Gender & Finance at HEC Lausanne

Gender & Finance presented at the Department of Finance at the University of Lausanne and the Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL

Prof. François Longin ESSEC Business School 

Gender & Finance recently presented its research at the research seminar in finance of the University of Lausanne and the Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL: Is Gender in the Pocket of Investors? Identifying Gender Homophily Towards CEOs in a Lab Experiment on December 4th 2020. The presentation took place online due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Gender & Finance Co-founder and Associate Professor Estefania Santacreu-Vasut presented experimental research on the stock market reaction to CEO appointments as function of gender.

We received interesting feedback from PhD students and Professors.

Three stylized facts

At the seminar, we motivated our research with three stylized facts:

Fact #1: Women are under-represented in CEO positions.

Fact #2: Stock markets in the US react more negatively to the appointment of a female CEO than to that of male CEO.

Fact #3: Women are under-represented also in finance related educational and professional arenas.

We presented how our research can provide a unified explanation of the three stylized facts.

  • To do so, we unify three theoretical explanations: gender stereotypes, double standards and in-group biases.
  • We build a trading experiment to study how individual investors react to CEO appointments
  • We causally identify the role of investors preferences and quantify the role of investors’ gender diversity on the aggregate stock market reaction
  • In short, we find evidence of gender homophily among investors which can rationalize the relation between facts #1, #2 and #3

Slides

Contact us for more information or for research collaborations! And check our presentation slides!

Presentation on gender and finance

Prof. François Longin and Prof. Santacreu-Vasut
ESSEC Business School

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The socio-cultural context matters more than quotas

Prof Samia Belaounia

This post presents a recent research paper by Samia Belaounia, Ran Tao and Hong Zhao (2020): Gender equality’s impact on female directors’ efficacy: A multi-country study published in the International Business Review.

The only measures adopted so far by the authorities to increase female representation on boards are the introduction of mandatory quotas or recommendations in domestic governance codes. These measures have the advantage of preventing discriminatory treatment of women, particularly in societies with strong cultural resistance, but they do not guarantee that women, once appointed, participate effectively and efficiently in strategic decision-making processes.

Message from our paper

Our main message is that the most effective and sustainable way for the authorities to increase the presence of women on boards is to take measures to promote equal treatment between men and women in society. Only if women have as much access as men to education, to the business world, and do not carry the burden of household chores alone, will they be able to develop expertise, seize professional opportunities and build a social network in order to enjoy the credibility comparable to that of their male colleagues so essential for weighing-in on board decisions. Without this, they will simply be tokens of diversity facilitating company compliance with regulatory requirements. Moreover, only then will the qualities commonly attributed to women materialize into a performance advantage for companies, which is the most powerful motivation for them to appoint more female directors.

Ethics vs performance

We stand out from most reports and press articles concerning the representation of women on the board, as such works adopt an exclusively ethical point of view. They present the appointment of women to the board as a goal in itself without addressing the question of the impact on performance or on the actual conditions under which women directors carry out their mission. We think it is important to emphasize the issue of the effects on performance because we believe that companies will not promote more female directors on the board for purely ethical reasons. The fact that this is likely to improve their performance and efficacy, however, is a strong motivation.

The added-value of women on boards

First of all, appointing women leads to a diversity of approaches on the board, which is likely to result in better quality strategic decisions. Secondly, women are perceived as having a more acute sense of ethics than men, which reduces a company’s inclination to manipulate results, improves the quality of financial statements, and gives shareholders more transparency about the impact of managers’ actions in relation to the board’s oversight mission. Finally, women are less over-confident than men, which avoids excessive risk-taking and empire-building behavior on the part of managers, thus better serving the objective of maximizing shareholder value. However, there is no impact on performance per se: the performance effect of appointing women to the board of directors depends on the socio-cultural context concerning the equal treatment of men and women in society. Gender equality, by promoting the possession of expertise and credibility comparable to that of their male colleagues, increases the likelihood that the economic benefits expected from the appointment of women will be effective.

Empirical study

Our empirical study, carried out over the last 12 years from a sample of 1986 companies in 24 countries, proves this very point. Our measurement of gender equality covers access to health, politics, business, the world of work and education, as well as equal treatment by the legal system (through inheritance and divorce laws). We observe that gender equality amplifies the positive impact of women’s presence on economic and financial performance. In Sweden, the appointment of an additional woman to the Board of Directors is associated with an increase in economic and stock market performance corresponding to four times that of countries where gender equality is at the median level (France and Australia). In China, Japan, Thailand, and India, where gender equality is low, the impact is non-existent or negative. In relation to the monitoring function of the board, our results show that, considered in isolation, the presence of women is neutral on earnings management and excessive risk-taking. It is only in the most egalitarian societies that female presence succeeds in reducing opportunistic behaviors, which are in the shareholders’ best interests.

Recommendation for firms

It is therefore in the interest of companies to appoint women with the required technical skills (without discrimination or preferential treatment compared to men) by allowing them to weigh-in on decisions on the same basis as their male colleagues. The key for companies is an increase in the effectiveness of the board in its advisory role, through improved economic and financial performance, and in its oversight of managers’ actions to ensure that they are effectively aligned with value maximization.

A comment from the Gender & Finance founders

This study shows that the socio-cultural context influences the impact of increasing female representation in Boards. One potential mechanism to investigate and that relates to the Gender & Finance project is the role of gender stereotypes in shaping the perceived fit (or lack of fit) of women to their board role. In less egalitarian cultures, female board members may be perceived as lacking the qualities needed in their role precisely because they are women. In more egalitarian cultures, female board members may be less subject to traditional gender stereotypes and be perceived more favorably when participating in decision-making.

Read the paper: Belaounia S., Tao R., Zhao H. (2020) Gender equality’s impact on female directors’ efficacy: A multi-country studyInternational Business Review, 29(5)
101737.

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Are there differences in the perceived suitability of men and women for leadership positions?

Gender & Finance Literature Review Series #8: Haslam and Ryan (2008)

In this G&F LRS #8, we analyze the following research paper:

Alexander S. Haslam and Michelle K. Ryan (2008) “The road to the glass cliff: Differences in the perceived suitability of men and women for leadership positions in succeeding and failing organizations” The Leadership Quarterly 19(5) 530-546.

The authors are trying to know if there are differences between the perceived suitability of men and women for leadership positions depending on the performance of the involved company and if so, why?

The authors’ perception

From the authors’ point of views, the struggling predicament of women does not stop after breaking the glass ceiling -once they reach leadership positions. This feeling would explain why despite a higher number of female leaders, there are still differences between men and women in the type of leadership positions they occupy. Indeed, women seem to be more likely to be appointed to leadership positions in organizations in crisis.

The methodology used

To find evidence of this phenomenon, the authors conducted three different studies on three different types of sample – business students, college students and senior managers. The members of the samples had to evaluate the suitability of male or female candidates to a leadership position and its leadership ability either in a healthy business or a struggling one. Then, in the last study, the authors identified potential motives justifying why women are more likely to be appointed to more risky leadership positions.

Take away

These studies find evidence that women are more likely to be nominated for leadership positions in organizations in crisis. This confirms this existence of a Glass Cliff for women meaning that they do not have access to the same type of leadership positions than men, which can negatively impact their future career opportunities. The authors gave evidence that this phenomenon is not related to a hypothetical preference from women for risky positions but rather to social stereotypes. Glass Cliff could be another explanation for the predominance of women in non-core business positions. The authors also think that some women leave their management positions because of too limited opportunities to get more responsibilities and not always because of family commitment, another sign of the existence of the Glass Cliff.

Thanks for reading this post! You can download the PowerPoint presentation below to have more detail on the experiences and the conclusions of the authors. Please free to reach out to us for more information on the article or the Gender & Finance project.

Presentation on gender and finance

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #11 – Zoé Lintz – TMT M&A analyst at JP Morgan

Zoé Lintz – TMT M&A analyst at JP Morgan

Today, I am writing about an exchange I had with a TMT analyst in London. Thank you to Zoé Lintz for her availability and her exhaustive answers!

Could you please describe what are you doing at JP Morgan as a TMT analyst?

In a large corporate bank such as JP Morgan, the daily environment is significantly different from what I experienced before in smaller M&A banks. Don’t forget that there is no “normal day” in M&A which is exactly what I was looking for. Each day differs depending on ongoing projects, clients demands or deliverables. We can perfectly get up thinking we’ll have a relatively calm day and finally be a stimulating one because of last-minute demand from a client who wants a special document or a new valorisation! Hence describing typical tasks is challenging but to give you an overview, I’ll tell you some typical tasks for an analyst:

  • Production of marketing documents such as pitches for prospects or information memorandum for potential investors
  • Associated tasks to fill in such documents: looking for information on companies through broker notes, press or specialized corporate finance websites
  • Performing financial analysis to build a financial model to value a business. We usually rely on financial projections given by the management team and/or reports from financial advisors that we challenge through different scenarii. We also use different valorisation methods to come up with what we think is the fair value of a business while explaining each hypothesis we retained.

I am highly satisfied with my choice because of the fulfilling and challenging environment I found here. Besides working with people with different cultural backgrounds is particularly thriving. I can always rely on my colleagues when I need some help and have never felt angriness. I appreciate the fact that the seniors know that as an analyst you have still a lot of things to learn, they are highly supportive! This is necessary to be able to work long hours.

Could you please explain why you chose JP Morgan?

After working for small structures, I wanted to try working for a bigger team. I thought this environment would be a springboard for the beginning of my career. Working in a team of 70+ people is radically different and teaches me a lot about relationship skills. The growth and the deal flow of the TMT team of JP Morgan also played a major role in my decision to join. I wanted to begin in London because I was looking for a more international environment that what we can find in Paris to learn other way of thinking while improving my English skills. Finally, London remains the core of the European M&A industry with the strategic offices of all major players as well as the most powerful investment funds. Thus, this city represents the place to be to quickly learn about finance and offers numerous opportunities to pursue a career in corporate finance.

Why were you interested in finance in the first place?

In 2013, I joined Sciences Po Strasbourg to become a journalist. This was after my exchange in the US that I began to be interested in finance. Hence, I joined the investment club at my university to learn more about it. I also did an internship in a small banking structure and realized that corporate finance is highly related to the news and offers the opportunity to learn about a large variety of sectors. I chose to specialize in media and technologies to develop a thorough understanding of this sector which gave a double competence in finance and technologies. I also like the technical side of corporate finance that relies upon concrete concepts. Indeed, we use mathematical models to forecast revenue and value a company,which has concrete impacts on the ongoing operation.

Have you experienced some difficulties at the beginning of your career?

Of course! But everybody does, it is the way you cope with difficulties that will shape the future of your career. For me, finding an M&A internship was extremely difficult because I didn’t come from target schools. I experienced numerous refusals and made a lot of efforts to secure an internship. I eventually was successful thanks to work and motivation. Indeed, you should be technically perfect for interviews and are ready to convince your interviewer that you really want to work in finance! This implies a lot of training and the best way to be fully prepared is to multiply the interviews.

Have you some advice for our readers?

Several ones. Do not hesitate to do different internships to find which position match your expectations. I did several internships before knowing what I really want to do. I learnt different aspects of finance but also to better know myself. We are continuously evolving; thus, it is important to be able to question ourselves about what motivates us and what we want about our careers!

Then, do not give up against difficulties such as I am not able to do that … I didn’t have the right education … Finance is not for me … There are a lot of misjudgements about finance. In addition, a similar place could be painful for somebody and thriving for another. Thus, you should go and see by yourself to make your mind.

Do not give up after a failure. You should create your opportunities by founding a club or organizing events to progressively build the right profile for the position that you dream of.

My last advice will be to speak with as many people as you can to better learn about finance and expand your professional network. This will really help your career!

Portrait produced in July 2020 by Maude Culis-Féry, ESSEC Student and M&A Intern at BNP Paribas.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #10 – Patricia Lormeau – M&A Managing Director at BNP Paribas

Patricia Lormeau – M&A Managing Director at BNP Paribas

“Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well! Today, we have the pleasure to welcome a new special guest: Patricia Lormeau who is M&A Managing Director at BNP Paribas. Nice to meet you Patricia, first question, could you please explain to us your current position?”

Could you please describe your current position?

I am Patricia Lormeau, a Managing Director in the Domestic Market Team at BNP Paribas. In our team, I cover logistics and business services sectors. These sectors are highly interesting because they give signals about future economic and commercial trends.

Daily, I gather information about the sector through meeting management teams of the companies or other teams inside BNP Paribas. Being constantly in touch with executives in one sector gives you the legitimacy to speak with other executives and enables you in the end to reach new potential customers.

Being a managing director also means supervising the project team for each ongoing deal meaning nominate the members of the project, split the work to improve efficiency and sometimes dealing with two teams working on the same project. At this level in the banking industry, it is mainly a coordination, supervision and human job. It requires a lot of interactions with the junior staff preparing technical inputs and PowerPoint presentations to make sure these are correct and adequate to the goals of the project. This doesn’t make your job easy because you should keep a critical eye, spotting the mistakes the others didn’t see, maintaining a global view on the ongoing process to ensure its completion. While doing so, it is also critical to take time to teach your team because it represents a long-term time gain.

Personally, it has always been important for me to help young professionals to build their network because I know how critical it is in a successful career!

But this doesn’t mean, you cannot have a personal life. On the contrary, to stay in the long-term in the banking industry, you should keep a sane equilibrium requiring you to continue activities that you appreciate. For example, in my free time, I am the president of a charity promoting caring management and organizing conferences about current issues such as environmental ones

How did you become a Managing Director at BNP Paribas?

I am a kind of exception in the senior M&A bankers because I did not work in an M&A team before. In the beginning, I was a business lawyer following my studies in ESSEC and law university. I chose law because I wanted to be involved in the business environment while dealing with complex issues.

After a few years, I felt the need to discover other things and became an economist at BNP Paribas. I did appreciate the public side of this job because I was regularly questioned by French journalists on macroeconomic issues. But I was afraid to stay away from the business world too long, so I joined Iberia in Spain as Head of Financing. I preferred finance to law to intervene at the beginning of a project and not at the end when all details are already negotiated. What I liked in this experience was to become an expert in one sector and took part in professional conferences. Besides, working for Iberia was thriving as all our customers were abroad, so I travelled a lot. This job required me to be creative in the difficult aftermath of the World Trade Centre attack, which hurt badly the aeronautic industry. This pushed me to develop the parking credit to avoid a liquidity crisis for the aircraft owner.

After four years at Iberia, I went back to BNP to develop shipping financing when it was not as structured as today and had the opportunity to work in Japan.

I came in the Domestic Market Team thanks to a colleague, who was eager to benefit from my network and my ability to deal with complex issues. This enabled me to break into M&A in a senior position without previous experience.

Have you some advice for the young professionals?

Several ones!

Take time to travel abroad to understand business environments different from the French one. This will become valuable knowledge when you (potentially) go back to France to distinguish yourself from your colleagues.

Take time to try several sectors before developing expertise in a sector in which you are interested. Being an expert on a few sectors is required when you reach more senior positions because it will give you the legitimacy to speak your mind.

After the first years, it will be your network and your ability to adapt that will help you seize thriving opportunities. Bears it in mind during your first years.

You should keep a sane equilibrium requiring you to spend time with your family and continue activities that you appreciate. I have four children and I have always done my best to take care of them while pursuing full-time positions. Also, in my free time, I am the president of a charity promoting caring management and organizing conferences about current issues such as environmental ones.

Finally, you spend a lot of time with colleagues, so do not hesitate to change team if you don’t feel included. There are many places where using your financial skills and different kind of working environments. You just have to find the right one for you.

Portrait produced in July 2020 by Maude Culis-Féry, ESSEC Student and M&A Intern at BNP Paribas.

Next portrait

Stay tuned if you want to know more about Zoé Lintz who is TMT M&A analyst at JP Morgan… Her portrait is coming soon.

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Gender & Finance at EM Strasbourg LaRGE seminar

Gender & Finance presented at EM Strasbourg Business School LaRGE seminar

Prof. François Longin ESSEC Business School 

Gender & Finance recently presented its research at the LaRGE seminar of EM Strasbourg Business School. The presentation took place in Strasbourg on March 13th 2020. Gender & Finance Co-founder and Associate Professor Estefania Santacreu-Vasut presented experimental research on the stock market reaction to CEO appointments as function of gender.

LaRGE (Management and Economics Research Center, UR 2364) is the University of Strasbourg’s research center focused on finance. We had interesting feedback from PhD students and professors.

During the session we presented our paper Is Gender in the Pocket of Investors? Identifying Gender Homophily Towards CEOs in a Lab Experiment which is based on a lab experiment.

Three stylized facts

At the seminar, we motivated our research with three stylized facts:

Fact #1: Women are under-represented in CEO positions.

Fact #2: Stock markets in the US react more negatively to the appointment of a female CEO than to that of male CEO.

Fact #3: Women are under-represented also in finance related educational and professional arenas.

We presented how our research can provide a unified explanation of the three stylized facts.

  • To do so, we rely on insights from sociology and behavioral economics
  • We build a trading experiment to study how individual investors react to CEO appointments
  • We causally identify the role of investors preferences and quantify the role of investors’ gender diversity on the aggregate stock market reaction
  • In short, we find evidence of gender homophily among investors which can rationalize the relation between facts #1, #2 and #3

Research on behavioral finance

Professor Laurent WEILL and Francis Osei-Tutu discussed with us their very interesting work “How Language Shapes Bank Risk Taking

Slides

Contact us for more information or for research collaborations! And check our presentation slides!

Presentation on gender and finance

Prof. François Longin and Prof. Santacreu-Vasut
ESSEC Business School

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #9 – Laurence de Rosamel – Debt Advisory Managing Director at Clearwater

Laurence de Rosamel – Debt Advisory Managing Director at Clearwater

“Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well! Today, we have the pleasure to welcome a new special guest: Laurence de Rosamel – Debt Advisory Managing Director at Clearwater. Nice to meet you Laurence, first question, could you please explain to us your current position?”

Describe your current position

I am Laurence de Rosamel and I currently work in Investment Banking as a Managing Director at Clearwater in Paris. I advise companies on raising financing through different channels such as banks, insurance companies, private debt funds and capital markets.

At Clearwater Paris, around 35 bankers are working to deliver high-value financial advice to our clients. Among these people, five are specialized in financing advisory. We work either in joint mandates with the M&A teams or on a standalone basis when our clients are only looking to raise non-dilutive capital. Most of our deal flow is related to acquisition financing, growth financing and refinancing transactions. Our clients are generally mid-market companies which are looking to raise between €10m and €300m.

Why did you choose finance? How did you begin?

In high school, I was attracted to business schools and thus entered a French “Classe Préparatoire”. But when my parents moved to the US, I decided to follow them and transfered to a BBA with a specialization in finance. I did a final year summer internship in Investment Banking because I wanted to learn a lot and was curious to experience what M&A was all about.

After graduation, I came back to France and realised that despite my degree and experience, I only had access to a limited number of opportunities in Investment Banking in Paris as I did not hold a Master. Thus, I applied to ESSEC for a postgraduate degree in Financial Techniques.

After ESSEC, I joined Rexel in the internal M&A team and after a year moved to DC Advisory (formerly Close Brothers) a Paris-based M&A boutique. I have been working in Midmarket Investment Banking ever since.

You have worked more than 10 years in the finance industry while many people give up after a few years, how could you explain that?

When I started in Investment Banking, I did not think I would last very long just like most of us out of Business School. If you had told me I would still be in the industry after 10 years, I would have never believed you. But in fact, time has flown incredibly fast and I was never bored. I think I am still here because I was lucky enough to always find new opportunities and challenges at every turn along the way.

Today financial institutions are struggling to hire enough young professionals and make them stay in the long-term. I think we should focus more on how to communicate about careers in the finance industry in a way that attracts the new generations. But also, we need to fully acknowledge that professional codes are changing and that we must take actions to further change the way we conduct business and manage teams.

What is your advice for young women in finance?

My advice for young women is mainly related to soft skills because technical skills can be learned. For me, the biggest hurdle for women in finance is a certain lack of confidence at times, which is not facilitating the fulfilment of their personal ambitions. Women should be bolder and not just rely on their accomplishments for their career evolution. Communicating extensively on your professional achievements is key, all your male counterparts do it so why don’t you?

Portrait produced in June 2020 by Maude Culis-Féry, ESSEC Student and M&A Intern at BNP Paribas.

Next portrait

Stay tuned if you want to know more about Patricia Lormeau who is M&A Managing Director at BNP Paribas… Her portrait is coming soon.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #8 – Jade Grandin de l’Eprevier – Journalist at L’Opinion

Jade Grandin de l’Eprevier – Journalist at L’Opinion

“Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well! Today, we have the pleasure to welcome a new special guest: Jade Grandin de l’Eprevier – Journalist at L’Opinion. Nice to meet you Jade, I have a few questions for you!

Describe your current job

I am a journalist at l’Opinion. Following my studies at ESSEC, I did internships at Les Echos, le Figaro and Le Monde newspaper before working at l’Agefi (a financial newspaper).

My job is to find subjects for the articles by meeting various people without precise objective just to understand what is going on, major trends, original and hidden stories, people’s motivations, why someone is emphasizing this part of the story. Being a journalist doesn’t mean being an expert but being able to reach the right person for each subject meaning being able to reach quickly people and convince them to speak to you while maintaining a neutral view.

Compare to other traditional ESSEC alumni path, journalism is close to consulting because it enables you to discover a broad variety of sectors, talk to senior professional from the business, political or social world.

Why are you interested in Finance?

At ESSEC, I was not particularly interested in Finance, in fact, I discovered Finance through my first internship at Les Echos. Indeed, I was an intern in the department that deals with the financial market. At that time, the only thing, I wanted was to be a journalist intern whether the subject was. Being a journalist in the financial market department was interesting because I understood the concrete aspect of finance. As finance is highly linked to the economy, I could cover a broad diversity of subjects on different scales: macroeconomics, microeconomics, international, local, on companies or individuals.

Another thing I like as a financial journalist is the challenge to be understood by readers on a difficult subject. This requires finding a pedagogical approach and original ideas to keep readers interested in the article.

What would be your advice for young professionals in the finance sector?

First, you should choose carefully your internships. Internships are valuable because relatively easy to find including in companies, which have the reputation to be unachievable. Thus, you should apply to companies that you dream of without considering other criteria such as wages or future professional opportunities. This is the right time to be ambitious! A sector in which you are interested in but that intimidates you should be experienced to break the fantasy (positive or negative) as my ESSEC mentor Marc Grassin said. Internships are the best tool to meet people and broaden your network that will be useful in your professional life.

My second advice is linked to the first one, you should pay attention to your behaviour during your internship. Behave as the employees, be as autonomous and responsible as they are. At the same time, don’t hesitate to ask for advice or feedback because it is too rare to hear them while they are needed at the beginning of your career to make progress faster. Nobody will blame you because you are indeed a beginner. Don’t hesitate to change the field or company if you don’t thrive. Price each of your professional contacts because opportunities could come as a surprise or rely on somebody you met and you had positively impressed.

Portrait produced in May 2020 by Maude Culis-Féry, ESSEC Student and M&A Intern at BNP Paribas.

Next portrait

Stay tuned if you want to know more about Laurence de Rosamel who is Debt Advisory Managing Director at Clearwater… Her portrait is coming soon.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #7 – Anne Tolmunen – Portfolio Manager at Axa Investment Managers

Anne Tolmunen – Portfolio Manager at Axa Investment Managers

“Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well! Today, we have the pleasure to welcome a new special guest: Anne Tolmunen from AXA Investment Managers. Nice to meet you Anne, first question, could you please explain to us your current position?”

“Hello everyone, sure! I am currently a portfolio manager in the Global Equity Division at AXA Investment Managers. I invest in equities for institutional investors such as pension funds, my main customers.”

“Look like a thriving job! But how could you get there, could you share with us your experience?”

“I may disappoint you, but I chose finance by accident. I studied at ESSEC in the general program. I did an apprenticeship at Arthur Andersen, which led me to apply to General Inspection at Société Générale, which is a team in charge of internal audit across all divisions inside the bank. I stayed for four years and discovered a large variety of jobs and locations. Then, I went to London where I had several offers from banks, but I eventually preferred to look for a job in asset management in which I was more interested. I joined the internal audit team at AXA Investment Managers aiming at joining the front office in the future. In parallel, I studied the CFA – a well-known professional certification that requires three years of study to pass. After one year and a half, I spotted an internal offer for being a project assistant to help merge the different asset management teams. I applied to this position despite lacking experience in this field in order to get close to asset management teams. I was right because twelve months after, I helped a portfolio manager following the departure of her colleague in maternity leave. Thanks to that, I could work with other asset management teams throughout the years. Ten years after, I am a portfolio manager with my own clients. I faced many challenges such as learning quickly financial analysis, improving my English in order to speak to institutional clients, in public conferences or to media, managing family life with three children and my overwhelming career.”

“Impressive, so you should have one or two pieces of advice for young students?”

“First, do not be worried if you don’t know precisely what you want to do in the future. Having a long-term ambition is a key but you should also be able to seize opportunities, stay open-minded and carefully use your qualities. Indeed, many future jobs don’t exist for the moment, which means you should be ready to pursue studying when you’ll be on the job. In addition, you should take risks and get out your comfort zone to manage a successful career. Finally having a good network is a key advantage! An understandable family and a husband who could help you in the house but also friends, colleagues and a great manager, who could be your mentor in your professional life.”

Thank you for reading, I hope everything is fine in your family despite the current situation. See you soon for our next portrait.

Portrait produced in March 2020 by Maude Culis-Féry, ESSEC Student and M&A Intern at BNP Paribas.

Next portrait

Stay tuned if you want to know more about Jade Grandin de l’Eprevier who is Journalist at L’Opinion… Her portrait is coming soon.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #6 – David Rideau – Director Cash Equities at HSBC

David Rideau – Director Cash Equities at HSBC

Dear readers,

I hope you are doing well despite the weird period. This morning, I thought about you telling me that some reading could keep you busy at home. So please find not one but two new portraits: #5 in the precedent article and #6 in this one.

Now, I’ll tell you about my meeting with David Rideau who is Director Cash Equities Sales at the Champs-Elysées offices of HSBC!

Nice to meet you, David, I hope you are doing well! I’m here to speak with you about your career to help ESSEC students to know more about the finance world and especially about people who work there. So, please explain to us the daily life of a Director Cash Equities at HSBC.

Sure! As a Cash Equities Director at HSBC, I advise Equity fund managers on their investments choices. My clientele is mainly composed of institutional investors, ie. large French Equity fund managers. Using HSBC Equity Research, I advise HSBC’s clients on their sector allocation (“top down”), as well as on their stock-picking strategy depending on their respective investment criteria. I am also involved in primary business, such as IPOs and capital increase for already listed companies. This business is highly competitive, thus the banks differentiate themselves through expertise on a few sectors and by the quality of their research. On that point, HSBC has the advantage to cover more than 1.900 stocks globally and to offer thematic research on Climate Change and ESG. Unlike some common stereotypes about the financial market jobs, I do not spend my days behind my screen. Indeed, I physically meet clients to discuss sector specific issues or during corporate roadshows. Besides, when I am mandated on an IPO, I support the management during its roadshow and thus meet the potential investors with them. In the future, I think competition will tighten because of tough regulation and fragmentation of the European banking industry, thus working in investment advisory will keep becoming more challenging over the years.

Indeed, difficult to temper this fragmentation in the Eurozone … So why did you choose such a challenging field, finance?

I did not think so much about my choice because I did enjoy my finance courses at San Jose State University. My initial interest was confirmed during my internship at Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America) in San Francisco. I appreciated the absence of routine and the adrenalin of the trading floor, where the mood highly relies on market trends. Since the financial crisis, I observe that the role of central banks has increased, thus working in financial markets now requires, more than in the past, to be able to analyse the potential impacts of macroeconomic policies. After my internship, I began at Détroyat Associés where I was in charge of the sales department. Then I worked for Portzamparc (now a subsidiary of BNP Paribas) as an equity sales focusing on French small (even micro) caps and seized the opportunity to work at HSBC in 2006 to broaden my coverage, in terms of listed companies (European) and clients (larger institutions).

Interesting because you had the opportunity to see two different kinds of portfolio! One last question, though, do you think there are still today only a few women on the floor?

Inappropriate behaviours are partly to blame here. Fortunately enough, those unacceptable behaviours are gone now. The other reason stems from the current downturn in financial market activity. Traditionally, these jobs are occupied mainly by men and with the small amount of new hiring, it cannot be easily changed. Thus, my advice for women interested in finance would be to go for it because the banks are looking to hire more women, thus they could have better opportunities. Indeed, at HSBC we are eager to promote greater gender equality across a number of areas including female leadership and talent pipeline.

To keep in minds for those interesting in working at HSBC! Thank you for your time David and your insights!

Now, April is not so far so as the next article. In between, take care of your family and stay at home to help the medical staff. I hope, you’ll be fine. Thank you for reading me. Don’t hesitate to write to me should you have any remark.

Portrait produced in March 2020 by Maude Culis-Féry, ESSEC Student and M&A Intern at BNP Paribas.

Next portrait

Stay tuned if you want to know more about Anne Tolmunen who is Portfolio Manager at Axa Investment Managers… Her portrait is coming soon.

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