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Amundi Alternative Investments

Championing customization
Pictured Michael Hart, Amundi Alternative Investment deputy CEO and head of Business Development

I am still hearing the same complaints,” bemoans Amundi Alternative Investments’ new deputy CEO and head of Business Development, Michael Hart, who THFJ met at the firm’s City of London offices. The grumbles are about client servicing, responsiveness and client reporting – at hedge fund managers – where Hart is well qualified to gauge client sentiment. Over his 11 years as a founding partner of investment consultant bfinance, Hart sat through thousands of presentations and lent his ear to hundreds of pension funds and many sovereign wealth funds. “Many hedge funds that want to be viewed as mainstream have upped their game and become institutional, but most are not at the same level as long only where we rarely hear complaints,” Hart judges, and he reckons long-only managers have an advantage as their more extensive experience has given them more time to hone their skills.

Modular client reporting

But Hart has no sympathy with those who have not raised their game to the requisite level. “Client servicing is the one and only area where you have complete control so there is no excuse for sending out late or incorrect data,” he insists, and goes on to admonish those managers who churn out the same “one-size-fits-all data dump” for all clients. Although some regulators and some consultants are pushing for standardization – through AIFMD leverage calculations or the Open Protocol Enabling Risk Aggregation for instance – Hart maintains that client reporting should be granular enough to offer “a modular level of reporting tailored to the audience and the user.” Hart’s close discourse with pension fund trustees continually recurs in our conversation, and they are a group that require a more accessible format for reporting.

Fortunately Hart has been “pleasantly surprised that Amundi reporting is modular enough to take account of the end user” – and credit for this goes to head of Marketing and Client Servicing, Sophie Dupuy, who has been developing the reporting at Amundi for eight years. In his eight months at Amundi since November 2014, Hart has already ascended a steep learning curve, discovering that internal clients can be very technical and demanding, but reports designed perhaps for French rocket scientists, are not foisted upon different clients who may be content with a bigger-picture level of reporting. Having seen the best and worst of client reporting over his career – which recently included stints at managed account platform Sciens and at Aberdeen Asset Management – Hart has a clear vision of what hedge funds must do to win and retain more business.

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