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Understand the key pillars of sustainable investing

Franck de Nazelle gave a guest speaker talk about ESG in asset management at EDHEC. Lisa Kropacek is one of MSc in Global & Sustainable current students. She shares her feedback on the latest guest speaker session with Franck de Nazelle, Alumnus and seasoned asset management professional.

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15 Apr 2021
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What do you like about the MSc’s guest speaker talks?

For me, the guest talks provide an incredibly valuable element to the practice-oriented MSc in Global & Sustainable Business. Being able to learn alongside industry-leading experts, such as Franck de Nazelle, enables us to expand our conceptual understanding of current business practices and to critically reflect upon them in a contextually relevant manner. This I believe to be paramount to strengthen our managerial competencies and skillset to become responsible future leaders.

What are the main insights you gained about ESG (Environmental, social, and corporate goverance) in Asset Management?  

The guest talk provided vital synergies between the conceptual underpinnings and the real-life application of contemporary ESG principles in asset management. In particular, we investigated the foundations of the ESG market, asset classes, and investment approaches. Within this context, Franck highlighted the impact of supranational initiatives (e.g. the UN SDGs and SFDR Regulation) and the crucial role of engaging with stakeholders that are driving the ESG agenda. These may include stakeholders ranging from asset managers and issuers to rating agencies and regulators. 

The interactive elements of the guest talk (e.g. practical case studies and case discussions) further facilitated the practical relevance of the subject by encouraging us to apply ESG principles and decision-making on different investment opportunities. It has been particularly intriguing to observe my own and the students' evaluation of these cases. Interestingly, what seemed to be the right decision at first withered with a closer, more critical examination. In facilitating this assessment, Franck certainly challenged mindsets and upturned our preconceptions.

From a professional perspective, I now understand the key pillars of sustainable investing and what the job of an ESG analyst entails. On a personal level, it has been fantastic to observe Franck’s genuine enthusiasm for the subject and his profession. He thereby succeeded in setting an inspiring example to soon-to-be graduates at EDHEC Business School. 

Did it change your perspective on sustainable investing?

Whilst I did not have a professional or academic background in Asset Management and/or ESG ratings, the guest talk taught me the intrinsically complex nature of sustainable investment practices. Listening to Franck’s expertise, I now understand the pivotal role of integrating broader ESG metrics and applying a critical mindset to fairly assess companies’ varying levels of involvement. As such, I feel empowered to make an integrative financial decision, both in my private and professional life.  

 

Who is Franck de Nazelle?

Franck de Nazelle is a former EDHEC Business School student who graduated in 2011 and earned an MSc specialised in finance. Since his graduation, he has worked for companies such as BNP Paribas Investments Partners or MFEXbyEuroclear. He has been working as a fund analyst since 2018.

The growing importance of ESG in investment

Environmental, social, and corporate governance, also known as ESG, is growing in importance in the world of finance. With stakeholders and policymakers increasingly concerned about issues such as climate change, gender equality, diversity and inclusion, human rights, etc., finance departments cannot ignore this trend, which is becoming the norm.

Professionals in the sector will have to adapt to new regulations but also to new expectations. In the future, as ESG becomes more important, investors will take the business’s reputation into account before making a decision. This means that companies that are known to be non-compliant with this new standard will struggle to attract investors.

Future investment will be directed towards projects that are environmentally friendly. Indeed, these investments will create value and drive innovation in green technologies and green infrastructure. A commitment to ESG will be a real competitive advantage. New asset managers will have to take this into account in their daily activities.

As Gianfranco Gianfrante, professor at EDHEC Business Schools puts it: “In a few years, sustainable finance will be the standard, the new financial normal”.
 

Guest speaker talks as a way for students to progress

This interview also shows that EDHEC Business School's teaching goes beyond the classroom. Our students learn from industry-leading professionals who share their experiences with them. These sessions provide invaluable exposure to a more concrete application of what students learn during the programme.

Guest speaker talks are also one of the opportunities offered throughout the programme to bridge the gap between theory and practice. These talks stimulate critical thinking in our students. This is one of the most important soft skills to develop in order to make the best decision in a business context.

These events are an integral part of the programme as they help students to grow and refine their professional goals.

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