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Four key themes to be explored at this year’s Fund Forum International conference in Monaco

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With over 1,300 delegates, 200-plus speakers and 75 sessions spread out over four days commencing today, 25 June 2012, Fund Forum International 2012 promises to be as comprehensive as ever.

Held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, the world’s largest asset management event will be exploring four key themes according supported by a wide cast of key industry players including the likes of Kathryn Koch, Senior Portfolio Strategist at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, James Dilworth, CEO Europe, Allianz Global Investors, and top fund selectors such as Henriette Bergh, Executive Director, Fund Selection, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management.

Speaking to Institutional Asset Manager, Jenny Adams, ICBI Global Conference Producer and Head of Research at Fund Forum International, said the breadth and dynamism of the event would be greater than ever. The four key themes, she said, will include: leadership, internationalisation, the fund selector story and finally customer experience.

Exploring the first theme of leadership, it’s interesting to note that Fund Forum has really shaken things up this year. Rather than relying on the same conveyor belt of high profile speakers Adams has mixed things up considerably. Of the 220 speakers presenting over the next four days, 50 per cent of them are brand new having never spoken before at the conference. 
 
“We’re trying to jumble things up and force serious thinking on leadership,” says Adams, in order to get CEOs to talk candidly about leadership at a time when the asset management industry really needs it. Day 2 of the event (actually Day 1 of the main conference) on 26 June will explore this theme, entitled ‘Leadership in times of unprecedented uncertainty’, and will feature a presidential line-up of CEOs including the likes of Jim McCaughan, CEO Principal Global Investors and Jamie Hammond, CEO, Europe, Franklin Templeton to name but two.
Commenting on the fresh line-up, Adams explains: “We always have to innovate and be sure that we reflect new ideas coming in from all sides. By profiling many new speakers and firms – alongside established bellweathers – we are firmly saying that this is a dynamic industry open to change and evolution.”
 
By getting tougher on the plenary sessions in terms of how much time people have to answer, so as to elicit quicker more insightful responses, the hope is that CEOs this year will open up and say what they really think.
 
“It takes enlightened leadership to move beyond the status quo and this is what we are trying to tease out – both from incumbent and emergent firms,” says Adams.
 
Speakers of particular interest this year that attendees should make a beeline for, says Adams, are Dr David Blake, Professor of Pension Economics at Cass Business School, Dr Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, Professor Marvin Zonis, University of Chicago and Jaspar Roos, Chief Inspiration Officer, Dialogues Incubator at ABN AMRO.
 
The key theme today, Monday 25 June, is Emerging Markets. Indeed, the entire day is dedicated to discussing opportunities across all major asset classes. For Adams, emerging markets investing continues to be one of the big investment stories for asset management firms. “This is where the global growth lies. Similarly as the flagship FundForum event we are increasingly reflecting a truly international delegate profile across all continents – not just Europe. This is going to be an increasing trend and one we embrace wholeheartedly.”
 
The third theme, that of fund selection and the role of asset management in long-term savings, will be addressed on Day 2 of the main conference on Wednesday 27 June. Entitled ‘Becoming an active part of the global savings solution’, the day’s panel discussions will cover a breadth of subjects including long-term scenario planning, niche strategy discussions with fund selector feedback, and a keynote address from hedge fund titan Manny Roman, CEO of GLG Partners, on the ups and downs of industry fortunes.
 
In Adams opinion, the whole fund selector story is the “elephant in the room for all states and individuals”. She adds: “The mutual fund industry has a tremendous opportunity to step in and find credible solutions for long-term savings. Not just in terms of market growth but in finding a sustainable relevance for future customers. This session will address how this could be done.”
 
As for the final day, entitled The Future Customer Forum, attendees can expect to enjoy a far more interactive experience as the session attempts to put attendees in the shoes of their customers. Says Adams: “I love Special Thursday! We have two fantastic workshops with new speakers and themes and formats not found elsewhere. What is your customers’ experience and what can you do about it? How can you engage with the next generation of customers through online distribution. It will be great fun and more importantly very enlightening, giving people fresh insights to go home with.”
 
Some of the key sessions to earmark over the coming days at Fund Forum International include:
 
BIG PICTURE BUSINESS STRATEGY
Fund Management Consolidation & The Latest Trends In M&A
Main Conference Day 2, Plenary, Wednesday June 28th, 09.15 – 10.00
 
DISTRIBUTION & FUND SELECTION
Manager Selection Strategy In Difficult Markets: Which Funds Or Vehicles?
Main Conference Day 2, Wednesday June 28th, Stream C, 14.30 – 15.20
 
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Becoming Part Of A Credible Long-Term Savings Product Solution: UCITs & DC
How Can We Create A Valued Long-Term Savings Product Of Choice For Customers?
Main Conference Day 2 Plenary, Wednesday June 28th, 11.30 – 12.20
 
 

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