In June 2019, ALFI's members elected a new Board of Directors. Upon her appointment, new ALFI Chairperson Corinne Lamesch touched upon the role our industry can play in helping to align businesses with the values of a changing society – foretelling words as it now appears in hindsight. Corinne may not have seen a pandemic coming, but she certainly struck a chord with all those who have been ready for the industry to embrace the human factor. A few months on, and the focus shift is undeniable. But what does the ALFI Chair herself think about her first year in the role?
A pandemic is indeed not what I had in mind when I said that the asset management industry was at a critical juncture, facing both challenges and opportunities. But in my perception, change was in the air even then, before we were collectively hurled into this new reality.
Macro-trends and coronavirus
From geopolitical developments that threaten to challenge cross-border trade and the much-cited pensions gap created by demographic change in many parts of the world to the many environmental and generational aspects encapsulated by the Fridays For Future movement – these societal trends have become even more prominent, and they do not stop at the fund industry’s doorstep.
They express themselves in the form of new – or more clearly voiced – investor needs, such as for intuitive digital investment tools and products that adapt to changing lifestyles, but also their quest for transparency and choice in terms of what their money is used for. Return is increasingly sought in private assets, which has resulted in a continued high for Alternatives.
ALFI Ambition 2025
The fund industry wants to meet evolving demands with answers that stand up to the scrutiny of the next generation, and we at ALFI want to contribute to finding these answers. In this context we have recently defined ALFI’s ambition for the next five years – the ALFI Ambition 2025. The ALFI Strategic Advisory Board has produced a vision of the future that makes for a really interesting read, if I may say so. I would also like to reiterate my thanks to the members of the StratBo for putting their energy into this project which will serve as a beacon for our next few years – it gives clear direction on what we want to do.
D&I and investor education
Some of the objectives we set out are familiar, such as focus on sustainable investing, on savings and pensions, or on Alternatives. We also want to make bigger steps forward into digital transformation. Going beyond the key themes we mention in the ambition paper, I would like to mention a topic that is very important to me: diversity and inclusion is an issue that continues to deserve all our attention it deserves. I am making this a distinct priority of my mandate. Let's make the industry more colourful and more inclusive! We have such diverse talent in Luxembourg, and we should make sure our industry is as multi-faceted as our society.
Wouldn't it be a admirable achievement if we could leverage our engagement in investor education and work towards becoming an industry perceived as the "people's industry" that we really are? This seems too often overlooked to me. As asset managers and fund professionals, we serve as a hugely important lever at the interface between the “money goals” of individuals and the wider “prosperity goals” of society. We want to lend a hand to the former on their path, and can help to create a sustainable future for all.
Imagine a future like that.