In our Business Brief series, we take a closer look at a firm to find what makes it tick.
On the 10th anniversary of the Miami-based multi-family office BigSur Partners, chief executive Ignacio Pakciarz (pictured) talks to Citywire Americas about their growth plans and why he sold out of Amazon.
AUM: $1.1 billion
Client base: 80% offshore / 20% onshore
Number of clients: 18 core families
Number of advisors: 9
Running BigSur is like running: A ship. The past 10 years have shown the resilience of BigSur and our ability to navigate through some of the most volatile markets in history alongside our clients.
What do you do better than your rivals?
We believe that a key aspect of our approach is our proven expertise in providing clients with innovative direct investment and co-investment opportunities. Few of these are available on banking platforms, and where they do exist, they are often oversubscribed and require years of relationship-building to achieve access.
We ensure that our clients’ interests are aligned with those of the managers. We only invest in businesses with an ‘owner- operator’ mentality. This extends to BigSur itself, in that we invest our personal capital alongside our clients.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
We hope to continue attracting high- quality families and growing assets under management by at least 25% – both organically and by recruiting top-quality investment advisors.
Equally important is the effort we have been making to streamline and institutionalize our investment processes to better serve our clients.
What is your appetite for taking risk as a business?
BigSur manages ‘stay-rich money,’ not ‘get-rich money.’ Capital reservation and future generational wealth are always at the forefront of our decision-making. We are taking traditional equity and credit risk, but we use some hedging strategies to protect our portfolios.
With the extremely low levels of implicit volatility, hedging is cheap. With a shift in generational wealth, younger clients are demanding more access to the creative economy. This includes machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics. We have begun to invest small amounts in blue-chip venture capital funds, and have gained some exposure to cryptocurrencies.
In these asset classes, it is important to keep position sizing in mind given their asymmetrical, and in some cases binary, payoffs.
Which book best describes your daily life at BigSur:
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. We truly believe the secret to success is being disciplined, and that there are no shortcuts.
What company do you admire and why?
We admire Amazon because of its ability to disrupt and dominate a diverse range of industries. It’s not an e-commerce retailer, a provider of digital and intelligence services, a grocery store or a logistics company.
We think of it as more of a ‘total life’ company. The result has been to cause virtually every commercial enterprise to re-think their business. However, we recently sold our Amazon position, as we find it difficult to justify its overextended valuation, and also fear that antitrust legislation will eventually cap the ‘Amazon effect.’
BigSur’s big birthday
by Michelle Abrego
Ten years ago, with the support of five Latin American families, Ignacio Pakciarz and Rafael Iribarren set out to launch a multi-family office.
Since then the firm has grown to 18 families and 22 employees, and is yet to lose a client. ‘We are very proud of the brand we’ve established, the place we’ve earned within the investment community and the trust of our clients,’ Pakciarz said.
One of the firm’s proudest achievements so far is its success in participating in institutional investments alongside sovereign wealth funds, university endowments and pension funds. The firm has made more than 19 private debt and equity investments, 11 direct commercial real estate investments and four co-investments.
In the future the firm is looking to ramp up growth while staying true to its ethos of always giving value back to clients.
More immediately, it is upgrading its special occasion ritual from the usual office paella lunch to a cocktail party for friends and collaborators, as well as some events to give back to its local community.