Matt is responsible for Eurizon SLJ Capital’s business development efforts across their investment and global research business. Before joining the firm in September 2019, Matt spent 12 years at Royal London Asset Management, where he gained valuable experience in managing strategic partnerships, platform distribution channels as well as looking after key fund selector, consultant and rating agency relationships. Previously he worked at M&G Investments as an investment consultant.
Continue reading below to hear what investment funds his clients have been most interested in recently.
What led you to dedicate yourself to the financial sector? What would you be doing if you did not find a path in Business?
Whilst the financial sector was not my first career choice, it drew me in from day one. My first job in the industry was helping individual retail investors with their pensions and savings. Seeing the impact that proper financial education has on individuals and families was inspiring and a fantastic grounding that has stayed with me. No matter how my roles have changed over the years, my first experiences act as a reminder that we are guardians for individuals, families and their future ambitions.
If I had not found a path in business, I like to think that I would have followed an interest that I have had since I was a child, which is wildlife and conservation.
What do you like most about your job? How do you stay motivated?
Learning something new every day. Diversity of thought and culture are increasingly important, especially within financial services. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who are far more intelligent than I am. Whether it is my colleagues at Eurizon SLJ or clients who are at the top of their game. Being exposed to a diverse set of experiences and perspectives keeps me on my toes.
In your opinion, what are the key drivers for successful fund distribution?
At a base level, ours is a people industry. We are all focused on delivering the right outcomes for our clients – whether they be institutions or individuals. To me, successful distribution starts with three actions. Listen. Evolve. Deliver. If we truly listen to the needs of our clients, evolve with the changing nature of our industry and world and act in a trustworthy and reliable manner then we can deliver the right outcomes.
What is the greatest challenge in your role as Head of Distribution at Eurizon SLJ Capital?
Entering a new market during a global pandemic, and associated lockdowns. Whilst we have managed our Bond Aggregate RMB & Local Emerging Markets Debt strategies for over three years on behalf of our parent, Eurizon Capital, 2021 sees us launch UK domiciled versions. Not an easy feat in such constrained working conditions.
Nevertheless, it has amazed me how quickly we overcame the challenges of not being in the office together and adapted to make things work so well. There is no point lamenting what we don’t have. Far better to accept what we do. As I mentioned above, having colleagues and peers at the top of their game has seen us all pull together.
That is not to say, I am not looking forward to getting back to meeting with clients, colleagues and peers once again.
What investment sectors and funds have clients been particularly interested in, in the early stages of 2021?
China onshore bonds. The opening of this market, in 2017, was a watershed moment for financial markets and arguably one of the most significant economic events in recent history.
China is gaining share of global GDP at an exponential rate. It could overtake Europe by 2030 and the US by 2040. However, thanks to the events of 2020, it is possible that this timeline will be brought forward and we will see China overtake these powers sooner.
The interest in this market has been with us throughout the pandemic and has continued into 2021. Our strategy is one of the largest of its kind outside of China and we are the first to launch a UK domiciled China onshore bond fund. As an asset class, we find it to be in a unique position as it has behaved like a safe-haven asset during times of stress and has delivered emerging market style returns over the last fifteen years. As global indices continue their adoption of China onshore bonds, we anticipate the asset class becoming a larger part of client portfolios.