Interview with Bernard De Wit
Bernard de Wit, head of the support and control division
We offer further enhanced customer benefits
What is your overall assessment of the post-merger integration process?
At the end of 2018, all our entities were fully integrated, from a legal, operational and IT standpoint, with the exception of our US subsidiaries. The merger was not an end in itself, but one of the means to implementing a more global strategy: to enable all the Group’s entities – and their clients – to benefit from Amundi’s global capabilities. The integration of Pioneer Investments has increased our critical size, thus providing us with increased bargaining power with our market counterparts and many of our suppliers. It also gave birth to a new organisation, with integrated business lines, in order to ensure the sharing of expertise and to increase our investment capabilities, while helping local entities better serve their clients. The merger thus enhances the benefit we offer our clients: a richer offering, with more advantageous conditions – the critical mass effect – and improved overall service quality. We provide more expertise and more security – thanks to the integration of our service lines – and more customisation, thanks to our reinforced local presence.
2018 saw a downturn in the market environment. How has this impacted the Support and Control division?
The first consequence of the downturn is scarcer market liquidity. So managing liquidity has become even more crucial. Amundi has tools for monitoring liquidity and our regular investment management rules enable us to withstand a possible crisis. Additional measures could also been taken, in order to adapt our response to the level of market deterioration. They all aim at anticipating, as much as can be done, a potential liquidity shortage by adjusting certain investment modes, and at ensuring fair treatment of all those who hold Amundi-managed assets. We will expand our array of mitigating measures in 2019, and will be able to intervene at several levels: we can temporarily adjust the way we calculate the net asset value of UCITS* funds – through a swing pricing* scheme – so it takes a liquidity premium into account, or implement redemption gates*, in order to provide our clients with the best disinvestment conditions. With all of these mechanisms, we have the same objective: to protect our clients’ interests as well as their assets.
What will primarily be at stake in 2019?
Once again, Amundi will have to demonstrate its ability to make the best of regulatory changes. With the gradual implementation of MiFID II* and PRIPs*, we will have the opportunity to show the added value of our investment solutions, in terms of both price and associated services for our distribution channels. Internationalisation is another challenge. While keeping our French roots, we must be able to adapt our organisation, our culture and our governance to our new size and scope.
“With the merger, all Group entities – and their clients – can now benefit from Amundi’s global capabilities.” Bernard De Wit