Former Credit Suisse managers build their new signature, Welcome AM, on top of the old Degroof Petercam

They have acquired the Wealthprivat Asset Management manager from Andbank. Javier Alonso and Ignacio Laviña are in charge of the project.

Xavier Alonso.

The former managers and bankers of Credit Suisse Spain who have resigned in several waves during July and August they have already launched their new independent private banking project. In the first place, they have acquired from Andbank the manager of the former Degroof Petercam (Wealthprivat Asset Management), as Invertia advanced and this newspaper has now been able to confirm with related sources. On it, they have raised their new brand: Welcome Asset Management.

This follows from its registration in the Mercantile Registry of Madrid. Leading Welcome Asset Management are Javier Alonso and Ignacio Lavina. The first of them was the president and CEO of Credit Suisse Management and, the second, one of the most important bank team leaders in our country and one of the private bankers with the largest client portfolio.

Up to a dozen exits have been suffered by the Swiss bank in its Spanish subsidiary so far this summer. The last one, Victoria Cokewho has been a fixed income manager at the firm for the last ten years.

For high net worth

His departure joins those of Sascha Álvarez-Ossorio, Gregorio Oyaga, Daniel Vaquero, Alfonso Guerra or Alonso and Laviña themselves, all of them managers or bankers of great weight for Credit Suisse Spain given their managerial positions or their important client portfolios of high net worth, a segment where Welcome Asset Management will now compete.

The option of acquiring an empty or semi-empty manager to build the new project on it has always been the priority option. This saves time, the great bureaucratic burden and the costs associated with creating a management company from scratch. They would have several depositary banks, of which Andbank will be one of them.

The price of the transaction has not been disclosed and the firm awaits the latest regulatory approvals to start its new path.

The obsession with anonymity

A bill proposed by the Popular Party aims to force social media platforms to identify all those who intend to use them through the National Identity Document, in a new manifestation of which some politicians are simply incapable of understanding the network.

The obsession of the Popular Party with anonymity in the network comes from afar. On several occasions they have expressed their opinion on the subject, and on all of them, with the intention of reduce the amount of freedom of citizensusually, in addition, comparing it with the idea that someone goes masked on the street.

But the issue of identity on the internet and in social networks is not new at all, and for its discussion it is important to put the concepts in their place: anonymity does not only cover the right of a person not to be identified at all, but also issues such as creating their own identity through a pseudonym, connected or not with their real identity, or the use of nicknames of various kinds that allow a person to manage their identity or their image as they wish.

From someone’s right to sign anonymously, to maintaining a consistent and identifiable identity but unrelated to their offline identity, to many other issues related to identity management or even fear of retaliation – all the more important when we take it to environments, such as dictatorships or hostile environments.

Understanding the network means understanding that, in reality, we are talking about an environment in which everything that happens is recorded in a ‘log’ file, recorded somewhere. And that, therefore, anonymity on the network is, in general, more difficult than on the street: when a person commits a crime on the Internet, it can be traced, and it is really difficult to avoid it if you are not a true cybersecurity expert .

Understanding the network is understanding that, in reality, we are talking about an environment in which everything that happens is recorded in a log file

Another thing, of course, is that in many cases, social networks refuse to identify their userssimply because they have not committed any crime and because that identification should be requested by a judge.

Because the vast majority of those behaviors that so offend politicians who demand the end of anonymity on the Internet, in reality, are not crimes for which no one has to be prosecuted, but simply citizens expressing their opinion, with more or less taste, with more or less education. And rudeness, lack of taste or more or less harsh criticism are not, no matter how much the Popular Party apparently regrets it, constituting a crime.

We like them more or less, but from there to considering them crimes or prosecuting those who incur in these behaviors, it goes a world. And a whole legislative background related to data protection and that not only emanates, but can be considered characteristic of the European legislation, endorses those rights and freedoms.

Claiming a network through which we all circulate identified is an outdated, liberticidal and immature thought. Firstly, because it makes no sense from the point of view of citizen rights, and secondly, because the network itself already has mechanisms that allow it to identify and, if necessary, prosecute those who engage in criminal behavior.

Claiming a network through which we all circulate identified is an outdated, liberticidal and immature thought

We are clearly facing what is usually called “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”: as some users use anonymity to tell me things I don’t like, we are going to end anonymity, just like that. No, being annoyed by certain behaviors should not lead you to behave like a freedom killer.

Anonymity, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the North American associations of reference in the use of the Internet, affirms, is a shield against the tyranny of the majority, and exemplifies the purpose behind the Declaration of Human Rights and, in specific case of the United States, of values ​​as important as the First Amendment of the Constitution: protecting unpopular people from reprisals and from the hands of an intolerant society.

One only has to look at other countries to understand what anonymity represents: the United States protects it and considers it a fundamental right of citizenship and an important bastion in freedom expression. Where is he persecuted? In countries like China, obsessed with the control of their population and with the persecution of the dissident. With whom does the Popular Party want to compare itself in that sense? Is it intended to silence criticism, as in that old joke in which the answer to “how are you?” Was it systematically a “can’t complain”?

Defending the right to anonymity is essential, even if you have not used it or plan to use it in your life. Attacking it or trying to eliminate it is, simply, a sign of immaturity and ignorance, of a tantrum of those who believe that their problems are going to be solved with a measure as crude as forcing everyone to circulate through the networks with their hands behind their necks and the card in the mouth.

The EU will tighten the nuts on Musk to strengthen control of content on Twitter

Why is debt refinancing key to business survival?

Public debt.

The Spanish economy will pick up the pace again before the outbreak of the pandemic in the next 18 months, which is great news, as it means that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, it is no less true that when we come out of the tunnel we will not be in the same situation as when we entered it, but with a much heavier backpack due to the greater indebtedness of the business sector.

One of the underlying problems of our economy is that our companies show a structural capital deficit and limited access to sources of financing, unlike what happens in the countries around us. This situation makes us especially dependent on what may happen to the funding sources, especially banks.

Corporate sector debt in Spain has grown significantly over the last 12 months. The lower economic activity caused many companies to incur losses and, consequently, they needed to resort to credit to continue their activity. In this sense, the public guarantees were of great importance to allow the credit to continue flowing and the companies to maintain their activity.

So, if everything goes as you expect the Bank of Spain, In the year 2023 our companies will recover their levels of activity, although with a higher level of indebtedness. The consequences derived from this situation will imply a lower availability of resources to continue investing, growing or creating jobs (in short, generating wealth), since they will have to return what they borrowed.

But as “a skinny dog, everything is fleas”, this situation will be aggravated by the bank restructuring process in Spain. The four largest banks account for more than 70% of the market share and all of them are undergoing important transformation processes that involve tens of thousands of layoffs (dressed as voluntary redundancies) as well as new and extremely high costs for their income statement.

Banks need to reduce their credit portfolios and make them more profitable, which, explained in simple language, means that there will be less credit and more expensive.

The banks have increased (and will continue to do so) commissions and interest rates for our companies, while at the same time informing them that they will not renew part of the credit they have had to date.

In the year 2023 our companies will recover their levels of activity

In this scenario, it is not necessary to be very experienced to realize that, if the level of indebtedness has increased, credit has become more expensive and the bank grants less and less financing, alternatives must be sought.

Fortunately, there are numerous investors with a clear mandate to finance companies in Spain. The high degree of banking in our economy had not allowed them to access our business fabric, but the weakness and uncertainty of the sector at the moment has opened the doors for them.

The profile of these financiers, most of them foreigners, is substantially different from that of banks and they offer companies the possibility of obtaining financing over longer terms and without an amortization schedule that is detrimental to the company. Also, in terms of cost, they are also very competitive.

These financiers have become a real, effective and necessary alternative to cover the financing needs of our productive fabric. But without a doubt, the best news of the current unbanking process is that it is no longer just the large companies that can benefit from the benefits of this type of financiers, but also those medium-sized companies with good business models.

In this sense, we must bear in mind that the alternatives currently existing to the Bank financing and that offer extremely advantageous conditions, will be adapted in the future to market conditions. For this reason, we must watch inflationary spikes very carefully, as they could have consequences in the short and medium term.

If these upturns go from being merely circumstantial to becoming structural, all financial markets will be affected. The long-term uncertainty generated by inflation could make the supply of financing products not only more expensive, but also limit access to longer terms.

From my point of view, I do not believe that interest rates are going to rise in the medium term (it would have disastrous consequences), although the increase in credit spreads as a consequence of the existing uncertainties.

For all of the above, and if I had to face the decision of whether or not to refinance my company’s indebtedness, I would undoubtedly apply the rule of “anticipating the difficult by managing the simple”.

It is time to take advantage of the current market situation and guarantee excellent financing conditions for the coming years.

*** Vicente Rodríguez is a partner and director of Structured Financing at Beka Finance

Public debt.