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

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?

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

1.     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 before working at l’Agefi.

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.

2.     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.

3.     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.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #7 – 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.

Maude Culis-Fery

M&A intern at BNP Paribas.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #6 – 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, Director Cash Equities Sales at the Champs Elysée 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.

Maude Culis-Féry, ESSEC Student, M&A Intern at BNP Paribas.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #5 – Nadia Annabi – CFO Cadence Voyage

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 this article and #6 in the following one.

First, let me introduce our guest: Nadia Annabi, CFO at Cadence Voyage. Hi, Nadia! How are you?

Hello, fine. I’m glad to be here.

My pleasure! So, please, could you present yourself and tell us what is your current position?

Sure. As my latest experiences as a CFO, my current position at Cadence Voyages aims at ensuring the quality of the operational and financial management of our company. I am in charge of its good financial health. Concretely, I analyse expenses and operational process to find how to improve performance. The tourism industry is particularly thriving because of the sector’s specificities such as the purchase of foreign currencies to boost margins and exchanges with international partners. Lastly, I supervise the activities of building, communicating and reviewing the budget as well as financial accounts.

It sounds like a highly technical job! What attracted you to finance in the first place?

I confess that at the beginning I was more attracted by “the glamourous” of marketing. But as I get more responsibilities in a highly competitive environment, I had to more and more focus on financial aspects and not only the operational ones. As “the glorious 30” were behind, it became increasingly relevant to manage costs to ensure the companies’ resilience. I dislike pure accountability, but I became quickly passionate about cost management and new IT systems. Gathering key data to better understand the firm’s activity, analysing the changes to reach better performance is highly enthusiastic! Over the past decade, finance has evolved a lot to become a prospective tool to measure performance depending on various assumptions. I also appreciate the fact-specific analysis requiring by financial analysing. It is easier to advocate a project in front of colleagues or boards with figures to strengthen your point of view.

Agreed! But I wonder how did you start your career in finance?

More by necessity than by interest in the first place! It became impossible to manage a company without defining a financial strategy and a prospective budget. Even today, I have to say that considering financial aspects don’t prevent me to be involved in more operational issues such as day-to-day process and HR policies.

This depends on the place your work, I guess. Any advice for our readers?

Sure! You shouldn’t be impressed by a world that still today is male-dominated. I am persuaded that it is evolving like in other areas, which were female deprived. Besides, you should be passionate and carefully choose the firm in which you’ll work to thrive in your job. For instance, I have always worked in the services sector such as healthcare, accountability or tourism, which attracted me more than the industrial ones. Last but not least: Having fun while working!

Listen to your heart then! Thank you for according us some time, Nadia. Have a nice day! My dear readers, the next article is coming right away!

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #4 – Aurélie Cohen – Head of Investor Relations

Hello everyone! Today, I offer you the opportunity to discover the world of Investor Relations jobs through an interview with Aurélie Cohen from Euronext. Enjoy the reading, next portrait is coming in March …

  • Describe your current position

“I am the head of investor relations and financial communication at Euronext. I am responsible for the strategy and the execution of the financial communication that means taking care of quarterly publications, regulatory and daily financial communications and publication of information about M&A operations. Besides, I am also in charge of the communication on the conglomerate’s strategy through the organization of investor day events. I am the reference point for investors, shareholders or financial analysts that would like to get financial or strategic information on Euronext.

  • What attracted you to finance? How did you start?

I have always been attracted by mathematics and numbers. Finance is the concrete application of them to the business world. So, I began as an auditor at Ernst & Young before moving to financial advisory at ADP Group first and then at Euronext.

  • What is your advice for young female student or professionals?

Meet as many people as possible to get an idea of the variety of opportunities within the corporate finance world that isn’t only about financial controlling and M&A advisory. Then, before going into a position, you should meet people from that firm and not only people involved in the recruitment process. No position is the same across firms in finance, a similar job name could hide highly different daily basis from thriving position to a bored one. Finally, I advise you to be confident as a woman with your qualities and be as straightforward as possible with the difficult question about family expectations. Today, the main part of companies and managers understand the relevance of the work-life balance.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #3: Raphaëlle Paret – Chairwomen of ESSEC Transaction and intern at Ernst & Young

Dear readers, today I offer you a piece of advice from one of the most dynamic ESSEC students. Please do not hesitate to click and visit the Facebook page of the Finance Association: Stay tuned if you want to know more about the director of shareholders relationship at Euronex … Her portrait is coming soon.

Describe your current position

I am a Master student at ESSEC and an audit intern at Ernst and Young in Luxembourg. I wanted to work in the audit profession to develop strong technical skills and in Luxembourg because I seized an opportunity to discover how it works in a different country from France. This year I am also the president of ESSEC Transaction, our beloved finance association! Throughout the year, this association organizes events to help students to discover corporate finance, as well as how financial markets work. Among examples, we set up conferences such as the Paris M&A Summit, meetings like “Women in Finance”, or competitions like TradeXtre, job presentations or Case Studies training sessions. You can imagine that these events represent a huge amount of work, thus I am proud of the motivation of all members of this association, who give their time and passion without them this would not be possible!

What attracted you to finance and how did you get started?

My passion began in high school! Indeed, at that time, I was determined to enter a Classe Préparatoire, which is a French program dedicated to the preparation of the highly competitive entrance examination of the French business schools. I worked a lot to enter one of the best French business school: ESSEC. Since high school I knew I wanted to work in finance, but I notice that what I want to do in finance is still evolving while I am studying at ESSEC. I am interested in finance because it covers all industries. For me, finance is the spine of all businesses, so I would learn a lot about how companies work by studying it. Then, I could have opportunities in diverse business sectors across different countries!

A piece of advice for women interested in finance?

I am trying to make women to better know the finance world, through events such as “Women in Finance” meetings. Even within my association, parity isn’t reached, thus it represents a real issue! Encouraging women, who are already interested in finance isn’t tough because they are often highly curious and willing to attend conferences and ask professionals about their careers. It is more difficult to make other women curious about finance. So, I want to encourage these women to attend the gender event “Women in Finance” to discover the variety of opportunities within the finance industry. These women could also benefit from the extreme kindness of professionals, willing to share their experience as they themselves would have benefitted from such events at the beginning of their career.

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Gender & Finance Portrait Series #2: Gabriel Eschbach – Founder and President at ACE Conseil SAS

Describe your current position

“I am the founder and the chairman of a brokerage firm named “ACE Finance et Conseil”. Since 2002, I have developed a strong network to whom my company sells financial products, savings products or life insurances. Besides, I have created several advisory firms to help entrepreneurs and individual investors to manage properly their financial and real estate assets.

Before that, I began as a financial analyst and portfolio manager at an insurance company. Only five years later, I was appointed as the investment and treasury director and supervised the financial assets of the conglomerate, included those of Vie and IARD companies.

I achieved it mainly because I have always been highly interested in financial innovations. For instance, I was the first in 1990’s to use put options on OAT through the Over-The-Counter market with the Paribas bank – now BNP Paribas.”

– now BNP Paribas.”

What attracted you to finance?

Finance is a thriving world in which you can achieve a lot by simply using your brain. Opportunities are everywhere, even for the youngest if you are smart enough. With new technological tools, you can compete with the giants of this industry such as Goldman only by using your computer in smart ways. Besides, you cannot be bored in finance thanks to the diversity of products and industries that you discover through it.

In this sector, you work with high-skilled people and need to be creative to solve highly complex issues. This challenging environment is a pleasure for someone as curious as I am. Curiosity is highly relevant for someone who would like to work in this sector. Indeed, understanding finance is not enough to succeed here, people need to catch the greater picture! For instance, geopolitics issues have currently a huge impact on the markets, so you need to understand them to better serve your clients. Finance is fascinating because you need knowledge in history, philosophy, mathematics and even physics (research on particles’ movements has applications in the Capital Asset Pricing Model framework.

But in France, there is still a need for pedagogy. Indeed, finance has a poor reputation here because people don’t understand the role of finance. How could we have hospitals, infrastructures and competitive companies without finance? Don’t forget that finance is only a tool. So, there are good or bad ways to use it. I chose finance because I knew I could have a positive impact on society.

Some advice for our students?

You cannot go wrong by choosing finance because there are a lot of different opportunities there. You need to be prepared to be quickly challenged by your peers even in a junior position. And if you are smart enough, finance offers you the opportunity to climb the hierarchy immediately after school!

You should be curious because as I said, finance is related to diverse subjects from history to physics and you will work with diverse people with different interests. This diversity explains why many “old” financial experts are still working after the retirement age! By working in this sector, each of your days will be different!

Don’t forget that despite technological progress, the markets are still inefficient. Two consequences, first you still have many opportunities to build an ambitious career in this sector while it could be more difficult in other sectors because in finance there is still so much progress to do. Secondly, you shouldn’t forget to respect deontological rules when you’ll be working. There are good and bad people in this sector, don’t lose your time with the bad ones!

To know more about ACE Finance Conseil SAS:

Stay tuned because another portrait will be published in January … Raphaëlle Paret, president of ESSEC Transaction …

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Gender & Finance at the Paris Financial Management Conference 2019

Gender & Finance presented at the Paris Financial Management Conference 2019

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

Gender & Finance recently participated to the Paris Financial Management Conference (PFMC-2019) that took place on 16-18 December 2019 at IPAG Business School in the breathtaking and enchanting Saint-Germain-des-Prés district of Paris. Thanks to the conference organizers Sabri Boubaker, Ephraim Clark and Duc Khuong Nguyen.

Gender Issues in Finance

Professor François Longin presented our paper Stock Market Reaction to Female CEO Appointments: Is the Market Gendered? which is based on a lab experiment using SimTrade trading simulations. Felix Von Meyerinck (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland) was the discussant of our paper and provided valuable comments. Thank you Felix!

Renée Adams: keynote speaker of the conference

Participants at the conference were lucky to have Professor Renée Adams (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford) as a keynote speaker at the conference. Renée gave a talk about her favorite research field: boards. I really liked the way she presented with three questions: 1) How important I the topic of board in the literature? We had an overview of the “business of research” in the field with the evolution of the number of articles published in top journals, the number of citations; 2) What remains to be done? What does it take to do insightful work on board? We had a presentation of what we know and what we do not know about boards. The gender dimension – one of Renée favorite research theme – was presented as one of the main dimensions of future research on boards.

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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Portrait of Maude CULIS-FERY

Gender & Finance Portrait Series #1: Maude CULIS-FERY

In this G&F PS #1, we learn from Maude Culis-Fery, student at ESSEC Business School and member of G&F.

What is your current role?

“Hi! I’m Maude, 22 years old. I am currently a student from the Master in Finance at ESSEC and a member of the “Gender & Finance” project. I chose this Master for its strong reputations among professionals and the numerous networking opportunities it offers. I also decided to join the Gender & Finance project because I need to understand why there are still now too few women in leadership positions in finance. Previously I attended a finance summer camp and had my first answer, we were three women out of 50 men! Indeed, in schools, women are rare in finance tracks… This experience reinforced my desire to work in finance to prove it is possible and then help other women, who would like to work in finance, to reach their objectives too. Thus, this project represents my first step towards my purpose. As a student, I still have doubts about what I precisely want to do in finance but speaking with or reading about inspiring women helps me to have a broad picture of all the opportunities I have and how I could manage my own career. Thus, I want to offer to you, students or young professionals, a place where you could find different stories about women in finance. A place where you could understand more deeply the finance world and may discover jobs that you didn’t know before. And I hope that by reading them, you’ll get inspire and more confident about your potential success in the finance world. If so, then I would reach my objective to make you discover why I’m so interested in this world.

What attracted you to Finance and how did you get started?

Before ESSEC, I studied accounting because I wanted to know more about how companies work inside. Working in accounting gave me a broad understanding of the business world as business accounts tell a lot about a company’s structure. Then, during one of my internships, I helped an entrepreneur to launch his business by building a business plan and pitching his project in front of banks to raise funds. This experience taught me how precious is finance advisory for the development of companies. Later, I learnt how much damages bad financial decisions could make when I worked for a company in the wake of a judicial review. In parallel, I read a lot about finance in the news and discovered that finance is highly linked to economics and politics two other fields in which I am highly interested. Working in finance enables you to discover different sectors and countries as well as develop a strong economic culture. Thus, it represents an incredible playing field for someone as curious as I am! For these reasons, I attended a double cursus composed of a BA in Economics and a “Classe Préparatoire” to enter the Master in Finance at ESSEC. My next stage? A first internship in Investment Banking at BNP Paribas!

What is your advice to female students interested in leadership position in the finance industry?

NETWORKING, NETWORKING and NETWORKING! Don’t hesitate to use the wonderful ESSEC network to ask professionals about their career, their motivation and their advice. I have written a lot of e-mails and generally people are keen to speak about their career to a motivated student! I had wonderful phone discussions with people I didn’t know, simply by asking them on LinkedIn: “Could you please tell me about your current role and why did you choose it?” Beside meeting new people, networking also gives you a broad view on the opportunities within the finance world, I am sure you’ll discover new jobs. Indeed, working finance is not only about trading and M&A!

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