By Laurent BERTIAU – Deputy Head of the Institutional and Corporate Clients Division at Amundi

 

Closing out the first day, Laurent Bertiau summarized the overall theme of the forum on how disruption is changing the investment environment. Structural changes require asset owners to adapt, and Amundi is there to help them.

“Economic and financial drivers are multiplying, risks are multi-faceted, and uncertainty is becoming a habit we all have to deal with,” said Mr. Bertiau. From the beginning of the decade, investors have had to adapt. After the financial crisis, with less solvency, reinforced regulations, and low interest rates, they sought new asset classes, entered new markets and “re-risked” their portfolios. The asset management industry has accompanied this evolution, with passive management and smart and outcome-oriented solutions, among other innovations.

However, stressed Mr. Bertiau, investors are facing new structural challenges. Geopolitical risks in an increasingly multi-polar world affect economics and finance, and political risk is no longer limited to emerging markets. The search for yield has become more strategic than tactical and more sophisticated, inspiring new instruments and assets classes to capture risk premiums.

Climate change and ESG concerns have moved centre stage and are being evaluated for risk so that they become business opportunities. And demographic trends and disruptive business models are ever more important in investment decisions.

« Harvesting risk premiums for long-term investors is not only about incorporating new asset classes, but about identifying new disruptive opportunities in existing asset classes. »

Calling today’s changes the beginning of a new tomorrow, Mr. Bertiau urged his colleagues to be prepared to adapt even further. From a world where they used to deal with short-term risks, they now must add long-term risks. They must accompany Amundi’s clients in this by providing investment solutions in an unbiased manner, with the sole objective of addressing their needs.

One way is to provide clients access to Amundi’s research and expertise, such as the ongoing research project on how to implement smart data in a large portfolio. To further support clients, Amundi also offers other services, such as risk evaluation and monitoring, transition management, reporting on new regulations, and ESG filters, among other things. This amounts to nothing less than setting-up a new value chain between asset managers and asset owners, underlined Mr. Bertiau.

« As an asset manager, our ultimate objective is to be alongside investors as a partner, in co-evolution mode, to adapt to the coming new environment. »