Dominic Nys is the current head of Northern Europe at ODDO BHF Asset Management, being responsible for the sales and business development activities in the Benelux, Nordics and the UK.
Before joining ODDO BHF AM, Dominic Nys worked for more than 10 years as Head of Business development International for Ethenea and Mainfirst where he had overall sales responsibility for Europe ( ex DACH). Prior to that, he held positions at Lehman Brothers and Dresdner Kleinwort in London. He began his career in 2002 at Toronto Dominion Bank in London. He holds a degree Msc in Applied Economics from the University of Antwerp and Msc in International Banking and Securities from the Henley Business School in Reading.
What made you decide to go into the financial sector? Did you have any other vocation?
I have been interested in investing and the financial markets since a very young age. I always found it fascinating how news impact the markets. It’s a very dynamic sector, always on the move. I didn’t really have a plan B to be honest. I was also fortunate to study in the UK, attending a business school where we had former traders and portfolio managers, teaching us. Classes were very practical, which was a perfect preparation for a career in finance.
How should investors orient their portfolios in this environment?
Because of the low rate environment investors were fundamentally underweighted on fixed income in the last years. With yields picking up now we see an increasing demand for credit solutions, either on the Investment Grade side but even already on the High Yield side. According to our analysis, fixed income yields are becoming more interesting and looking from a an asset allocation perspective there is a clear correlation benefit for investors invested in equities with a historically lower level of volatility. For equities I think innovation is absolutely key. Companies that are governed well, that have a competitive edge in terms of product, service or network could potentially outperform the broader market, especially the ones who are reasonable valued and don’t have too high levels of debts.
How is the relationship with your clients in times of market crisis? How do you manage emotions?
We have to stay close to clients, most of our clients are very rational in their decision making but when markets move fast and aggressive, it is understandable to get more emotional. I think a good salesperson needs to understand his client’s needs, has to know what would be helpful and also anticipate future needs. I think it is absolutely key to be as transparent as possible, communicate well and clear and provide all relevant information to the clients supporting them in the decision making process for their allocations.
Give us an example of a fund that you have held for a long time in your portfolios and why
Our ODDO BHF Polaris fund range offers good long-term earning opportunities even in times of crisis, therefore they are well-suited as building blocks for asset allocation. ODDO BHF Polaris Flexible* for instance actively manages the fund’s equity quota within a range of 25 to 100 percent. This enables the fund management to adjust the equity quota very actively to a volatile market environment. A decisive factor for the investment success is the clear focus on quality stocks. These are companies according to us that have high returns on capital, clearly defined competitive advantages, structurally high growth rates and a reasonable valuation. The portfolio management also looks for companies that could benefit from long-term growth trends as digitalization, new consumer trends or the demographically driven growth in demand for healthcare services.
*This Fund bears a risk of capital loss, past performance is not a reliable indication of future return and is not constant over time.
If you had to define yourself with one word, what would it be and why?
Agile. I am a naturally curious person, I like to learn, that’s also why I love finance so much as we have the ability to learn each day. For example our industry is going through many big changes with regards to sustainability. ESG has become market standard for many of our clients but local interpretation and local implementation varies between countries and as a Sales person we need to understand what is happening so we can be a partner to our clients. More recently on a personal level I have found the whole shift to private assets from a knowledge perspective very interesting and being at ODDO BHF AM which is one of the pioneers in this space is quite exciting.
But learning is nothing if you don’t adapt. Being agile has helped me in my career and personal development. It has given me new perspectives, allowed me to find new solutions, be creative and those are the things that I enjoy very much especially when you are surrounded with a good team of like-minded people.
What are your hobbies?
I very much enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, playing tennis and travelling. The last two years were not easy for travelers so I have a nice list of places I want to visit and I have already booked some exciting trips for the next months.