Fixed Income  

Firing Line: Christian Pellis

Christian Pellis, global head of external distribution at French fund manager, Amundi Asset Management and the ultimate European, is worried about the forthcoming UK referendum on European membership.

A Dutch national, now based in Paris after working in Luxembourg and Switzerland, Mr Pellis said: “It would not be good if we want to do business in the UK, if there is a vote to leave Europe. It will become more complicated, by definition.

“Everything will be questioned, everything will be broken down. It’s not good for doing business and the UK will become isolated.” Passporting and the use of Ucits [Undertakings for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities] is likely to be heavily affected in the event of a Brexit, he added.

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Amundi is one of the largest fund managers in the world, and the largest in Europe. It has E950bn (£739bn) of assets under management, which is split evenly between retail and institutional.

In the first nine months of its financial year, flows into its products amounted to E66bn, with E34bn in retail and the balance, slightly less, in institutional.

It is the child of a joint venture between Credit Agricole and Société Générale, with the former holding 80 per cent and the latter 20 per cent. Created six years ago, the company went public in 2015 when Société Générale wanted to sell out of the business, and it floated its stake on the stock exchange.

While Amundi is big in France, Mr Pellis wants to branch out further into the UK.

He said: “If you talk about the Greek crisis, we can talk about it as a European asset manager, or look at it from a different perspective. We have a different view about how the world is developing – it’s a USP which not many people have.

“The other USP is that the French are very good technicians. We might have more difficulties explaining to the end investor because they’re complicated solutions, but they do work in certain circumstances.”

He wants to expand the company in the UK, because he sees it as an accessible market.

Mr Pellis said: “The UK is a market that is not bank driven. If you compare it to the rest of Europe, there, the clients are owned by the banks. In the UK, there is easier access to clients. The UK market is open architecture, and one of the largest markets in the European space.

“On top of this, the UK market is the hub for cross-border players – larger distributors will run out of London.”

Admitting that he is come a little late to the UK market, he plans to go “step by step”, pitching his company’s products to discretionary managers, multi-managers and wealth managers.