With a market that is becoming more complex over time, it is sometimes hard to keep the entire value chain of the fund industry in mind--or to even know where to start untangling it. Add to this the fact that people move across bank departments or hail from other horizons to join the fund sector, and you end up with gaps in knowledge on the inside.
This is what Fund Academy, a Swiss company, hopes to fix, through relatively short but thorough training courses, conducted by industry experts for those who are new or who want to gain a deeper understanding of the investment world.
Luxembourg’s fragmented learning environment
The three-day course, which will run for the first time at the start of February, for €2,500 (excluding VAT) promises to broaden the knowledge of employees--of mancos, insurance or depositary banks, among others--or to fast-track new joiners into grasping the fundamentals of investment funds. The 11-day Luxembourg Fund Officer course, which will be launched in September 2023, targets those who want to take on more responsibilities in executive and managerial roles. After exams and “a heavy correction process,” the organisation issues certificates to successful graduates.
You need a much wider knowledge than you used to. To know one topic very well is not enough anymore to satisfy internal and external clients.”
For the academy, it makes sense to develop its activities in Luxembourg, in light of the country’s position as a financial centre. Michael Simard, who has worked in the Luxembourg industry himself, explains: “In Luxembourg, there are certain fund directors that come from the business world, who might not have in-depth knowledge about the fund industry.” However, as the value chain continues to grow more complex and new elements--like ESG--are added into the mix, “you need a much wider knowledge than you used to,” he says. “To know one topic very well is not enough anymore to satisfy internal and external clients.”
Recruiting local experts
What differentiates these courses from existing ones, according to CEO Andreas Waeschle, is that Fund Academy relies on industry experts in established firms, “people who practice their topic every day and therefore have the most updated insight on it.” For the first edition of the fundamentals course, lecturers will come from firms like Capital Group, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, Swisscanto and UBS, the company confirms on its website. “We only pick people who practice in the Luxembourg industry who are specialists in their topics,” and as the Luxembourg market has its own specific rules, bringing in Swiss experts would make little sense, said Simard.
“It’s not a short-sighted approach because it takes quite a while to get to know all the people in the market and to build the foundations of what we want to do. This is important for the quality of our content.
This approach, “which brings the day-to-day of each part of the training to the classes,” as Waeschle puts it, coupled with the relatively small size of the classrooms (15-20 people), allows students to not just exchange on their own concerns with their peers and lecturers but also to build a deeper network within other fund employees.
Though the first iteration of the course was close to fully booked at the time of the interview, the Fund Academy expects to stay in town and offer future opportunities to Luxembourg employees for a while. “It’s not a short-sighted approach because it takes quite a while to get to know all the people in the market and to build the foundations of what we want to do. This is important for the quality of our content,” says Waeschle. “We’re very happy to start in Luxembourg and to work with our partners.”