2023 turned out to be another year of abrupt and profound changes in global financial markets. The four major transitions that have come to the fore since the pandemic – sustainability, artificial intelligence (AI), geopolitics and demography – combined with an intensifying regulatory environment continued to impact the markets and the asset management industry.
Throughout last year’s turbulence, we navigated these challenges in a frequently volatile market environment to generate the best possible performance for the assets you entrust with us. We marked several achievements, which I am happy to highlight here:
- In a difficult and uncertain macroeconomic environment, with higher inflation and interest rates, our money market strategies and our other fixed income capabilities performed extremely well. Our Fixed Income Chief Investment Officer, Olivier de Larouzière, gained recognition in being named CIO of the Year by Funds Europe magazine.
- We reinforced our positioning as ‘the sustainable asset manager for a changing world’. We grew our environmental, social & governance (ESG) fund range, with a focus on ESG fixed income exchange-traded funds (ETFs). We continued to invest in our ESG data programme to support the further integration of ESG in our investment portfolios and products.
- We have launched our private assets division (now approximately 35 bln euro) by bringing together all expertise of BNP Group. We have also acquired a majority stake in the biodiversity investment specialist, International Woodland Company (IWC), to add a natural capital capability to our private assets offering.
- We continued to invest in technology to support our Portfolio Managers in their daily portfolio decisions and to improve our risk management processes. As an example, an increasing number of trades now take place automatically or semi-automatically.
- Our joint venture (JV) with ABC, the fourth largest financial services group in China, became operational and we launched our first funds for ABC’s local wealth management clients.
The transition forces we saw at play in 2023 will doubtless make themselves felt again this year.
That being so, we will continue to strive – day in, day out – to provide the long-term investment solutions that can help you face the ‘new reality’ of our world and our industry. I invite you to read our Investment Outlook 2024 – Stepping into a new reality, which details our insights in this new context.
Other recent and upcoming milestones you can expect from us include:
- The new update to our Global Sustainability Strategy, which describes how we will work towards our ambition of being even more transparent and science-led in our approach to sustainability. We believe this will help us generate improved risk-adjusted excess returns for the assets we manage for you – returns that can also have positive environmental and social impacts. We will develop our net zero and sustainable solutions and publish our roadmap approach to equality. We will continue to engage with investee companies to encourage them to improve their ESG performance, and we will ‘walk the talk’ ourselves – by seeking greater sustainability in our own operations.
- We will endeavour to deliver a positive performance for your assets through the quality of our teams’ contribution in our key capabilities (high conviction strategies, systematic and quantitative investment, multi-assets, emerging markets, and private assets) and will continue to develop our ETF range.
- Our new private assets business unit helps us deliver products that are less sensitive to the economic cycle. We will launch a series of funds, including in forestry, to complement our range with a fully sustainable alternative asset class.
- Having successfully migrated all our IT applications to the cloud, we will be able to enhance our use of data while controlling cybersecurity risk, and to accelerate on delivering better service to you, including in extra-financial reporting.
On behalf of our teams, who are more than ever focused on navigating the uncertain and volatile market environment to tend to the assets you entrust us with, I wish you and all those who are close to you the very best for the New Year!