Natixis Investment Managers

«We are working on further interesting thematic investment solutions»

Mr. Paul, how did you and your team manage together the crisis in home office?
It was a new experience for us and our clients at the beginning of the first wave and the lockdown in March last year. The contact with our clients was hardly affected as we had already made the technical preparations, so all our employees were able to work from home without facing problems with their laptops and the VPN connection. Since most of the clients have also quickly switched to home office and everyone got used to the new situation including home schooling, etc., it led to interesting and sometimes funny conversations and video calls.
That March, a new employee started working for us, who was forced to work from home after only two weeks in the office. The induction phase was correspondingly demanding because she only had virtual contact with us, but it was managed well. Of course, the personal contact is missing, and we are looking forward to the further easing.
Natixis is one of the big names with an affiliate structure. So, you must keep several balls in the air at the same time. How did that work in day-to-day business?
As a global company with more than 20 affiliates, I prefer to call them boutiques, on different continents and differently affected by the pandemic, it was a new and not always easy situation for everyone, but we managed to always stay in touch and overcome these challenges together with and for our clients. Our advanced technology and our business continuity plan certainly helped us.
Which of your investment solutions have attracted the most interest in recent months?
The trend and the need for sustainable and impact investment solutions (ESG) are obvious and have accounted 80 percent of investments. This megatrend has now reached all investor groups and there is a huge need to better understand this asset class and as well for consistent ratings. Innovative investment solutions that have a proven impact on key issues are in high demand.

Will it stay like this for a longer time or do you expect a rotation into other approaches?
This trend has just begun and intensified during the Corona pandemic. The desire to invest capital in a sustainable way has taken the financial world in new directions and the impact is becoming increasingly important. In some asset classes there are already good investment solutions, in others only beginnings, so I assume that this is a megatrend that will determine events for some time.
Regarding «thematic investing»: can you imagine further themes for new funds?
Two good examples of this «young asset class» are «safety» and «subscription economy». With the hacker attacks on the most important pipeline in the USA or the exploding subscriber numbers of various service providers and providers, new trends have emerged that offer innovative investment solutions. I am not giving too much away when I tell you that we are working on further interesting thematic investment solutions, which you will hear about later this year.
This is one of the reasons why I like my job so much - to build investment solutions, I like to call them bridges, between the opportunities of the market and the needs of investors.
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«We are working on further interesting thematic investment solutions»

Interview with Fundplat

About the person
As a boy, Timo H. Paul dreamed of becoming a truck driver for a big US truck. But during his time at school and univer­sity, he learned that other industries also offered prospects. He wanted to fly high and so he decided to become a commercial pilot. After some years, Mr. Paul switched to the financial industry, where he has now been working for more than 20 years (15 years at Credit Suisse and UBS). Since 2016, Timo H. Paul has been respon­sible for the Zurich office of Natixis Investment Managers.