The Managing Director of CFM Indosuez knows the Monegasque financial centre to perfection. Very discreet, he answers our questions for the first time as CFM Monaco becomes CFM Indosuez Wealth Management.
Gilles Martinengo, we are meeting for the first time for Monaco for Finance. Could you say a few words about your career?
I have worked in the wealth management business for over 35 years and have been Managing Director of CFM Indosuez Wealth Management since 1 December 2007. Indosuez is, moreover, a return to my roots, as I began my career at the Banque Indosuez headquarters in 1981 in the Private Client Department. I then held several management roles in the wealth management business in Switzerland and Singapore, particularly in customer management and development and in the marketing and investment areas.
5 months ago, CFM Monaco became CFM Indosuez Wealth Management. What has changed?
Our rebranding is the culmination of a strategic review carried out from 2012 within the wealth management business of the Crédit Agricole Group, our main shareholder. Our teams have had the time and the means to prepare for change. So you could see our branches change almost with a magic wand on 18 January, the day the new brand was launched! Since then, our customers and partners have continued to prove their interest in the new brand and to renew their trust in us. With several months’ hindsight, I can confirm that this change has been very beneficial to the visibility of our international operations, which were not well enough known. Adopting the Indosuez brand has also highlighted and strengthened our wealth management specialisation, which can sometimes be obscured by the diversity of our operations. We offer financial solutions to private investors, and to businesses, institutional clients and professionals.
The CFM brand has been in existence since 1922, so to what strategy does this rebranding respond?
Crédit Foncier de Monaco was created in 1922 by Sovereign Order. Today it is 70% owned by the Crédit Agricole Group and 30% owned by wealthy Monegasque families. Our new brand, CFM Indosuez Wealth Management, is a translation of values we are highly committed to. It reflects our loyalty to Monaco, where our presence is very strong. It also expresses our anchoring to the Crédit Agricole Group’s international network of wealth management, Indosuez Wealth Management.
This rebranding is the culmination of a strategic review carried out within the Crédit Agricole Group over several years, as I was saying. The banking environment is evolving in various ways. Regulation is becoming increasingly complex, and customer behaviour and demand are changing and internationalising under influence of globalisation. Moreover, we are in a context of increasingly complex financial markets in which the money market is becoming an asset class in its own right, for example.
What changes does this rebranding have on the bank’s governance, but also its customers?
In 2012, all these context elements we were talking about, led the Group to commit to a transformation of its wealth management offering and governance. The goal was to further improve the visibility of our wealth management operations for both customers and staff.
The idea was also to clearly distinguish the wealth management operations of Indosuez Wealth Management from the private banking present at Crédit Agricole’s regional branches.
With the term ‘wealth management’ we are therefore expressing what is already a strong reality for our bank’s customers: our product and service offering is much broader than that of a private bank. The quality of our offering and our management has also won awards from Euromoney Private Banking 2015: no. 1 bank for commercial bank services, no. 1 bank for high net worth customers ($M 5-30), no. 1 bank for asset management.
What is the strength of the Indosuez network, which some people perhaps lack a good understanding of?
The Indosuez Wealth Management network brings together 2700 staff through 30 locations in 14 countries worldwide. Together, they manage over euro 110 billion of our customers’ assets. In Monaco, with over 360 staff, CFM Indosuez Wealth Management is the financial centre’s largest banking and financial employer. We are active in all areas of banking. And our exclusives ? Our policy centre is located in Monaco, which our customers particularly appreciate. We make 7 branches available to our customers, covering all of Monaco’s territory. We also have the leading trading room in Monaco and the French Riviera, with a team of recognised experts to serve all our investor customers, whatever their level of sophistication.
What does your majority shareholder, the Crédit Agricole Group, represent today?
Our majority shareholder is one of the leading banking players in Europe and the leading financier of the French economy. The Group is also the leading European asset manager, the leading bankinsurer in Europe and Europe’s number three player in project financing. It shows great financial solidity, with €92.9bn equity and a non phased Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 13.7% at 31 December 2015. The stability and strength of our shareholder are essential benefits for CFM Indosuez in an environment undergoing great structural, regulatory and financial change. Investors know this, and we are seeing the arrival of new customers who understand the value of working with a bank which is solid, transparent, reliable over time, and with high-level expertise.
On Monday 22 February 2016, the European Union and the Principality of Monaco signed an agreement allowing automatic exchange of information on their respective residents’ accounts from 2018, with the objective of combating tax fraud in Europe. What future do you see for the Monegasque financial centre?
Predicting the future in this area is difficult. I can only note in the statistics a fall in the number of banks and a significant rise in the number of management companies. Automatic information exchange, as well as all the regulations, require increasingly sophisticated experts and growing numbers of them in financial institutions. CFM Indosuez Wealth Management’s market leadership in Monaco and the backing of the Crédit Agricole Group are very clearly valuable benefits, and guarantees of our bank’s solidity and reliability for investors, be they private, corporate or institutional. These benefits will enable us to play a major role in the future transformations of the banking landscape in Monaco.
Photo credit: © O. Warter/Sopress