Fund Directors Series: Portrait of... Bertrand Gibeau, Independent Director
Portrait of… Bertrand Gibeau
Independent Director and Partner at Reinhold & Partners, his risk management architecture combines experience, tools and common sense.
By Isadora Pardo – Director – TechFin Luxembourg
When I was in graduate business school, I had a friend who used to say « in business, luck is when opportunity meets thorough preparation. » Bertrand Gibeau’s path illustrates perfectly this principle.
After completing his DESS (Master degree in economy) from the university Paris Dauphine, Bertrand spent a year as a credit analyst at Credit Agricole Indosuez, analyzing companies’ balance sheets and financial structures. Dexia Securities then offered him the Deputy Risk Manager position where he was in charge of controlling market risk and operational risk in particular. Bertrand truly revealed himself when he joined the Association Française de la Gestion Financière in 2005. As Technical Director for Asset Management, he was in charge of a number of lobbying activities within the industry. In particular, he was working in getting the use of value at risk (VaR) spread widely among the investment funds community, including UCITS, and no longer limited to hedge funds. In addition to driving change within the investment funds industry, he also undertook political actions, defending the diverging interests of all kinds of funds in France. His actions brought him to lobbying activities to the French Market Authority, the French Tax Authorities and to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. With these actors, he participated in the voicing the industry’s view point in the upcoming UCITS IV and AIFM Directives.
For this long-time passionate basketball player, honesty, teamwork and sharing of complementary skills are the key skills he both applies and looks for in business partners. “Just like an investment fund’s board of Directors needs to combine the right mix of expertise’s (investment management, risk management, distribution, finance, etc.), the optimal working team includes a vast mix of competences, with just enough overlap to guarantee efficient back-up and/ or supervision when needed. Mixing the skills and competencies is critical if you want to remain competitive, as it opens new horizons and provides dynamic incentive to move forward.”
As the crisis started to spread among the investment community, he worked together with a number of management companies, with particular focus in implementing liquidity controls within money market funds. During one of these projects, he met with Alain Reinhold. The two professionals soon found out how well they completed each other when working on alternative funds. It became clear to them they had to work together. This is how Reinhold Partners was born, joining the skills of a senior profile in investment management with those of a different profile who knew his way in the industry through lobbying. From 2009 on, Bertrand Gibeau and Alain Reinhold have been offering risk management, structuring, legal and due diligence services to both on-shore and off-shore third-party alternative funds.
When managing clients’ funds, would it be when starting the relationship or during the day-to-day cruise, Bertrand uses a sailing metaphor to describe his job: “Risk Management is a lot like sailing. There are number of instruments at your disposal. When using each of them, you need to combine thorough observation with common sense. Should the sailor not pay attention and just follow what the instruments say, one cannot make his way through thick fog! Two things are must-haves in risk management: common sense and the right tools as adapted to the strategy, to set consistent controls and limits. When risk managers apply proper seamanship, the rest usually follows suit!”.
According to Bertrand Gibeau, the next ten years will see a growing interest for industry experts to become independent directors. At the same time, the industry will not only have a growing need for this type of profile, but also require a widest range of skills within the Directors profiles. As a result, Directors will certainly intensify the grouping trend into pools of Directors, to offer their clients combined sets of expertise. Although financial funds will remain in majority, new investment profiles will require the controls and expertise applied to regulated funds. “New skill sets will be required within the boards, to smoothly integrate real estate, private equity and infrastructure funds. For instance, we may need a specialist in risk management for forestry investment.” Within these pools, experts will share opinions and consult with one another regularly, in the best interest of the funds. “The Board of Directors will become a privileged place for expert board members to share experience and think outside the box the best ways and means for investors protection.”
As I was leaving Bertrand Gibeau after this intense conversation, I could not help recalling another of my graduate schoolmates who used to quote Benjamin Franklin, saying “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Bertrand is more than preparing to embrace the future of the fund industry, and he is proving it on a daily basis. Thank you Bertrand Gibeau for sharing with us your inner view on the industry.
About Reinhold & Partners
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