Aaron Grunwald: Alfi and Ucits turned 30 this year. What do you want “average investors” to know about this milestone?
Denise Voss: The investment fund industry is a significant contributor to the Luxembourg economy, a fact that many in Luxembourg are aware of. What many aren’t aware of, however, is the important role that investment funds, and in particular Ucits funds, play in helping individuals in Luxembourg--and around the world--meet their own short, medium and long term goals, such as buying an apartment or ensuring they will have enough money for retirement. Luxembourg was a first mover in adopting the Ucits legislation for European investment funds--and 30 years later is the second largest investment fund centre in the world, after the United States. As the association of the Luxembourg fund industry, the 30 year history of Alfi has been closely linked to Ucits, although alternative investment strategies are seeing increasing interest from investors and will be an important part of the next 30 years for Alfi and the fund centre.
AG: What was your personal highlight of the year?
DV: On a personal level my daughter’s graduation from lycée and acceptance into university in Boston... however another highlight was the Alfi 30th anniversary event where we dedicated our celebration to financial education in Luxembourg. In fact, for the benefit of individuals, society and the economy, it’s essential to have well-informed citizens who understand the risks and opportunities of investing and who are capable of managing their personal finances. The event brought together representatives from the government, education, finance, business and the media to explore how we can close the financial education gap in Luxembourg. Focusing on the national financial education strategy coordinated by the [Luxembourg financial regulator] CSSF, Alfi declared its commitment to provide financial and technical support for the “Fit for Life” financial education awareness programme in schools, led by Jonk Entrepreneuren. Alfi also unveiled the new version of its investor education website www.understandinginvesting.org. Having an opportunity to bring together the stakeholders in Luxembourg who are passionate about getting out the word about the need for and benefits of financial education was a long-standing personal goal.
AG: Did any cultural or social event in Luxembourg stand out for you?
DV: Susumu Shingu’s “Spaceship” wind and water sculptures at the Mudam are both breathtaking and mesmerizing. A quiet moment in busy times!
AG: Where did you enjoy your best meal of 2018?
DV: In Tokyo and in Melbourne, Australia (Japanese food again).
AG: What’s the biggest item right now on your agenda for 2019?
DV: Sustainable finance is an important priority. Luxembourg is the leading European domicile for sustainable finance investment funds: microfinance, impact investing, climate finance, etc., and, in fact, sustainable finance is one of the pillars of the Luxembourg fund industry, alongside Ucits and alternative investment funds. Alfi--and many other stakeholders in Luxembourg--are actively engaged in contributing to the development of sustainable finance in Europe, including working through the EU Commission’s Action Plan for Sustainable Finance.