Conference Quick Take – ALFI Roadshow in Stockholm

ALFI is in the midst of a roadshow discussing Luxembourg solutions for raising capital in Europe and beyond. Today, I had the distinct privilege of participating on a panel in Stockholm. While I intend on expanding on many of the themes discussed in the conference in a future blog post, I wanted to highlight a few while they are ripe in my mind.

The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI) is taking its Luxembourg Fund Centre message on the road – most recently stopping in Stockholm. European fund industry experts with a variety of professional backgrounds discussed the most recent developments in UCITS, alternative investment funds, and sustainable finance. Here are my highlights:

Connectedness

Denise Voss, Chairman of ALFI, welcomed a packed auditorium with the theme of connectedness. As Brexit creates uncertainty in the financial services sector, teamwork between the industry and regulators is more important than ever. Voss highlighted the importance of financial services regulators engaging with investors, especially when it comes to their needs surrounding delegation. Delegation, which refers to the rules surrounding funds that are managed in the UK but domiciled in another country (most often Luxembourg and Dublin), is a major point of contention in Brexit negotiations.

The Future of Asset Management

It’s no surprise that Brexit dominates European asset management discussions. But what may have an even greater impact – both in the near-term and long-term – is how technology is dramatically re-shaping the landscape. I discussed this topic with fellow panelists in a session titled “Industry drivers: Where is the asset management industry heading?”  One thing became evidently clear in the discussion: asset management firms need to be tech leaders, not tech followers. This is true not only for attracting the best and brightest talent, but for competing (and staying relevant) against new entrants who may be able to challenge the industry status quo (think Amazon, PayPal, and Apple pay).

Sustainable Investing

Another panel centered around sustainable investing: from niche to mainstream. Panelists discussed recent developments in sustainable finance which is a key topic on the European agenda. Retail and institutional trends surround meeting the investor’s needs, which include offering more environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds and solutions. Practical obstacles remain in implementing ESG policies across the industry, such as access to high-quality data. For now, much ESG data is self-reported, so it isn’t audited or independently verified. We explored how sustainable development goals (SDGs) can offer opportunity for asset managers to connect with both new and existing investors.

Follow me on Twitter for more insights from upcoming conferences, including our next stop on the ALFI roadshow in Copenhagen.