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Gildas Le Treut, ABN AMRO

ABN AMRO Clearing puts finishing touches to Amsterdam Investor Forum 2017


The implications of Brexit will be just one of several key topics to be discussed at next year’s sixth edition of ABN AMRO Clearing’s annual Amsterdam Investor Forum, to be held on the 7 and 8 March, 2017. 

“The Forum will be taking place just a few weeks before the UK Government plans to trigger Article 50 to begin the process of formally leaving the European Union so it will be an interesting period,” comments Gildas Le Treut (pictured), Global Director Prime, ABN AMRO Clearing. 

The most recent Forum, hosted at the Dutch bank’s headquarters on 17 February 2016, was the biggest it had produced, with approximately 300 attendees, of whom 42 per cent were institutional investors and FoHFs, 40 per cent were hedge fund managers, and 18 per cent were specialists including lawyers, consultants, and other service providers that are part of ABN AMRO Clearing’s network. 

“We ended up with 300 registrations even though the auditorium can only hold 255. It was a great success and we were very pleased. We did think about moving the event into a bigger venue but people go to many events at hotels. I like the fact that we get to host it in our headquarters. For ABN AMRO that is important. Also, we would rather keep the event limited in terms of registration numbers and have quality rather than quantity people in attendance,” outlines Le Treut.

Alongside Brexit: The new reality for investment managers, next year’s Forum will cover issues including the new macro landscape, artificial intelligence, and the future of the asset management industry. What makes the Forum so popular is the amount of active discussion and interaction between delegates and panelists, both during chaired sessions and session breaks. 

This gives fund managers and investors the opportunity to network and build relationships in a constructive way. 

“It has been a challenging year and a tough period for the hedge fund industry,” says Le Treut, discussing the event framework. “If you look at the macroeconomics of political shifts such as the Brexit vote and now the Trump presidential victory this will affect the fund industry: what will be the effect of the Trump victory on regulation, for example? Will there be a change in regulation? With respect to Brexit, what is the current effect it is having on the euro and what might be the future effect? 

“This is what the Forum is all about; sharing specialist views on how these issues are impacting the alternative funds industry. We will have the likes of AIMA and various regulators on panels sharing their views.”

Le Treut believes that part of the reason for the Forum’s appeal within the alternatives industry is precisely because there is a real opportunity to do quality networking. It is also helped by the fact that there is a genuinely informal atmosphere, which helps people relax and speak more candidly with their peers.

“We cover detailed industry topics and I do believe the quality of the panels is high. People like to come and interact with the panelists throughout the day. The fact that it is in early 2017 means people can share their views on the previous year and on new trends that are likely to emerge for the year ahead,” says Le Treut.

Within the hedge fund industry in particular, poor performance has led to continued fee pressure from investors. Investors do not want to pay for beta, they want demonstrable alpha. This is leading to new trends in the market, new ways to harvest risk premia, new developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning strategies. 

“We will touch upon artificial intelligence in the Forum. Is it just marketing, for example? Are managers just using the term in their marketing because it sounds good? There is always a man behind the model. You always need a discretionary element so I am expecting an interesting debate on this issue,” comments Le Treut. He adds:

“We always want a seasoned expert speaking at the Forum and, importantly, someone completely outside the industry. Next March we will have Oliver Rees delivering a keynote speech (http://www.oliverrees.co.uk/tag/about/). Oliver is a Cambridge Psychology graduate and one of the most innovative people in cybersecurity. By combining psychology with cybersecurity, he is changing the landscape.”

One central feature of the Forum that always attracts attention is the ‘AIF Factor’. This gives five hedge fund managers three minutes to pitch to a panel of judges why their fund should be considered by investors. London-based Devet Capital, a systematic market neutral strategy, was the winner back in February.

The intended aim of each Amsterdam Investor Forum is to encourage contrarian views to be shared and challenged. No single panel is ever in broad agreement.  

“This is how we construct the panels, by having different points of view and a lot of debate with the audience. That is part of the DNA of the Forum; the interaction with the audience and strong views being shared among industry experts. 

“This is not a capital introduction event. It’s a networking event of industry specialists and we want this industry to grow and for people to build closer relationships,” concludes Le Treut. 

To find out more about ABN AMRO Clearing’s Amsterdam Investor Forum and how to register, please click on the following link: https://insights.abnamroclearing.com 

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