W&F Issue 1 2018

www.wealthandfinance-news.com 18 Wealth & Finance International - Issue 1 2018 Founded in August 2012, Astra is a specialist credit asset manager that aims to generate outsized returns through investments in non-vanilla credit strategies exploiting complexity, relative value and capital structure arbitrage opportunities across asset classes both in the US and in Europe. We focus on instruments backed by mortgages and corporate debt, but frequently get involved in distressed credit situations linked to operating assets as well. Joseph outlines the firm’s overall mission, and describes what steps the firm will put in place in order to reach its targets. “Astra will continue to target outsized returns, providing quality solutions for its clients through their expert use of credit instruments. We maintain a stance that as an investment manager we should be firmly aligned with our clients; an all too uncommon occurrence in today’s market. To ensure alignment, we have allocated the most part of our own investable assets to the fund along with our investors, whom we consider as partners. In addition, incentive fees are not charged unless the fund earns at least 5% and 10% per annum.” In many of its services, Joseph acknowledges that the firm is similar to its peers, however, he is keen to comment on how Astra differentiates itself from its competitors thanks to its unique solutions. “Similar to our peers in the credit space, Astra achieves returns through holding credit risky instruments. Where Astra distinguishes itself from our competitors is by offering niche products and solutions for our investors. A significant portion of our returns is derived from understanding the bespoke structural features of the assets we invest in and our ability to monetise complexity that only very few managers can confidently price.” Moving on, Joseph explains how it feels to have been selected in the Hedge 100 as the Most Outstanding Hedge Fund Manager in 2017, before going on to explains what this means for the company and how they plan to capitalise on this success. “A fundamental aspect of all our achievements and the success we enjoy at Astra is very much a team effort, everyone was delighted to be notified we had won this prestigious award. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication applied throughout the firm, and an endorsement that great results can be achieved for our investors by following a sensible, thoughtful investment process. “It is especially rewarding to receive recognition for the hard work we do in such a competitive international field, it helps validate the company’s strategy of staying disciplined in what we do best, and having an excellent product that management believe in and support.” Following on from discussing how the award is a team effort, Joseph refers to the internal culture within Astra, mentioning the stringent hiring structure which guarantees that the right people are hired, and how the leadership team ensures that all staff are working towards achieving the same mission. “Given Astra’s boutique character, we are fortunate in that we have been able to grow utilizing relationships of existing team members both at senior and junior level. Junior staff go through a twelve-month training program during which time they get exposure to different areas of the business; they do not have one mentor, but have direct access to all members of the management team. We are careful to ensure that new joiners are a good fit personality-wise to maintain the family style atmosphere at Astra. “In addition to an intellectually stimulating environment, Astra offers a performance and success based compensation scheme. The company has an excellent track record of retaining talent.” Finally, Joseph finds it hard to predict what the future holds for Astra, but seems confident that the whole team will be able to stay ahead of any upcoming developments within the industry. Having shown resilience and strength in the past, Astra Asset Management manages assets for some of the worlds most respected global institutions, for family offices and high net worth individuals, both in Europe and the US. Joseph Shiels discusses what services the firm provides and how the team works hard to ensure it delivers the best service. Finance in Safe Hands 1710WF07 Company: Astra Asset Management UK Limited Contact: Joseph Shiels Contact Email: [email protected] Address: 35 King Street, London, EC2V 8EH, UK Phone: 2031899700 Website: www.astra-amco.com “Astra will continue to target outsized returns, providing quality solutions for its clients through their expert use of credit instruments. We maintain a stance that as an investment manager we should be firmly aligned with our clients; an all too uncommon occurrence in today’s market.” Joseph signs off by explaining that the company is always looking forward, and there is always room for it to grow its services. “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. Astra has the ability to respond to challenges and the flexibility to adapt to a changing market and macro-economic environment. Astra’s asset class focus will evolve given the changes in the primary market for structured credit and asset backed securities after the financial crisis; many investors have to cope with a new regulatory environment, and Astra has been able to provide solutions through a new platform we created. There is definitely room to grow.”

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