Jennifer Boscardin-Ching, is Client Portfolio Manager – Environmental thematic investing at Pictet AM since 2020. Jennifer was formerly a strategy director at Germany-based RWE Renewables and a consultant in the international events and tourism industry, focusing on supply chain sustainability, waste management and ESG reporting.
She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.A. in Environment and Energy Management from Sciences Po Paris and in International and Public Affairs from Columbia University.
When and how did you start your career in the financial industry? Did you have any other vocation?
I started my career in the financial industry joining Pictet Asset Management in 2020 as product specialist within the Thematic Equities team. It was as a “specialist”, because they were looking for someone with experience in environment and clean energy topics, to cover the environmental equity strategies. This happened to fit very well with my background, given I studied Environmental and Energy Policy, and afterwards worked as a strategy manager at a global power utility headquartered in Germany, managing the renewable energy business development strategy in North America.
After working several years in the energy industry, I wanted to gain more experience in the financial industry, specifically in environmental finance and investing, so the opportunity at Pictet seemed like a great fit!
How does a normal day at your role at Pictet AM looks like?
No two days would look exactly the same. However, typically, I might start with a meeting with the investment team to discuss certain stocks or recent market insights. Then I might have a few client calls during the day –how many in a day varies, so this can typically range from one to three or four-. In between client meetings, I might sit and do some research/reading on a new development in the environmental space, whether in terms of policy or perhaps an interesting company, or I might need to prepare for a speaking engagement at a panel the following day.
Then, of course, all this is interspersed with managing internal projects, responding to client questions and requests and some other tasks, such as writing performance commentaries and updates, attending to questions from requests for proposals and others.
What is the most interesting part of your role? What do you enjoy the most?
I really like how my role is multi-faceted. On one hand, I like the depth that my job requires, being part of the investment team, where I can participate in portfolio management and company fundamental analysis discussions. Depth also includes analysing and writing up key insights from the latest environmental policy, scientific or technology developments and how it could impact our strategies.
On the other hand, I also really enjoy the creative element when comes to marketing and putting out content for thought leadership. Finally my external facing role also allows me to engage directly with clients and participate in panel discussions and conferences, which I enjoy immensely, as someone who really enjoys public speaking and human interactions. Last but not least, it is also important to mention that the environmental space is today very dynamic and fast-moving, thus it never gets boring!
In what are your clients more interested in at the moment?
From my perspective, over the past years there has definitely been a significant increase in interest around environmental investment opportunities –particularly in the topics of clean energy transition, circular economy and biodiversity-. This interest has already been very strong in Europe, but I have experienced a massive growth in interest from clients all around the world, from North and South America to the Middle East and Asia.
I think this comes from more and more investors realizing that addressing environmental challenges, such as climate change and resource depletion, is going to be one of the main themes for global societies this decade and further –thus opening up many investment opportunities-.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in the asset management industry?
The types of careers and roles offered in the asset management industry are very broad –so there is always something for everyone, ranging from specialists to generalists, from risk management and quantitative analysis to client relationship management-. As such, my advice would be to look for a role that can match as closely as possible the following criteria, because this is where I think you can be happiest and feel the most fulfilled in your career: a role that involves either topics or tasks that you enjoy or are passionate about, given this is something you will be facing every day; the skillsets required are a good match for your personality and strengths, so that you can excel in what you do.
Also, a role that still provides sufficient opportunities to continue developing and learning, whether it is in a new skillset or a new subject area, so that your career path does not remain stagnant. I recognize this is not always easy. It requires knowing yourself very well and this may take some time to figure out!