CEO Q&A with Eve Finn, CEO of LGIM (Managers) Europe Limited

CEO Q&A, Interviews | Thu 15 Oct | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: Eve Finn, CEO of LGIM (Managers) Europe Limited

What are your main priorities and goals in your role? 

I have a threefold role, which makes my job very interesting and varied. 

I am CEO of LGIM (Managers) Europe Limited, our Irish firm that has been created to help drive our growth in Europe. My objectives here are to ensure that we have the right investment solutions for our European clients and the right strong operational and government framework in place to support that growth. 

As a Country Head for Ireland, my main priority is to build a successful presence in the Irish market. LGIM already had a strong local presence with my colleagues Tom O’Gorman, Head of Distribution for Ireland, and Richard Kelly, Head of Irish Client Business.  Since 2018 we have expanded further as a result of our Brexit preparations. Now we have an office in Dublin with now over 20 employees who work across different functions, including investments, risk and compliance. 

I am also responsible for the Brexit planning for LGIM and working tirelessly with my team we have ensured we are ready in all circumstances ahead of the end of the transition period to able to continue to service our European clients. We have strong ambitions in Europe and we want to continue to build on our existing successes to increase our presence. . 

 

What are your biggest challenges as CEO?

There are many! A key one is balancing different stakeholders’ needs at a time when regulations are rising.  Making sure we deliver to our clients, while managing risk and the increasing market volatility is crucial. Looking after our key asset, our people, is an important focus also.

 

How do you keep your team/ staff motivated?

LGIM has a great culture and inclusivity is at its core – so this is a really great foundation to build from. I am lucky to have a great team in Dublin so my aim is to support and empower them.  

We are all working from home since March so been having regular team video calls to catch up on business activity, share information, stay connected and support one another. . 

As LGIM’s culture is focussed on inclusion, diversity and belonging, I am particularly proud that our team in Dublin is balanced when it comes to gender, with over half female team members. The Board of LGIM (Managers) Europe Limited also has four female directors out of a total nine directors.  The team comes from a broad range of disciplines also, bringing diversity of thought.

 

What are the challenges facing the industry going forward?

A significant challenge going forward will be the economic impact of Covid-19. We saw market volatility over the first half of 2020.  Our challenge is to make sure we do our best to safeguard investment outcomes for our clients, in the event of future volatility.

The asset management industry is also a highly regulated industry. Increases in regulatory obligations and scrutiny often follow periods of market volatility.  This will likely pose some challenges for the industry and the hope is that any new regulations, which are created with all good intentions, are balanced, focussed on investor outcomes and avoid unintended consequences for clients

 

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

We are seeing a strong rise in investments based on, or considering, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors and this trend will continue to grow. Increasingly investors have a growing expectation to quantify the societal or environmental contribution of investments and their impact on longer terms returns within their portfolio. 

Take for example, Climate Change. Industries and companies will need to adapt massively if we are to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and meet the Paris Climate Agreement objectives by 2050. Our clients are asking us to engage with companies to ensure they are taking action to tackle climate change effectively because if they fail to do so, their investment returns will also be affected. We are therefore further developing our solutions to address these client requirements.

 

Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

Linked to the ESG point above, the asset management industry, as major asset owners on behalf of our clients, has a key role to play in helping companies and our societies to embrace changes that will have a positive impact on communities and the environment. I would like to see the industry take this opportunity through aligning their stewardship and voting approach with their ESG rhetoric.  LGIM is a strong advocate of active ownership and we seek to effect positive change in the companies and assets in which we invest across governance, environmental and social factors.

 

As an employer are you finding any skill gaps in the market?

Financial services is a high-performing sector in Ireland and has fantastic talent. Brexit has furthered this, with more international companies opening up offices or expanding presence in Ireland. As a result of this demand will continue to increase more breadth and depth of top talent in certain areas such investment management, risk and compliance.

 

How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis?

With the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic, the global financial crisis now seems to have taken place a long time ago! Over the first half of the year, there has been a significant market volatility.  The asset management industry has been resilient and coped well.  For each challenge we face we are stronger as a result.  

 

How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

We have been planning for Brexit since the outcome of the UK vote in 2016 and we are well prepared. Brexit was one driver of the expansion of the Irish office and it provides us a really robust platform for growth as we have strong ambitions in Ireland and the rest of Europe 

 

How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

I like the quote by Maya Angelou that says “success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it”. In our industry, for me that means I’m pleased we’ve been successful if our actions have a positive impact on our clients, our company and team, or on society.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

Be authentic and straightforward in your approach. Focus on delivery and if you prove your ability, career opportunities will generally follow.  Find a company with a culture aligned to that approach and avoid ones with lots of company politics, as it takes time away from delivering successful outcomes for your business.  

I also think it is key to be open to continually learning and taking on new challenges or roles to get a wider perspective and help innovate.

 

What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

Our business has been incredibly resilient in a tough environment caused by the pandemic, and our global total assets under management have risen by 9% to €1.4 trillion.  Irish and European investors have continued to recognise our strong expertise in fixed income and intelligently designed multi-asset and index investment solutions, which are underpinned by our commitment to Responsible Investing/ESG. 

Our teams have been fantastic through extraordinary circumstances and have been really focussed on getting the right outcome for our investors throughout. We have also continued to expand in Europe by opening our first Nordic office in Stockholm and we have strengthened our Benelux team with a senior appointment in the Amsterdam office.

 

What’s next for your company?

We will continue to expand our European footprint and we are launching more solutions that are relevant to our clients in Ireland and the rest of Europe. We are also launching our Climate Impact Pledge imminently. In its fourth year running, the Pledge is our commitment to engaging with companies to address Climate Change. 

The team in Dublin also continues to expand as we are hiring at the moment for a number of roles.

 

Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

We are grateful to have a strong reputation as a leading investment solutions provider in Ireland. The market and our clients are evolving.  We want to work with our clients as they continue to embed ESG within their own portfolios. As a responsible investor, we can help our clients in Ireland and across Europe on this journey.