We present you, Renato Guerriero, our Sales Manager of the month, Global Head of Distribution at Candriam. We interviewed Renato about his professional career, the advice he has for career trajectory, and his opinion on Sustainable Investing. Renato started to work at Candriam in 1999 as Head of the Italian Branch.
Taking a brief tour of your working life, what would you highlight from your professional career?
As an individual I would describe myself as a contender. I like environments that foster competition and I am motivated by achieving results. In addition to that, I am a person who enjoys learning and discovering. In my job, I have meaningful exposure to financial professionals across the countries I work in or visit. Broadly speaking, I am proud of having been able to succeed in several business ventures at a very young age. Just to mention one, I was entrusted with the task of leading Distribution in Italy when I was only 27 years old and in all successive endeavours, I have been very often the youngest around the table. This is also the case today within the governing bodies at Candriam. I also believe that one needs to contribute his/her efforts to causes benefitting to the broader society. With passion I have contributed to the European Association of Pension funds (AEIP) I have had the honour to chair for two years and to several Sustainable Investment forums activities. Both pensions and sustainability have a very positive impact on the well-being of many.
What do you think is the benefit of spending the majority of your career at one company, as we can see from your LinkedIn, you have been with Candriam for 20 years. Any negatives?
One of the reasons why I joined Candriam in 1999 was its leadership in sustainable investments, a topic I studied at university. The reason why I have never changed is very much linked to the trust I have always had from my management and the several opportunities to grow within the organisation in a relatively short time span. More globally I have been able to build strong relationships based on mutual trust and respect with colleagues and clients. Candriam is a very multi-cultural organisation with more than 30 nationalities. I will not say much about the negatives as I cannot really compare.
If you had not dedicated yourself to the financial sector, what do you think would be your profession?
I am passionate in languages and most probably an area I could have developed would have been this one. Another option could have been to become an athlete as I love sport in general and my grandfather was chairman of a local Olympic committee. Despite the fact that the other part of the family is made of medical doctors for a few generations I have excluded this option.
What is your market vision for 2020? Which assets could have greater potential for the upcoming investment period?
We started 2020 with a constructive view on equities and for the first three months of the year, we have managed this exposure tactically. In the middle of the Coronavirus burst, we are carefully looking for entry points to reinforce our equity stance, provided our macro scenario remains applicable. We have also put several hedges in place through currencies, gold and options. We have witnessed a strong appetite for ESG and megatrend funds as well as for fixed income products with a positive yield to maturity. At Candriam we also offer several absolute return strategies that are very successful and in demand.
What do you think will be the next disruptive element in the asset management industry?
Our industry is already facing numerous disruptions, from regulation to digital developments to fee pressure and low rates. It is tough to identify the next disruptive element. I would rather focus on the next trend which to me is mergers and acquisitions. This is already happening and will accelerate as a consequence of the disruption we are facing. We have more than 1000 asset managers offering their products in Europe, would you imagine picking your car from a list of so many carmakers?
Could you highlight any issues that investors should focus on in the long term?
The focus should absolutely be on the megatrends that shape our economies and societies. We focus on Climate, Social issues, Urbanisation, Developing markets, Technology and Demography. Investments are for the long run and we cannot ignore these global shifts.
As Head of Distribution, do you have a special focus on Sustainable Investments? Will education, training and raising awareness be in the center of attention in 2020?
I have a large focus on Sustainable Investments and at Candriam we have launched back in 2017 the first free eLearning platform on Sustainable investments called the Candriam Academy. It is available in more than eight countries and numerous languages ranging from English to Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Our academy counts more than 3500 members. We have recently updated the content and got several accreditations from renowned industry associations like EFPA and CFA. We also believe we need to foster financial education and on our internet site, anyone can use “CRIS” our robot performance simulator to test in real-time how their investments could perform in the past or the future. A more sophisticated version is offered to our distribution partners. At Candriam we have also created a Sustainable Investments Institute with the aim to finance social inclusion for young people and research in the field of sustainability. We finance this institute with 10% of our net management fees for our sustainable funds. In a nutshell, we believe we need to have a positive impact on our communities and with these tools, we are moving in the right direction.