Fanny Ruighaver is our Sales Manager of the Month. Fanny has worked in asset management for 25 years. She has more than 17 years’ experience in sustainable and impact investing. This includes time working at Triodos Investment Management, Candriam Investors Group and responsAbility Investments. Fanny holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She now leads WHEB’s business development and client relationships in Europe (ex-UK). Fanny looks after institutional and wholesale clients, and wealth managers. She also manages WHEB’s European marketing activities, including PR, social media and events.
1. What reasons led you to dedicate yourself to the financial sector? What career path would you have chosen if not this one?
I was always interested in financial markets and really want to combine this with a client facing role. This is how I started my career as investment advisor at a Dutch private bank. If I was not the financial services industry, I would work in the food & agri sector. Feeding the world in a sustainable manner is one of our biggest challenges today.
2. What sustains your drive within the industry?
The reason I stayed in the financial sector is the rise of sustainable and impact investing. When I learned about SRI investing early 2000, I was so inspired that I decided to dedicate my career towards sustainable investing. It is great to see that sustainable and impact investing is now being embraced by the wider investment industry. I am really impressed by the progress we have made as an industry.
3. What is the most important quality of a Sales Manager?
As a sales manager you need to be a good listener and then be able to translate the wishes and needs from an investor into the best solution. Besides understanding the investor’s needs you also need a level of understanding and ability to know resources and knowledge within your company.
4. What advice would you give young professionals aspiring to build a career in Business Development/Sales?
Find a topic or area you really interested in, then develop your knowledge on the content side and make sure you can work closely together with the client facing team. And even more important, choose for the company where you best fit in terms of culture and people and focus on what you can learn, not what you can earn.
5. What will be your biggest challenge at WHEB Asset Management?
WHEB Asset Management runs a positive impact fund that invests in companies that contribute to the transition to a low carbon and sustainable global economy. Looking at our impact framework, we have a very strict definition on impact and measure positive impact. As the market for impact investing is growing fast and many more players enter the market, the definition of impact investing is becoming less clear. This makes it more complicated and time consuming for our European investors to find the true impact nature of an impact fund.
6. What do you think will be the next disruptive element in the asset management industry?
The EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy will have a massive impact on the asset management industry. The market for sustainable and impact investing is growing immensely and for investors it can be difficult to distinguish authentic impact strategies from ‘green washing’ strategies. The aim of the EU sustainable finance taxonomy is to create a universal framework to label which investments are green or sustainable. As WHEB we believe this is a positive development as it gives clarity to investors and will give more structure and accuracy to the discussion on impact strategies.
7. Could you highlight any topic on which investors should focus on the long term?
WHEB’s focus is on companies whose products and services are enabling the transition to a sustainable and zero carbon economy. This definition covers a wide range of end markets, but always searching for those companies who are helping to provide solutions to the great challenges we face as a society. By being part of the solution and having a positive impact we expect them to see stronger growth trends over the longer term.
Over the more than 15 years that WHEB have been running this strategy, we have consistently found companies which help create more efficient use of resources have done well. There is so much waste build into the way we live today, and so there are multiple opportunities for companies which enable the more careful use of scarce resources and a more circular economy.
8. Which assets do you think will perform best in 2021 considering the current market situations? Which assets are performing well under stress scenarios?
Answering the second question first, 2020 has been a fairly unique stress scenario. We have found that many of the key sustainability themes we invest in, are also good responses to the challenges of a pandemic. Many of our companies in our Resource Efficiency theme, for example, help businesses to be more resilient. Many of the companies in our Safety and Health themes help with hygiene and sanitisation. And of course the Health theme more generally is always defensive but particularly so this year.
2021 we anticipate will see a fairly sharp industrial recovery. But we don’t think all cyclical companies will benefit equally. The increasing shift to more intelligent, efficient and resilient manufacturing will benefit the high-tech solutions providers we invest in. We are also very confident about the “electrification of everything” – not just cars – as the world pivots to more renewable electricity and less use of fossil fuels. We see companies in our Sustainable Transport, Resource Efficiency, and Cleaner Energy themes doing well.