An interview with Jeremy Genin of Monaco Asset Management

The IUM Finance Society’s reporting representatives Thomas Peters (Bachelor in Business Administration) and Andrea Aguirre (Master of Science in Finance) interviewed Jeremy Genin, Head of Global Investments & Impact Investing at Monaco Asset Management on the 5th of May 2022 with ten questions based on a variety of topics concerning asset management. Using his expert industry knowledge and experience, he answered IUMFS' questions, giving us an insight into the industry.


Monaco Asset Management is the largest independent asset management firm in the principality of Monaco, managing around five billion dollars’ worth of client assets, while only being a firm of thirty people.

 

Our first question to Mr Genin was about the allure and what he believed it was about working in the asset management industry. Stating that asset management is more of a broad term as there are many asset managers, ranging from those closer to hedge fund operations and others closer to wealth management. There was still an overall attraction, stating that if you like numbers, markets and most importantly, a challenge, then the asset management industry could be a viable career path for someone aspiring to include these elements. Someone looking to work in finance while having commercial and social exposure should look to work toward asset management. However, looking at a track of hedge fund management, you rarely see the client and are rarely involved in social interactions, which is worth noting if the ‘social’ aspect is pivotal to your interest in the asset management industry. Whereas sales teams and investment managers at private banks will look to mainly focus on clients, proving a valid alternative.


We went on to ask about the Monaco Asset Management client base focus, whether it was only built up of high-net-worth individuals or if smaller projects could be accepted. Mr Genin stated that the firm had a great mix of clientele and that everybody was the focus, with clients ranging from large institutions to high-net-worth customers and families, and that their client base is split evenly between the three. There were crucial connotations around adaptation, being able to adapt to different client needs, which is something that Monaco asset management feels they can offer, explaining their reasoning behind valuing every project because “what you do for one, you do for everybody”, in the words of Mr Genin.


As well as talking about the asset management industry, we discussed current events that could influence the daily business of Monaco Asset Management; in our third question case, it was inflation. Mr Genin was questioned about how the current aggressive inflation rates affected confidence in the market. “Global problem” were his words of choice when answering, stating that their impact has resulted in global markets being down 10-12% for the year, with some areas more than others. Another problem behind the rates is that some of us have not seen inflation for ten to fifteen years and that many people tend to resort to their short-term tendencies. For example, in the last ten years in the market, buying dips seemed the most prominent strategy and most definitely the best. However, this current inflationary climate could cancel out this strategy, with a new strategy possibly selling the rally. The main point here is that we need to adapt to different situations. Considering that current confidence in the market is relatively low, a change in strategy could be warranted when considering inflation.

Monaco Asset Management is Monaco based, which intrigued us as to whether there were benefits of being based in the principality compared to other significant European financial hubs. From a corporate and tax perspective, Mr Genin saw benefits and the environment, having solid institutions in place and being a safe and stable hub to manage billions of dollars of client money, as seen through the principality’s resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic. In the current era of information technology, operating in Monaco has been beneficial in finance and markets where gathering information is essential. Sometimes being in Monaco can help shut out the noise, but sometimes this can act as a detractor as you are not in the mix as much as big hubs like London.


Circling back to current times, cryptocurrency seems to be causing quite a buzz in today’s financial community, so we were interested to see if they were becoming more desired by clients to be included in a diverse portfolio. The short answer is yes; however, there is a generational divide; with the asset management industry mostly being made up of those in older generations, their opinions of it may sway in a different direction in comparison to someone younger in the industry. Even though this may be, the trend remains there, and in the last two to three years, there has been an increase in demand for digital assets exposure. It is still a niche and represented by a minority; however, there will most likely be growth in the coming years. The challenge with this is to decide how to go around tackling crypto, as traditional banking has had the last century to develop in a very professional and robust manner, crypto not so much. The conclusion on crypto was that there is a definite buzz, but a buzz that will last for quite a while.


We were curious to see if the current macro-trend of increased use of tech and software would influence analysts’ opinions and whether they have started to rely more on tech to produce them or not. This has been going on for quite a while as a general trend. However, considering Monaco Asset Management solely, they have been very analytical for a while now and even have a system that is entirely quantitively based. Also, AI and tech are growing exponentially in investment banking partly due to people having more data. Although this proves a great utility, Monaco asset management still uses platforms such as Excel as they are proven formats to store data. It is well-known that there will be increased use of tech and AI in every industry in the future, not just finance. Therefore, we must pay close attention to its advancements to ensure that it is being well-utilised.


Lastly, we asked Mr Genin about there being a possible golden rule that should be known to anyone interested in asset management. After stating that there could be many answers to such a question, Mr Genin circled back to the trait of trust. If a client is using your service, they trust you to bring results. Clients can very easily switch the firm they use, so it is vital to gain the trust of every client to ensure that they remain signed with the firm in the long term. There are many stages to trust; first, you have to gain it, and then, more importantly, and arguably more of a challenge, you have to maintain that trust.



To conclude, we would firstly like to thank Mr. Jeremy Genin from Monaco Asset Management for talking to us about the asset management industry and what it is like work in the principality. Some invaluable information that will hopefully give an insight to the students of the International University of Monaco about a potential career path in finance based in the principality.


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