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Martina Alvarez, Director of Sales, Iberia at Janus Henderson Investors

Martina Alvarez, Director of Sales, Iberia at Janus Henderson Investors

Martina Alvarez is our Sales Manager of the month. She is currently Director of Sales Iberia at Janus Henderson Investors.
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19 AUG, 2020

By Constanza Ramos


Martina Alvarez is our Sales Manager of the month. She is currently Director of Sales Iberia at Janus Henderson Investors. Martina worked for Fidelity International as a Sales Director - Spain for 9 years before joining her current position, which she started in 2018.

Martina Alvarez

1. What reasons led you to dedicate yourself to the financial sector? What would you have chosen if not this one?

Back in 2000, I was fortunate to get a summer internship in a European bank. I was amazed by the professionals I met there: their intellectual curiosity, ability to adapt to continuously changing environments, commitment and willingness to teach. I thought it would be a great place to start and develop my career. Twenty years later, I still believe it is.

If I was not in this industry, I would love to go into a welfare and social profession: it would be really fulfilling to be able to give back to society.

Martina Alvarez
Martina Alvarez

2. Taking a brief look at your working life, what would you highlight about your professional career?

I have to say the highlight of my professional career is the people that I have worked with. I am extremely thankful for the support I have received from colleagues and managers that have encouraged me in some of the choices I have made in my career. Sometimes you need a little push to have the courage to take on new roles or responsibilities. Every position I have held has made me the person and the professional I am today, and this is thanks to all the people I have collaborated with.

3. Could you tell us the most difficult aspects of your job and also the most positive one?

Having lived through a few crises and being part of an actively moving and demanding industry, it is never easy to see people leaving, whether it is a colleague or a client.

The beauty of our industry is the human capital and restless development. We need to embrace change and being able to do so with people that care is a luxury.

4. From your entire professional career, do you remember a particularly difficult year or stage? How has your adaptation been after the COVID crisis?

The 2001 and Global Financial Crisis were strange periods given aggressive restructuring plans. We quickly learnt to do more with less and adapt resources efficiently.

The COVID crisis has been very different to the previous ones. The immediate and unprecedented support from Central Banks has supported financial markets and the demand for mutual funds.

The way we perform our roles has adapted and we hold numerous virtual meetings and webinars. I do of course miss being able to meet with clients and prospects but I have been really impressed with the way we have continued to collaborate and work effectively with colleagues and clients virtually.

5. Could you highlight any topic on which investors should focus for the long term?

In Europe, we have an ageing population: we are living longer and can no longer rely exclusively on public pensions. This means we need to prepare for the future.

With profoundly low interest rates, investors should not only increase their savings but also extend their investment horizons if they want to meet their financial goals.

6. Recently Janus Henderson Investors launch an Sustainable Equity Strategy. How important is active management to ESG investing?

We have been managing our Global Sustainable Equity strategy since 1991, an almost 30 year track-record. Following the demand from Continental European investors, we launched a Luxemburg SICAV vehicle last year. The demand was clearly there; today we have c.$400 million in assets in this vehicle.

Active management is a must-have in ESG investing. I would highlight two main reasons:

Firstly, not all companies and industries contribute to making a more sustainable world. As an active manager, we invest in companies and themes that have a positive impact on the environment and society and aim at being on the right side of disruption. Similarly, we avoid the companies that are on the wrong side of the transition. For example, we have a low carbon goal. We believe this approach will provide clients with a persistent return source, deliver future compound growth and help mitigate downside risk.

Secondly, engagement is key. Engagement is an important aspect of our investment approach and of how we think about investing with positive impact. Our engagement philosophy is based on partnership and collaboration. This is continuously evolving too. For example, recently, we have also been involved in the set up and launch of a new collaborative engagement initiative focused on decarbonisation called NZC10. At year end, over 10% of the portfolio was invested in companies that either are, or will be, net zero carbon by 2030.

7. Which Janus Henderson Investors funds can best fit in the current market environment?

Both the FED and the ECB have been providing support to financial markets. Hence, we continue to see demand for credit, both investment grade and high yield. Now, active management is key in this asset class: a lot of value can be added in the primary market and it is key to consider fundamentals in an uncertain economic environment. The team that manages the Janus Henderson Euro Corporate Bond Fund and Janus Henderson Global High Yield has a proven track-record in different market environments.

On the equity side, we continue to see appetite for sector and thematic funds. Companies that are being disruptive will see their earnings being more resilient to an economic backdrop. We see many opportunities within the Healthcare and Technology sectors. Our teams of specialists have been managing the Janus Henderson Global Life Sciences Fund, Janus Henderson Global Technology Leaders and Janus Henderson Global Technology and Innovations fund for nearly 30 years.

8. What do you think will be the next disruptive elements in the asset management industry?

Big Data will impact all industries. The amount of data we produce is accelerating. The asset management industry will be no different. More data will be available to active managers. The disruptive element will be in how to discriminate noise data and how to decode trends and act upon them. All managers will have access to this data; but can all of them take advantage of it to make their investment decisions? Having the right human capital and systems will be crucial.

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