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Magazine Issues » January-February 2020

ALFI preview: Topping the agenda

BuildingAhead of Alfi’s spring conference, one of the fund industry’s most high-profile annual events, Funds Europe previews of some of the most notable sessions.

NB: The conference has been postponed until further notice due to the coronavirus.

The Luxembourg funds industry association, Alfi, holds the largest of its three annual flagship conferences in the Grand Duchy next month.

This year’s edition of the European Asset Management Conference will aim, say the organisers, “to condense the latest developments in the asset management sector with its products and people”.

Hundreds of delegates from around the world are expected to attend the two-day event to be held, this year, in Luxexpo’s The Box conference centre, where a wide variety of high-level panel discussions, keynote speeches and networking events have been scheduled.

Corinne Lamesch, Alfi chairperson, said “as we are entering a new decade, we are putting a particular focus on the ‘new kids on the block’ in the product range, such as the European Long-Term Investment Fund (ELTIF), actively managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or the Pan-European Pension Product (PEPP).

“We will try to get valuable practical insights from trailblazers in the areas of sustainable investing and environment, social and governance investing (ESG), as many are looking to follow their example.

“It is our explicit goal to also allow for the broader perspective, as we examine changing parameters in our societies: increasing longevity, a new consumer attitude linked to continuing technological advances and – partly as a result – the need for better financial education.

“In a nutshell: how can European investment fund managers embrace their role in society, and why is Luxembourg the place to be for them? These are some of the questions I would like to see answered in March during the conference.”

Day one
The morning of the first day (Tuesday, March 17), will focus on the role of the asset manager and will include a session on value assessments. Panellists will include Laura Bampfylde of HSBC Global Asset Management and Hugues Gillibert of Fitz Partners.

This will be followed by a panel on product evolution and innovation, which will include Stuart Corrigall of BlackRock and Tobias Giesser of Partners Group. The panel will be moderated by Mark Bliss of Jupiter Asset Management.

Following a mid-morning coffee break, LuxFlag chairman Denise Voss will moderate a panel on ESG investing.

Then, after lunch in the exhibition area, Tuesday afternoon will focus on investors, starting with a presentation by Chris Hare, HSBC Bank’s European economist, on his outlook for the decade ahead.

Scheduled next are panel sessions on the needs of institutional and retail investors. Panellists on the former will include Gregor Bollen of Citi Private Bank and Carlos Montalvo Rebuelta, the former executive director of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).

Speakers at the retail investor panel session will include Micaela Forelli, head of European distribution of M&G International Investments, and Oliver Goemans, head of investment services and innovation at Banque Internationale à Luxembourg.

Later, a high-level discussion will focus on investor education and how to encourage people without savings or investment plans to get started. Panellists here will include Claude Marx, director general of the Luxembourg financial regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), and Holly Mackay, founder and chief executive of Boring Money.

Day two
The morning of March 18 will focus on service providers. The first panel will discuss how different service providers approach strategic evolution differently.

A panel discussion on the rise of the third-party ManCo model will come next, followed by a high-level dialogue on upskilling service provider workforces to cope with change and the rapid adoption of technology.

The afternoon of day two will be given over to talking about regulations and regulators. This will include a forward-looking session on regulatory changes in the industry expected over the next 18 months, at which Silke Bernard of Linklaters, Nathalie Dogniez of PwC and Michèle Eisenhuth of Arendt & Medernach will share their insights.

After a break for a fortifying cup of coffee, the final session of the conference will be a high-level dialogue on how the UK-EU withdrawal agreement will impact the future relationship between the UK and the remaining 27 EU member states. The panel will be moderated by Elvinger Hoss Prussen’s Luc Frieden, formerly Luxembourg’s finance minister.

Other confirmed speakers as Funds Europe went to press were Alfi director general Camille Thommes and CSSF director Marco Zwick.

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