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New Emerging Markets Team at MainFirst stands for continuity and new beginnings

Frankfurt/Zurich 1. November 2021 – MainFirst is reshaping its Emerging Markets Debt Team and thereby starting the next chapter in the success story of the MainFirst Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund Balanced and the MainFirst Emerging Markets Credit Opportunities Fund. In future, four experienced Portfolio Managers will form the core of the team. As of recently, Cornel Bruhin is again one of them. With him, the ‘Spiritus Rector’ of MainFirst's current emerging market strategies has returned to the company. He set up MainFirst's emerging markets strategies and, until the end of 2019, played a key role in shaping them. In addition, MainFirst has been able to recruit an experienced Portfolio Manager who has been managing a very successful emerging markets corporate bond fund for years. He will be the new lead manager and head of the Emerging Markets Corporate Debt team at MainFirst, taking up his role in January 2022 at the latest.  Roman Kostal and Astrid Vogler, who have been co-managing the strategies in the past few months, will continue to be part of the team. Going forward, the Emerging Markets Team will additionally be expanded by at least one Junior Portfolio Manager.

More experience and more investment expertise

The signs in MainFirst's Emerging Markets Team are all pointing to a new beginning. Thanks to this new formation, the team is powerful and future-proof - and draws on considerable experience and investment expertise:

 

  • Cornel Bruhin has some 37 years' experience in emerging market investments. He joined MainFirst in 2012 as the driving force behind today's emerging markets strategies and is known in the industry for his fundamental bottom-up approach. He represents continuity to investors and, together with his colleagues in the team, will continue the current style of MainFirst's emerging market funds. As one of the pioneers in emerging market corporate debt, Cornel Bruhin has been involved in this segment as a portfolio manager since shortly after the millennium and has remained true to his style ever since. He has been working for MainFirst again since the end of October.
  • The future head of the team brings many years of experience as Portfolio Manager of a successful emerging markets corporate bond fund. He has a very good track record and corresponding ratings. Further information on this appointment will be announced in due course.
  • Roman Kostal has more than 25 years' experience as a Portfolio Manager with a very good track record. He follows a consistent and disciplined top-down investment process that gives greater weight to macroeconomic factors. The same applies to Astrid Vogler, who has more than 30 years’ experience as a Portfolio Manager and Investment Analyst. Roman Kostal and Astrid Vogler joined MainFirst in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and have been members of the Emerging Markets Corporate Debt team since mid-2021.

As a result, the team has very complementary skills which enable a holistic investment approach: while the proven fundamental bottom-up and deep-credit expertise continues to be at the core of the investment process, it is completed with macroeconomic factors and assessments.

Evolution of the successful emerging markets strategies

The return of Cornel Bruhin and the appointment of the new team head are emblematic of continuity and new beginnings. “I am looking forward to continuing the successful investment strategies of the MainFirst Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund Balanced and the MainFirst Emerging Markets Credit Opportunities Fund in a seamless manner,” says Cornel Bruhin. As a pioneer in this segment, he played a decisive role in developing MainFirst’s emerging market strategies and has fundamentally shaped them since then. “There will be no change in style,” Bruhin emphasises. “However, we will continue to develop the strategies in an evolutionary way and give more attention to aspects such as ESG and risk management.” There will be a much more pronounced commitment to both aspects so that they can be more decidedly incorporated into the investment process.

“The team's considerable expertise and complementary mix of skills, will contribute to targeted further developments of products and processes, enabling us to offer our clients even better products in the future,” says Cornel Bruhin.

 

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