A Frenchman, who grew up in Africa, fronting the investment activities of a Swiss private bank, having honed his expertise in the US and the Middle East. Stéphane Monier, is every bit the distinguished, worldly traveller you expect Lombard Odier would choose to front its global private banking offering, that has existed in one form or another since 1796.
Monier originally joined Lombard Odier Investment Managers in 2009 as head of fixed income and currencies, before perking the interest of the European arm of its private bank a few years later with his work on market capitalisation benchmarks. He took on his current role as global head of investments in September 2015.
His investment philosophy had been brewing for some time. It was his first professional role was as a fixed income portfolio manager at JP Morgan Investment Management that Monier attributes as giving him 80% of the skills he uses today. Also beneficial was his subsequent eight years as head of fixed income and currency at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), before he fully developed his ideas at Lombard Odier.
“I felt the crazy thing with fixed income was that benchmarks are on a market capitalisation basis, and you are forced to invest in the most indebted issuers,” he explains.
“I developed a concept and benchmarks which give a bigger weight to those that have the most chance of replaying their debt as opposed to the biggest debt outstanding. It was seven years ago that we developed that range of products and we now have billions of dollars under management.
“As it is a prudent approach to investing we are more confident to put money back to work in a framework which makes sense on fundamentals – it’s reassuring for the investors.”
Moving over from the asset management arm, Monier also recognised the very real challenges that keep private banks on their toes and ahead of the competition.
“Historically the private bank had been very focused on the quality of the service that it provides to clients – not necessarily the performance,” he explains.