What makes you get up in the morning?
The desire to understand. The intellectual process of analyzing what is happening in the financial markets. I force myself every week to ask myself and to decipher the mechanisms that drive them. Then, we must deduce the impacts, whether we invest or not. Sometimes, an economic context does not have the expected consequences on the financial markets – the increase or decrease in the value of shares. In March 2020, for example, there was a big stock market crash due to Covid-19, but right after that the markets started to rise again very quickly. I reinvested fairly quickly, so the clients were thrilled. I understood that this health crisis would not call into question the economic fundamentals. Especially since the state has supported businesses. My reading was pretty accurate. Since September 2022, I have been on alert. The economic situation is less good, inflation is increasing. I started to reduce the exposure of clients’ portfolios to overly risky assets, but, counterintuitively, the markets did not fall! A good financial analyst must also know how to question himself, it is impossible to claim to understand all the economic or political factors.
At work, how is it going?
I combine several activities: I am an investment director for a wealth management firm, I teach and I write an essay on debt. My day is structured around major events: the publication of macroeconomic data, company profit and loss accounts… In terms of wealth management, I sometimes record some poor performances. This is the most stressful, because I believe that we must always aim for performance for the client. You have to know how to remain humble, recognizing that “I could be wrong”. I always try to explain my strategy; in this way, the customer is reassured and recognizes the right to make mistakes.
Who do you trust?
In my wife. We met very young and count 39 years of marriage! She always supported me. In stressful times, in difficulties, during complicated business mergers, for example. It’s essential to be able to talk to someone who understands without necessarily being there – she works in human resources – and above all, she advises me. I don’t think you can have a fulfilled professional life without having this support in your personal life.
A scene that has marked you recently?
This is behavior on the part of companies and which is somewhat related to my training activities. I have three children, two of whom have recently changed companies. At 32 and 29, they joined two international groups and I was very surprised at the recruitment processes put in place for candidates with only a few years of experience. I helped one of my sons get ready for a whole weekend. The fact of having to submit to a large number of successive and rather difficult interviews seems somewhat abusive. Without being in the “it was better before”, this type of approach did not exist a few years ago.
Something that would change your life right now?
I hope to have more grandchildren. The relationship with a grandparent is not the same as with a parent. I want to do more stupid things with them, to be funnier. I have a grandson who does humor in the second degree, and that, I love. With a grandchild, there are also fewer responsibilities, it’s not up to us to educate, we only have the good sides. Like going “hidden” to eat chocolate on the sly. It rejuvenates!
And for tomorrow, an idea to change the world?
I have no solutions but I wonder about the integration of social and climate issues in finance. Some of my clients want to be more “green”. Finance is often attacked, but I feel an awareness, some are seizing these issues, and they have to. However, the performance of investment funds that specialize in socially responsible investing has not always been very good, especially since the end of 2021. And if they are not performing, they are not attractive. No one invests in it anymore. If a customer says to you: “I agree to lose 10%, it does not matter but on the other hand, I am green”, very well. But today it is contrary to the objectives of profitability. In 2022, if you wanted to make money, you had to invest in Thales, weapons and Total, energy… Is that socially responsible? Not easy to answer this question because there is a lack of clear instruments to sort out.