Xavier Laborde is CEO and co-founder of SILEX, an investment company based in Monaco. He describes his ambitions for the company and the reasons for opening an office in the Principality.
First of all, you don't come from a wealth management background...
No, rather from investment banking. I worked for more than 10 years within the Exane Group as a Partner, responsible for sales and structuring for the derivatives business. I was able to measure the benefits of an ecosystem combining asset management, fundamental research and solution structuring. I then embarked on an entrepreneurial adventure in 2016, creating SILEX with Fabrice Rey.
Our ambition is to support private management at every stage of the investment process, by combining human expertise and technology. And we have been doing this since the end of 2020 in Monaco, with SILEX SAM headed by Joana Lopes.
What are the group's activities?
We bring together several complementary businesses, serving asset managers and family offices. The core is technology. Our R&D centre, SILEX Technologies, brings together engineers, data scientists and web developers who have created a suite of investment decision-making tools, the SPARK platform. It provides the quantitative rigour of state-of-the-art algorithms but without being a black box: each manager remains the pilot. Above all, the tools make it possible to prevent emotional bias, document the investment process and ensure that portfolios comply with the risk mandate.
These tools also feed our investment activities. The Investment Solutions division, mainly in Geneva, builds tailor-made management solutions (structured products, SPVs, proprietary indices) by providing support throughout the entire chain, from the construction of target allocations to portfolio monitoring in terms of performance and risk. It is only by doing this work that we can propose appropriate investment solutions.
Finally, our management company SILEX Investment Managers operates in Switzerland and France and has four areas of expertise in equities, bonds, convertibles and multi-assets. We offer a range of UCITS strategies and thematic certificates for a total of EUR 950 millions.
How do you explain your growth so quickly?
It's a combination of factors. I think we had the right intuition about the new needs of private managers: the need to solidify the investment process, the need for performance, the need for technology. Beyond the quality of our service offering, many of our partners appreciate that we are independent like them. At the same time, we have benefited from the relative withdrawal of banks from private banking.
Finally, our group has developed thanks to its anchoring around key values: the notion of partnership, employee shareholding and meritocracy. This allows us to have 85 talented and motivated employees today.
How do you attract talent?
SILEX has chosen to bring together expertise from different industries, investment banking, tech, asset management and even other sectors such as luxury goods, under one roof. The Silexians who join us are attracted by this diversity.
Moreover, the regulatory pressure in banks is such that many talents no longer fit into the historical structures and are looking for new frameworks. They are attracted by an entrepreneurial project that offers them prospects for growth
Why did SILEX set up in Monaco?
It was natural for SILEX to be present in a financial centre as important as Monaco in private management. Our unique approach fits in well with the Principality's environment, where I have seen a desire to move away from the traditional wealth management model over the past few years, as well as a strong acceleration in digitalisation. We wanted to bring our innovative approach to managers here. SILEX SAM is intended to act as a link between the group's expertise and our local clients.
What is your strategy?
We have set up a team of four people to develop local partnerships with asset managers, private banks and family offices. The objective is to recreate the exceptional proximity that we have developed in other jurisdictions, by emphasising our difference.