Fund Directors Series: Portrait Of... Thierry André, ANDRisk
Portrait of… Thierry André
Independent Director, risk manager and anti-money laundering specialist, he is a passionate solution-builder
By Isadora Pardo – Director – TechFin Luxembourg
Thierry André is this man constantly looking for the next project, the next challenge, the next mile. For Thierry, and just like Albert Einstein said, “life is like riding a bicycle: you need to move forward to keep in balance”.
Thierry André started his career in 1997, in a management-training program with Banque de Luxembourg. Open to bachelor candidates, this program coupled work in various departments within the bank, and classes with IFBL (Luxembourg Banking Training Institute) two days per week. During these five years, he had the opportunities to work in a number of departments, including back-office (nostro, coupons, …), front office (trading), and middle office (controlling). In the latest was where he found his best-matching position, that paved the way to his whole career. “Within the middle-office, I was touching-base with all the bank’s operations from a controlling perspective. This included controlling the traders’ dealing activities in front-office.”
In 2002, Thierry was recruited by the transportation and tourism family business Sales-Lentz, as they needed to implement finance back-office operations and procedures. This was the time for building from scratch a number of processes, such as treasury management, foreign currency hedging, and controlling procedures for the company activity. After two years and upon completion of these projects, he found himself ready to move forward.
This is when he met with the Chief Compliance Officer at Union Bancaire Privée (Luxembourg), the subsidiary of the Swiss bank. “UBP (Swiss) wanted to take advantage of the European passport facilities and use the Luxembourg branch as its European Hub”. To achieve this goal, they needed a strong compliance department. Thierry stepped in and supported the CCO not only in the daily AML-related business but also on several projects. One of the projects was to implement a risk management function for UBP in Luxembourg, following the Swiss organization model, however adapting it to the Luxembourg specificities. From Junior Compliance Officer, Thierry André became Risk Manager and finally ended as the Head of Risk Management. “The board had an audit and control background. They had the vision, and I was used to setting up processes and procedures. It was a perfect match. We put all the risk management in place, based on the procedures and systems they already had in place in Switzerland and added the local specificities as the ICAAP, Depositary bank risk, the Fund Compliance and the global risk assessment for the bank.
Thierry seems to be the man who finds a great challenge, steps in and builds the whole control processes infrastructure from scratch, then finds himself idle upon completion, and steps out looking for new challenges. At that time in 2012, Pandomus needed someone just like him, not only to develop their risk management framework for the alternative funds, but also to build a brand new AIFMD management company Pancura, which received the CSSF agreement to act as an AIFM. Thierry was largely involved in Pancura’s setup to implement the Risk Management and AML Compliance procedures.
Throughout the years, Thierry Andre had seen a number of structures, from the banks, the investment funds and the service sectors. He had built control processes and procedures within them. He had come through the success stories as well as the pitfalls to avoid. With this background, he had frames in his mind and heart the risk management structure that was going to be his own going forward. In 2014, he decided to fly his own wings and created ANDRisk, a company dedicated to offering risk management services around two axes:
- Offering his risk management expertise as a conducting officer or independent director Board member. “There is an growing need for risk management experts within the board, not only to bring the risk management culture within the board itself, but also to challenge the risk management processes and controls of the management company and the Risk Management teams. And this trend is accelerating.” Though this role and using his “implementing” mindset, Thierry focuses on demonstrating how risk management is a true value-added process for the asset manager, allowing for enhanced performances while maintaining the inherent risk to an appropriate and managed level.
- Implementing anti-money-laundering (AML) procedures within all actors concerned with the AML 12.11.2004 Law. “There is a huge demand and this job is absolutely fascinating. Take for instance the automotive body shopping and resellers, the real estate agents, the jewelers: they all fall within the scope of the law, but they really lack the equipment and knowledge to implement the right controls. Moreover, they fear AML will require costly solutions and burdensome procedures. My role is to understand their business and to offer them the AML matching tools. They would become compliant at a very low cost and effort! I train them through daily AML and risk-oriented culture. It is important that they understand this small effort and cultural change is necessary not only to avoid being fined, but also to protect both their license and reputation.”
For Thierry André, AML is the poor parent of risk management, and will require the industry to adapt substantially over the near future. “Also Distribution-related risks tend to be overlooked. This includes close monitoring of the distribution network. Cross border activities will continue develop at a rapid pace, and will require enhanced due diligence when delegating some of the distribution activities.” This does not only concern the traditional financial industry. “Take Virtual Currencies companies for instance: Luxembourg being a regulated place, there is a tremendous role to play, to attract those “fintechs”. However, this cannot happen without thoroughly understanding and supervise both the actors and processes of this growing market.” Within each business, it is important to keep looking at it with beginner’s eyes: Am I exposed? To what extent? What models are / should be in place to minimize risks? “Even the most experienced risk managers keep beginner’s eyes; they keep this inner curiosity when analyzing each single client’s business.” Risk Management has become a highly competitive business. “I like this, because it makes us constantly question and improve what we do. Moving the balance forward is really important.”
Thierry applies his work principle to everyday life, and the other way around: “We have two engagements in our lives: one with our job / employer – to me, this is ANDRisk and I have to make sure this child grows in a healthy way. The other engagement is with our family and loved one – my wife, my son, I need to work on these relationships as well, and grow them in a healthy way too. Both engagements require constant questioning of what we do, constant involvement, and permanent improvement. I like activities that benefit to both engagements: I run and swim (he is a former tri-athlete), as it clears my mind and helps me think through. My wife loves golf so we play along, and this also allows for business networking along the way!
As I was leaving Thierry André that morning and walked my way back to the office, I could not help thinking of Victor Hugo, and his own quote about balance in life: “Putting everything in balance is good, putting everything in harmony is better.” Thank you Thierry André for sharing your inner view of the industry with us this morning.
ANDRisk is a Luxembourg based company which provides services in the area of Risk Management for UCITS Funds and AIFs as well as AML / CTF Compliance Services for the Virtual Currencies Industry, Accounting professionals ("experts-comptables"), Real-Estate Agents, Freeport Operators and Car Dealers in Luxembourg. As recent events have highlighted the need for ever higher levels of scrutiny and corporate governance, ANDRisk also provides Conduction Officers and Independent Directors/Board Members with a strong Risk Management background.
More information? Please visit https://www.linkedin.com/company/andrisk/