Priscilla Hüe and William Guilloux of Cedrus & Partners see Luxembourg as a bridge between the world’s main financial centres. Photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

Priscilla Hüe and William Guilloux of Cedrus & Partners see Luxembourg as a bridge between the world’s main financial centres. Photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

The French investment advisory firm Cedrus & Partners offers its services mainly in the unlisted sector to long-term investors, institutions, family offices and private banks.

Founded in 2010 in France, the company is now opening a branch in Luxembourg, headed by Priscilla Hüe, who has been appointed country head, switching from the La Française group, which she joined in 2013 as head of sales.

Cedrus & Partners is not a management company. “We are an investment advisory firm,” says William Guilloux, partner, head of investment. “Our job is to help long-term investors with all their investment issues”, a “fairly broad” scope that includes institutional investors (pension funds, mutual funds, etc.), family offices, associations and foundations, “non-profit organisations with long-term investment needs” and companies “that need to work on their equity, reserves or cash flow.”

“Our role is to support our clients seeking returns on unlisted markets--real estate, infrastructure financing, private equity, private debt and impact investing--and on private markets and to find them the right investment vehicles,” states Guilloux. This is done through four business lines.

Four business lines

First of all, global advisory, “an activity that covers portfolio auditing, definition of investment objectives and constraints, and then the deployment of assets.”

The second business line is financial engineering. “We are able to create tailor-made products for our clients in partnership with management companies or private equity funds.”

The third business line is financing. “We will seek out financing solutions for our clients who need them from banks or private players likely to help them create leverage or take advantage of the low interest rate environment to increase the return on their capital.”

The fourth line of business is tailor-made advice, “for investors who want to invest in infrastructure, impact investing--a subject we are very sensitive to and which is part of our DNA--or China. We are able to respond to the specific needs of investors on well-defined missions and on well-defined perimeters.”

Long-term credo

Cedrus & Partners’ activity is linked to the structural fall in interest rates, “which means that for an investor today, it is increasingly difficult to find a return. The only way to do this is either to take more risk--and therefore acknowledge the fact that you are distorting your investor profile--or to explore new territories, either more exotic or more technical, such as private markets or the alternative sector. We give our clients the benefit of our ability to be a pioneer in certain areas where it is not easy for them to invest on their own.”

Cedrus & Partners’ expertise is long-term. “Our investors are very long-term investors. This means that we are not involved in short-term, speculative or arbitrage strategies. Our job is really to accompany our clients. The corollary of being a long-term investor is that we are part of what we call useful finance, which helps the real economy. This allows us to give meaning to our clients’ investments, to get them to invest in issues that are important to them and that can be relevant to their social purpose. With an acceptable risk/return ratio in a low interest rate environment. And the more we anchor ourselves in the real economy, the more secure the investments are.”

Time for internationalisation

The firm began its internationalisation three years ago by opening an office in Madrid. “Spain was a conclusive test for us in terms of growth. And it allowed us to see that the problems of French investors are shared by many investors. Today, our ambition is to develop on a European scale and to do so, we want to open a branch office in each country headed by an expert in the local market.” Starting with Luxembourg, which Guilloux sees as a gateway between the world’s main financial centres, “opening the doors to an international clientele in the heart of Europe.”

Cedrus & Partners is regulated in France by Orias (the registration organisation for insurance, banking and finance intermediaries, an association under the supervision of the French Treasury) as a financial investment advisor (CIF) and by the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR) as an investment services provider (PSI). The firm is also registered as a branch in the grand duchy with the Luxembourg Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF).

The firm has 31 employees in three countries--France, Spain and the grand duchy--and supports 150 clients with a total of €17bn in assets.