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Hilko de Brouwer, from Oddo BHF is our Sales Manager of the Month

Hilko de Brouwer, from Oddo BHF is our Sales Manager of the Month

Hilko de Brouwer, from Oddo BHF is our Sales Manager of the Month for April.
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20 APR, 2022

By Constanza Ramos


Hilko de Brouwer is the Global Head of Sales at ODDO BHF. He has more than 20 years of international business development experience - including work in Frankfurt, Zurich, London and Amsterdam - Hilko has a deep understanding of ODDO BHF Asset Management's markets and client needs. He is also a member of the Management Committee. He started his career in 1997, and since then has worked for asset managers such as Blue Sky Asset Management, ABN Amro Bank, and Robeco. he holds a Master degree in Business Economics (MSc), University of Maastricht and he is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

When did you start your career? Did you always want to work in the financial sector?

After my study in Economics in Madrid I was selected for the Global Markets Program at ABN AMRO Bank in the Netherlands. I enjoyed the Finance programs at university so much that I wanted to join an international bank. At the time ABN AMRO Bank was the main institution in the Netherlands. After a 3-month trainee program they surprised me with a posting at the Treasury desk in the dealing room of ABN AMRO Bank in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. What they had not realized is that all trading took place in German, so the learning curve was steep.

As a Global Head of Sales at ODDO BHF Asset Management- how does a normal day at work look like?

The diversity of the work, being able to cross many product lines and international teams, is fantastic. Somehow, you have to adapt to local requirements and way of working so I try to prepare for meetings and calls as good as possible. Having a broad experience counts as it allows for a swifter way of prioritizing and delegating work. I aim to reduce time spend on email as it reduces time available for colleagues, teams, and clients. I work with a priority list that I adapt pending new issues coming up. Every day is a combination of an hour of mail in the morning, then team or product updates for the rest of the morning, business case reviews and prospect contacts in the afternoon, then closing off with another hour of email.

What is the biggest challenge of your role? and what do you enjoy the most?

The biggest challenge is to keep an eye on the long-term and the most important trends without immediately getting lost in the details. You can get very easily distracted by short-term events or emergencies that eat into the available time and reduce the bigger impact. Not micromanaging and delegating to the right people is then crucial. I particularly like to see the small improvements over time resulting in a bigger change. I enjoy to continuously improve and keep learning within such an entrepreneurial and driven organisation as ODDO BHF AM.

In your opinion, what are the key drivers for successful fund distribution?

Matching the right products with client needs and demands. I truly believe that transparency, open-mindedness to new developments and adaptability to client needs are key success factors. You have to stay relevant in terms of offering and trusted as an advisor with the right attitude towards the end client. Brand recognition obviously helps, but this business in the end is about people. Trust in what we offer and how we offer it with support and service is key.

What investment trends do you think will be more interesting during this 2022?

There are four large trends I see and follow closely: the continued drive of sustainability offerings specially with labelled funds, adaptation to a higher interest- and inflation-rate environment requiring flexible solutions, global thematic equity funds whose trends are long term, structural, transformative shifts, independent from business cycles and the retailization of private assets for a broader group of (fund) investors. Innovation is also key such as the use of Artificial Intelligence in some of our investment processes.

Which of the ODDO BHF AM funds could be more interesting under the current state of the markets?

The ODDO BHF Polaris fund range comes to mind with its multi-asset and ESG integrated approach as diversification matters in times of uncertainty. I also structurally believe the area of mid- to small cap funds, thematic equity funds and private assets funds are a core element in portfolio construction: here ODDO BHF AM provides various solutions from mid and small cap funds all the way into private equity.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in the asset management industry?

What I typically advice young trainees or newcomers is to participate in the CFA program and earn their charter. It is the most complete program that upon finalization provides them with instant credibility across the sector globally. The other advice would be to take roles with a 3-year term in mind to forego job-hopping and really invest in knowledge and experience. When time progresses, it is then crucial to find the area that one is truly passionate about. This can be either a generalist or a specialist role.

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