Blu Family Office launches discretionary fund

  • Why this is important: Blu Family Office says their fund offers a way for families to avoid private banking fees.

Blu Family Office, a multi-family office based outside London with about $1.3 billion under management, has launched a fund it describes as an “all-in-one investment solution,” providing clients with exposure to a variety of investments for a minimum investment of $125,000.

Blu Discretionary Fund, launched July 1, came about because many of Blu’s clients were asking for it and they could not find it in the market, associate Tom Tardif told Buyouts.

“They were all asking for the same allocation, and as such we thought it would be good if we could set up a fund-like structure,” he said. “We’re migrating clients over from managed accounts into this solution.”

Founder Christian Armbruester started Blu as a way to avoid what he saw as the excessive fees that came out of working with private banks, and Tardif said that is what the Blu fund offers.

“We’re able to pool assets. That allows us to benefit greatly in economies of scale rather than each client having their own managed accounts where often, if you’re using the likes of a banking platform, there’s often a lot of charges that those banks levy on clients,” he said. “Whereas setting up the likes of a fund structure, costs are often much more shared amongst more investors.”

The Blu fund casts a wide net, including both public and private investments. According to a slide presentation provided to Buyouts, investments from the fund include government bonds, public corporate bonds, private corporate bonds, structured loans and stock markets, among others.

It also includes “hedge fund-style trading strategies,” Tardif said, but does not do any private equity or property investments beyond private lending and property financing. The fund invests in 50 countries in assets with 35 different underlying currencies. Blu charges a .75 percent management fee and no performance fee.

Tardif told Buyouts that Blu is looking for new investors and families. The fund is open-ended, with no plans to close any time soon. He added that Blu works only with professional investors.

Tardif stressed that Blu is also investing its own money into the fund to ensure there is no conflict of interest. He said that an FO offering up its own fund made sense.

“I think family offices and large families are probably under-served by the traditional wealth managers and private banks,” he said. “By families coming together and working together and generating an investment solution that all families and people can share, there are far less conflicts of interest versus using a private banker who’s just an agent who just wants to clip his commission…here we all share the same interests.”

Blu Family Office was launched in 2010 as a single-family office, when Armbruester began applying his experience in the finance industry to managing his own family’s wealth.

Soon, a Dutch family asked if they could take part and Blu became a multi-family office. Blu works with six “very large” families with assets in excess of $1 billion, and also has another $350 million in their funds and managed account platform, serving more than 300 clients spread between Holland, the U.K. and Italy, Tardif said. The name “Blu” has no particular meaning, but was chosen for being simple, declarative and easy to remember.

Action item: contact Blu Family Office here.