Wermuth Asset Management GmbH (“WAM”) is a German family office and BaFin regulated investment advisor committed to sustainable investments. The company’s headquarters are in Mainz, with a branch office in Moscow and a representative office in Wiesbaden.
Since 1999 WAM has built a strong reputation within the financial community. At its peak (2007), the firm has advised Eastern European and Russian listed equity, debt, private equity, real estate and forestry assets of around $1bn.
WAM’s principals have substantial experience working and investing in Russia. They allocate their private capital alongside co-investors into alternative investment vehicles, for which WAM acts as investment advisor. WAM provides an institutional investment platform for investment professionals who look to work on a partnership basis with a clear alignment of interests.
Strategies pursued include: private equity with a focus on resource efficiency; real estate development; long/short equity; and long only activist value investing with a focus on the electric power sector. Each aims to achieve a positive real total return over the medium term.
WAM seeks to contribute through its activities to a profitable move from a linear (take, consume, throw away) to a circular (designed to be waste-free) economy. WAM is also a signatory of Transparency International’s Business Principals for Countering Bribery and the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Investments.
WAM and its co-founders have a long history successfully managing investments in the sometimes challenging Russian financial markets. The firm and its founders navigated Russia’s default in 1998, the 2004 Yukos affair and the 2008 global credit crunch, and have learned important lessons along the way.
WAM’s co-founder, Jochen Wermuth, has been working in the Russian markets since 1993. In 1997 he acted as Head of an Expert Economic Group advising the Finance Ministry of the Russian Government. Jochen was one of the founders of the Greater Europe Fund (GEF), which started investing in March 1998 as a family office.
During the crisis that ensued in late 1998, the fund went long on German bunds and GEF grew steadily as the Russian markets recovered. WAM itself was established in 1999 to manage GEF.
In 2003, WAM opened GEF to other investors, attracted its first outside money, and the firm grew on investor demand for alternative asset managers with experience and track record in the Russian market. Following 2003, WAM became the exclusive Investment Adviser to several funds and SPVs whose investors include high net worth individuals, family offices, funds of funds, banks, pension funds, endowments and sovereign wealth funds.
By 2007, the firm had over $1 billion in assets under management, and the Greater Europe Fund had produced returns of 21% p.a. since its foundation. The Fund won several awards during this period, including “Best Performing Global Macro Hedge Fund” (Hedge Fund Review 2004 and 2006) and “Top Hedge Fund” by Bloomberg Markets January 2007.
The global financial crisis that struck in 2008 was especially challenging for many asset managers and private equity funds, and WAM was no exception (more details here). As a result, however, we have emerged from the crisis stronger, and have put in place new, innovative structures to give our investors the flexibility they require while maintaining the ability to manage investments with a long-term view.
Today, WAM advises funds with $300 million in assets in Russia/CIS listed debt and equity, private equity, real estate, agriculture and forestry.
WAM in 2008-2009