Pierre Giannini, Head of Distribution and Investor Relations at RWC Partners is our Sales Manager of the Month. Pierre Giannini is Head of Distribution and Investor Relations at RWC Partners for Spain and France. He previously held similar roles at BlueBay Asset Management LLP, Babson Capital and Daiwa SB Investments. He started his career working at DWS Asset Management and at Saxo Bank. Pierre holds a B.A. in Business Management from University College London and a MSc in International Finance from Skema Business School in France. Pierre is a keen skier, golfer and football player.
What reasons led you to dedicate yourself to the financial sector? What profession path would you have chosen if not this one?
I moved to London at a young age and was drawn to the City – I was attracted by its dynamism and the opportunities it represented. After completing a Master’s in International Finance in France, I was offered a job with a prestigious asset management firm and did not hesitate to accept the offer.
Those who know me well say that I would make a decent cartoonist or illustrator! I take great pleasure in drawing, particularly with my 4 year-old daughter. While I keep this as a hobby, I might one day illustrate children’s books.
You have a lot of experience in Sales in other entities. What makes RWC Partners different?
What makes RWC different are the experience and talents of our investment teams and the variety of our products. For instance this year, most of our investment teams have performed very well both relative to their benchmark and against our peers. This, to me, can only be achieved by driven and highly capable professionals who strive to implement robust and consistent investment ideas, processes and frameworks over various market cycles.
Could you tell me the most difficult aspects of your job and also the most positive one?
It can be a long process going from the first client meeting to winning a new client. In some instances, it can take several years. Naturally, this can be frustrating and it’s essential to remain focused and to build resilience.
As for any sales person, the most positive experience is always winning a new client relationships. The excitement of beginning a new professional relationship and the prospect of cultivating this relationship over the years, in a mutually fruitful way is, I believe, very rewarding, and ultimately the primary goal in what I do.
How was the Covid-10 affected your day-to-day life and your relation with the investors?
Like with everything, there are some positive and more negative effects to this new environment. Working from home has required me to structure my day in the most productive way possible and to carefully plan ahead. Given that I spend less time in airports, train stations and taxis, I make sure this time can be used in spending more time engaging with clients and to understand their needs.
Of course the negative side of all this is the lack of in-person client meetings. It is inherently challenging to win somebody’s trust and to build long-term business relationships with investors and this has been exacerbated by travel restrictions that prevent us from getting in front of clients. Zoom and Teams work well to sustain existing relationships, but you need to be in front of investors in order to build new relationships from scratch.
What do you think will be the next disruptive elements in the asset management industry? Could you highlight any topic on which investors should focus for the long term?
Shorter term the most disruptive event facing the European asset management industry is Brexit. In the next few years as more and more professionals will relocate from the UK to Europe, the main challenges will be to maintain a high level of collaboration and to make sure the information flow remain strong between both sides of the English Channel.
Since several years now, investors are allocating more and more time and resources to finding ways to participate in the transition to the renewable and clean energies. With large public subsidies supporting massive investments in green infrastructure, active ESG-focused strategies will represent an increasingly large portion of institutional and wholesale asset portfolios in the years to come.
Which assets do you think will perform best in Q4’20 considering the current situations? Which assets are performing well under stress scenarios?
The next main event on the agenda are the US elections. With both candidates radically opposed to one another on issues such as fiscal policy or on climate change, markets are bound to be volatile in the coming months.
Asia continues to look to me as the most attractive region both from a long-term growth potential and from a liquidity and valuation viewpoint. This year convertible bonds have performed very well and despite the market stresses and dislocations of the January and March. Thanks to the embedded convexity and their asymmetric return profile, convertibles have helped investors minimize the downside and have also captured the market rebound April-May. Moreover, this year is another record year of new issuances for convertible bonds and although valuations are slightly less attractive than they were a few months ago, convertibles, particularly in Asia, remain very attractive given their positive fundamentals and strong growth potential.
At RWC we are managing the RWC Asia Convertibles Fund. Since its launch in 2011 the Fund has annualised returns in line with the Asian equities (MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index) but with a third of the volatility of the Asia equity markets. To me that is a very compelling risk-return profile and a logical proposition when one wishes to increase its exposure to growth in Asia while limiting the volatility.
Finally, what do you think your professional future will be like in the long term?
In the future, I hope to progress in my career to grow our client base in Spain and France and to one day manage a team of talented professionals to strive to be one of the most highly rated and leading Asset Management firms in Spain.