bought in 2010, at a Christies’ auction of Lehman Brothers Artwork and was the first piece to enter TOBAM’s collection. TOBAM now owns several contemporary art masterpieces in its Paris office from various international artists, emerging as well as more recognized ones. Faithful to its name, TOBAM supports artists that have a creative thinking, a divergent production process, artists that Think Out of the Box. But most importantly, each masterpiece selected resonates with TOBAM’s investment philosophy, or with our research-driven corporate culture.
An allegory to the Anti-Benchmark approach?
According to the Dutch painter Bart Domburg, this and his other newer paintings examine how “an abstract painting can be done by realistic means.” Moreover, the juxtaposition of purely painterly sections with the overall realism of the picture leads the viewer to question the painted reality itself, as well as the general possibilities of artistic representation. Bart Domburg confronts the viewer in his paintings with these questions in a liberating, intriguing multitude of facets.
The artist’s earlier work centered around painting portraits of friends, testing different formal possibilities and painting styles (close-ups or blow-ups ) in an attempt to extend the traditional view of this form of painting. Since 2002, also affected by the artist´s move to Berlin and the city’s particular history, Domburg’s paintings refer to specific locations or landscapes with a certain historical, political or religious impact. Bart Domburg visited these sites and landscapes and took photographs. The dispassionate naturalistic translations of these photographs into painting maintain a taut balance between his emotionally charged subjects such as the location of the Berlin Wannsee-Konferenz.
In his newer work, the importance of place diminishes, as indicated by this painting’s title “Überall” (“Everywhere”). Here, many architectonical and landscape elements remain visible, but the true existence of the painted site becomes less obvious. This is particularly apparent in the Diaspora series which depicts anonymous landscapes.
Despite the underlying discussion of history, especially in its extreme, destructive amplitude, a change on the level of artistic execution takes place. Although Domburg´s general painting style remains intact, slight alterations appear. In the windows of a painted building, concrete objects such as trees are mirrored on one hand, but on the other hand the viewer recognizes in another window only coloured streaks. As such, a thrilling play on different perspectives, movements, reflections and dynamics appears.
In this painting, the Dutch painter Bart Domburg’s “Uberall” exposes two complementary perspectives from the same vantage point, a powerful allegory to the Anti-Benchmark approach. TOBAM acquired this oil painting on canvas in September 2010 at the Christie’s “Lehman Brothers Artwork and Ephemera” auction.
This effect is also apparent in some of the new landscape paintings depicting for example a snowy field, an open horizon and a stone-like desert. Here, formally-intact naturalism is disrupted. The paintings create an atmosphere where both dissolution and disintegration take place. In the case of the stone landscape the viewer can even perceive “abstraction” when facing the painting closely.
Bart Domburg, born in 1957 in Zwolle, Netherlands, lives and works in Berlin.
Crafted of polyester and signed by Zhang Hongbo (b. 1966), of Guizhou Province in China, Fat Lady is TOBAM’s newest recruit. Painted in vibrant hues of yellow, fuschia and kelly green, Fat Lady literally oversees TOBAM’s daily operations. Fat Lady’s unique charm instills both a sense of the familiar and the mysterious in the observer. Her formidable stature – she measures 1,77m tall, 2,24m wide and 84 cm deep – literally takes the viewer’s breath away. However, her serene gaze complements her physical imposition; delicate facial features and tranquil eyes project a sense of peace. Her posture – symmetrical with hands slightly cupped and one foot forward – evokes both movement and a sense of industry.
On the other hand, Fat Lady’s imposing presence belies the contradiction that is present in many of Zhang Hongbo’s works: the juxtaposition of Fat Lady’s ‘presence’ – size and colors – and a certain ‘absence’ in her facial expression.Different from most of the conceptual artists who emphasize the narrative quality of their works, Zhang Hongbo’s works incite people not to ‘look,’ but to observe and construct. Born in Guizhou Province, Hongbo graduated from the Central Academy of Art and Design (Beijing) in 1989, and subsequently taught in the Art Department of the National Academy of Guizhou, China.
TOBAM purchased Fat Lady at the Christie’s September 6, 2011 auction of the Jan & Monique des Bouvrie Collection in Amsterdam.
Born in London, Anne McAulay is half French and half English. She has moved to and from a total of 6 countries during her life-time, but a few years ago she decided to settle in Paris, the city where many of her photographs were taken. Essentially a spontaneous street photographer, Anne is well known for capturing emotional story-telling moments during the day and night of city life, in the metro, streets and cafés.
Anne’s work has been published internationally, and she was selected as one of the Portfolioists for the Russian photo magazine, Photomasterskaya. Anne’s images have been exhibited worldwide, including shows in Florida, Paris, Moscow, Kiev and Saint Petersburg. A big collection of her photos coupled with an interview made an 8 page centre spread and cover of Digital Photo magazine in Russia.
Anne has the eye to capture geometrical, abstract moments, with a touch of human life. The picture taken in 2005 “Windows of La Défense” is symbolic of her vision.
“I am naturally attracted by structures, street moments, architectural works in their geometrical aspect, but what I like is the hidden moment of life behind the lines” …….or the hidden moment of Life behind the “Windows of la Défense.”
TOBAM bought the unique print of the picture from Anne McAulay in 2011.
Anne McAulay has been employed by TOBAM since 2006.
TOBAM bought “A Birth of a Star” in January 2015 from Alain le Boucher, a French sculptor, specialized in “light” sculptures.
Alain Le Boucher is born in Paimpol in 1950 and produced his first sculptures of light named “Luchrones” in 1982.
He realized then that it was possible to sculpt the light, give forms and to work as he could as a sculptor with other traditional materials.
The sculptures of Alain Le Boucher are light and transparent, poetic and fascinating. The sculptures are of small stature and their conception is founded on the idea of amalgamating light with the dynamics of Time. The electronic components, even the structure of the logical circuits, are at the origin of the forms – of the bursts of light that travel over the entwining lines.
Stevens was born in Paris, where he later graduated from the Penninghen design school. He dedicated himself to metal sculpture and was soon producing anthropomorphic sculptures and automata. In recent years, Stevens has moved away from figurative sculpture and now focuses on the representation of space through powerful mural compositions. Steel remains his favourite medium: a fairly basic material, it lends itself to all sorts of experimentation.
“Untitled” acquired by TOBAM in 2016 is part of series that take illusion one step further. Surface is painted uniformly white, the resulting impression is one of weightlessness and stillness, verging on dematerialisation: here the metal becomes an invisible and abstract expression of volume, space and movement.
Jacques Monory is a French painter, born in 1924. Considered to be one of the main representatives of the “narrative figuration”, a movement which, in the mid 1960s, objected to abstract painting, Jacques Monory borrows the techniques of photography and film to describe a fragmented, violent reality. The themes are developed through a series and the images it uses are directly from contemporary society. Monory uses monochrome to create cinematic compositions, often immersed with a blue colour.
TOBAM acquired “Image incurable N°1” in 2016, painted in 1972, part of the paintings series “les premiers numéros du catalogue mondial des images incurables”.