At GIF 2019, CEOs call for better collaboration between asset managers and owners
Magnus Billing, CEO of Swedish pension fund Alecta, pointed out that for the challenges ahead with regard to expected returns and trends towards private assets, there is room for cooperation between asset managers and asset owners. “This is important when comes to trends like impact investing, where we feel pressure from our customers to see more impact investments without lower expected returns,” he said, adding that they need to diversify into unlisted markets for better investment opportunities.
The close interaction between asset managers and owners should be an obligation, pointed out Amundi’s CEO Yves Perrier. “Our job is not to sell products but savings or investment solutions, that combine risk and yield to a certain extent,” he added.
Historically, asset managers do not collaborate as often as compared to other financial services like banks, which trade with each other, establishing contacts and working with regulators, said Jean Raby, CEO, Natixis Investment Managers. “We need asset managers to cooperate more often especially on subjects like ESG, where there is a lack of standards and everyone has their own definition. Since ESG, as a subject, is going mainstream, it is better to streamline it through collaboration,” he said.
Tom Mergaerts, CEO of Belgian pension fund Amonis, said that collaboration could be vital to deal with regulatory roadblocks. “I come from a country with many small pension funds. Regulations are cumbersome to get by, especially ESG. Asset managers should also take up newer roles in ancillary services such as reporting, ESG screening, transparency, execution with (European Market Infrastructure Regulation) EMIR requirements. When it comes to ESG, a number of funds will develop their own bespoke policy, demanding asset managers to develop models to integrate ESG into their investment solutions,” said the chief of the asset owner.