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Charles-Henri Herrmann, Head of Sales France & Benelux Intermediaries at Janus Henderson

Charles-Henri Herrmann, Head of Sales France & Benelux Intermediaries at Janus Henderson

As head of sales for France & Benelux Intermediaries, Charles-Henri is in charge of adapting the global strategy of an international group to the extremely competitive French & Benelux market.
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9 DEC, 2020

By Constanza Ramos


Charles-Henri Herrmann is our Sales Manager of the Month for December. Charles-Henri joined Henderson in 2010 as Senior Sales Manager. He became Head of Sales France, Monaco and Geneva in 2017, and then Head of Sales France & Benelux Intermediaries in 2020. Previously he was responsible for the fund distribution of long-only and alternative funds to institutional, corporate and fund platforms at OFI Asset Management. Charles Henri started his career as Sales Structurer at SGAM Alternative Investment from 2001 to 2006 and then he joined ADI Alternative Investments, a French alternative boutique until 2009 when OFI AM acquire ADI.

1. What led you to dedicate yourself to the financial sector? What would you be doing if you did not find a path in Business?

I entered the world of finance in 2000 through an internship for my undergraduate degree at Paris Dauphine University. I had a three-month stint at the "PSG", not the football club, but the Portfolio Strategic Group of the Banque Internationale à Luxembourg. At the time, the department managed investments on behalf of the bank in private equity, securitisation (ABS/MBS) and hedge funds. Needless to say, I’d never heard those words before. I loved that experience. It was a real catalyst for me, and it gave me the desire to continue, specifically in the alternative space.

This was a game changer as I think if I hadn’t have found this, I would have continued in the family tradition and become an entrepreneur. And it's a universe I still enjoy today. As Head of the French branch at Janus Henderson, I am exploring additional responsibilities such as human resources and people management.

2. Taking a brief look at your trajectory, what would you highlight about your professional career? Any advice for young people trying to be successful in the industry?

Throughout my career, I've discovered a wide variety of asset classes and products in both large and small groups in the sector. After 20 years of financial experience in product sales, I've forged a close and trusting relationship with the clients, which has helped us navigate the different crises of the past two decades together.

It is also an aspect that lets me put the Janus Henderson strategy of placing the client at the heart of every decision into practice.

If I had one word of advice for young people getting started in finance, it would be to make sure your plans fit in with what is going on in finance now. I remember speaking with a class of about 30 students in the Master's programme in Asset Management at Paris Dauphine University about what they wanted to do later on: 60% of them wanted to become portfolio managers, 30% salespeople, and the rest didn't know. Today, there's tremendous demand in our sector for compliance, ESG, and risk-management jobs, while management and sales are much more crowded.

There are fewer and fewer “star” managers or salespeople of the kind that everyone wanted to be from the 1980s until the 2000s. Now you have entire teams working in client services. It's not just performance that counts, but also “how” it's achieved.

3. What do you think will be the next disruptive element in the asset management industry?

ESG – no question! We’re just getting going with it. New regulations are forcing investors and asset managers to revise their models for greater transparency on how ESG criteria are factored in. In addition, managers have to upgrade their traditional management and create innovative new products to meet the growing demand from retail investors for more responsible investments that, most importantly, will meet the major challenges of tomorrow.

At Janus Henderson, we've been managing an SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) strategy for over 29 years: Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity. Since 1991, the management philosophy hasn't changed: don't invest in sectors that have a negative impact, such as weapons, tobacco, or gambling, and do invest in sectors that meet our 10 environmental and societal criteria. (This strategy has been called "Industries of the Future" for some time.) I have to say, even though it's always been a top performer, this strategy didn't see a real surge in terms of assets until two or three years ago, with a tremendous acceleration in the past 18 months.

4. What do you like most about your job? How did you stay motivated throughout the years?

Teamwork is the driving force in my day-to-day motivation. I have been very lucky, since the start of my career, because I've always really liked my co-workers and managers, with whom I've often stayed in touch.

It's the same at Janus Henderson, after more than 10 years, I’m still just as happy at this company. Their human values are important, and they make the client the centre of the action.

Teamwork isn't just for Janus Henderson's employees; it's also true for the investors we interact with. The conversations that fill my days are always a great source of inspiration. On top of that, there’s the challenge of doing my best to meet my clients' needs. It's hard to get bored. It's a sector where monotony doesn't exist.

I am very proud that Janus Henderson just won the Citywire Selector Award for "Best overall service for France & Monaco". That's a wonderful reward for the whole team, not just the sales force.

5. What is the greatest challenge as Head of Sales at Janus Henderson?

Our greatest challenge is adapting the global strategy of an international group to the French & Benelux market. Our local market is extremely competitive and has excellent domestic players. So, we have to adapt the Janus Henderson strategy to our market to offer investors products and strategy with high added value. So, for example, we really push our SRI strategy, Global Sustainable Equity, which is one of the company's legacy strategies, because France and BeNeLux are really advanced in these areas.

The fund has received the major European labels, like the French government label and Belgium's Febelfin. But we've always used a "traditional" benchmark for this strategy, the MSCI World, so we can compare ourselves with all the other international equity funds.

We've shown that we can outperform the benchmark over a short, medium, or long period, and ever since its inception almost 30 years ago*. Our partners trust us with this strategy, which has more than €2 billion in assets under management and already more than $500m for the Luxembourg Sicav launched in 2019.

6. Could you tell us some specifics that come with your role as Head of Sales for France and the Benelux region, what is your main focus in this position?

Our market covers four countries, which speak several languages but are all extremely interconnected. 

My role as Head of Sales France and Benelux Intermediaries is to make sure that our local positioning is right for our clients' needs and also fits with Janus Henderson’s more comprehensive strategy. This works in the other direction, too, where we report on our client's needs so that we can help our managers map out the more comprehensive strategy.

For example, our clients are asking us more and more about low-volatility liquid alternative strategies. Meanwhile, we're managing a Long Short Market neutral strategy: the Janus Henderson Global Equity Market Neutral Fund, which has an excellent track record and more than $350m in assets under management right now.

Likewise, there's been enormous appetite for the credit risk market in recent months. To meet this demand, we've promoted our Global Credit Team platform, which has generated first class performance on European and Global Credit Investment Grade and High Yield funds.

We also have a large thematic range (Listed Property, BioTech, Technology, Healthcare), which is in high demand from investors.

Lastly, we've reported internally on the growing demand for ESG integration and products and. We're working collaboratively as a firm to meet these needs as quickly as possible if these products aren't available.

We regularly work on our product range, we want to be a toolbox for our clients where they can come and take what they need, in full trust and transparency.

And finally, my role is to ensure the quality of the service our entire team provides to our investors every day. I'm really lucky to have a great team that’s highly experienced and where every member is deeply invested in this aspect!

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