How many years have you spent in the region?
I have lived in Hong Kong for over three years now but have been visiting the region extensively for nearly 15, for either business or pleasure.
What do you consider to be your hometown?
My roots are in Paris, but Hong Kong definitely feels like home right now.
IT engineering and a master’s in business from Paris Dauphine. Some say I’m a geek!
What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced in your professional life?
For sure the global financial crisis – so much we took for granted was broken and trust was at stake. It was an intense period of protecting our clients, our business, the industry. We threw everything we had at it and I would say that we came out the other side in a much better place, but I will never forget how tough it was. That informed the type of company we built – one that is consultative, diverse and focused on individual client needs instead of flagship products.
What achievement in your job are you most proud of?
Building a team for Natixis in APAC which is relevant, solid, innovative and interactive. Thanks to the quality of people, diversity, culture and skillset we’ve assembled, we’ve just had one of our most successful years, growing in every market we operate in, despite all the headwinds. This really highlights how important and relevant diversity and inclusion is.
What have you learned from the pandemic?
The overriding priority has been taking care of those around me, whether family, friends, and colleagues. Ensuring we have everything we can in place to lower the risks for them is more important than anything. The other lesson is that a lot of travel is unnecessary. Pre-pandemic I was travelling around 70% of my time. Of course, I still need to be close to my teams or clients but let’s embrace the technology which helps us to keep our feet on the ground, in more ways than just literally.
If you could change one thing about the funds industry, what would it be?
Many engrained industry practices need simplifying – buying or selling a fund is just too complicated. And China is showing us that it needn’t be that way, adopting new technology to make the process faster, more transparent and more efficient for investors. Let’s not be afraid to change.
What’s the best investment you’ve made and why?
Despite enjoying spending less time on a plane, I am definitely richer from discovering new places, people, cultures, so the investment has been time and all my senses, making the most of every opportunity to experience, learn and absorb.
I’m torn between French, which is in my blood, and Japanese which couldn’t be more different.
Your house is burning. Your family is safe. You have time to rescue one object. What would it be?
My cat, Eliott, who has been with us for 11 years! In addition to him, all objects or photos that came from my parents and which cannot be replaced.
Fabrice Chemouny, head of Asia Pacific, Natixis Investment Managers
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