nextgen finance #1

The generation gap dialogue

As part of its commitment to make Luxembourg the most attractive international investment fund centre and to bring young professionals closer to, and get them more involved in the investment fund community, the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (Alfi) has launched NextGen Finance podcast series. These dialogues offer insights from an experienced financial services professional and someone at the early stages of their career.

In this first episode, Valeria Merkel, partner asset management with KPMG, and Thibaud Gonne, associate relationship manager at Banque de Luxembourg, talk about differences and similarities between the generations in the Luxembourg finance industry.

Giving the next generation a voice and entrusting them to try new things, and even fail, is one of the big challenges but also one of the major opportunities the financial services profession currently faces. That’s the conclusion from a fascinating discussion between Valeria Merkel and Thibaud Gonne in the first episode of the new podcast from the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (Alfi).

Looking back at her 20-year career with KPMG, Valeria Merkel, who has been chair of ALfi’s NextGen committee for the past two years, says that although she was sometimes frustrated at what she saw as the slow pace of decision making and when her more impulsive suggestions were rejected. “Retrospectively, I understand it better. I was lacking the big picture,” she explains.

The sheer size of the industry, its diversity, and the evolving landscape create a huge amount of possibilities and opportunities.

 Thibaud Gonne Associate Relationship Manager Banque de Luxembourg

Thibaud Gonne, who started his career at KPMG but after less than a year at the Big Four firm took up his current position at Banque de Luxembourg, agrees that maturing and growing is part of being able to see the bigger picture. “You have to earn that trust. And you also have to take on the responsibility that you are given step by step.”

One of the major differences that Valeria sees between her generation when first starting out and the current NextGen is the search for a sense of purpose. “It's not that we were not looking for the purpose at that time. It was enough sometimes to get the job done because you felt responsible for the team, and it was a team effort.”

If we look at the next generation, with their unrestrained energy and courage, their boundless will to really follow their purpose and to shape their future…this is the booster that the financial industry needs

 Valeria Merket Partner Asset Management KPMG Luxembourg