‘Doors have closed, but others opened
Following the Corona measures, the third edition of the annual Fund Insiders Forum (FIF), this year went fully digital. Obviously, the Corona pandemic was also discussed at length during the three-day event. But surprisingly, leading speakers Marc Faber, Roelfien Kuijpers, Terry Smith and their colleagues often addressed the opportunities this situation presents.
The Corona crisis has drastically changed our world, and as a result, also the fund market. That is why FIF in 2020 evolved from a physical one-day event at Tour & Taxis to a virtual three-day meeting. Institutional investors, brokers and fund managers could follow, amongst others, interactive webinars and editorial debates.
From 29 September till 1 October, the participants could choose when and which session to join from home or the office. Each FIF afternoon started with a plenary session, with debates and interviews with (inter)national speakers.
Marc Faber opened the event with his vision on today’s and tomorrow’s markets. The wayward Swiss investment analyst, author and entrepreneur did not just talk about the doom and gloom of Corona, but also especially about the new opportunities that have resulted from it. “Doors have closed, but new ones opened – the market opportunities are in those changes.”
In addition, he referred to international politics and the printing of additional money. In his opinion, this has a negative impact on real economic growth and the prosperity of many people. “Particularly youngsters are the victim of this: they now earn less than their parents did when they were the same age.” He also advocated for making the fund market more democratic for smaller investors.
The second FIF day started with an inspiring Q&A with Roelfien Kuijpers, Managing Director and Global ESG Client Officer at DWS. She said that she is an advocate of the EU’s green taxonomy, which “clearly defines which investments can officially be called sustainable from 2021.”
Next, there was a presentation by the CEO & CIO of Fundsmith, Terry Smith, who is sometimes referred to as the British Warren Buffett. During the closing conversation with journalist Peter Van Maldegem, Smith talked about ‘value versus quality’ when investing in shares. “Quality always wins in the long term,” is his firm belief.
The successful digital three-day event was closed with an inspiring debate between moderator Serge Mampaey and five fund specialists: Marnix Arickx (BNP Paribas Asset Management), Yves Ceelen (DPAM), Vincent Juvyns (J.P. Morgan Asset Management), Stacey Notteboom (M&G) and Marco Willner (NN Investment Partners).
They discussed at length the impact of the Corona crisis on the strategic and daily operations of the fund industry: the sudden homeworking of fund managers, and the related challenges in terms of IT infrastructure, managing client relationships – face-to-face and at distance. Their conclusion? Corona has shown that remaining ‘in market’ is more important than trying to time the market.