"The financial center should be open for change"
Director Sales Switzerland, Janus Henderson
Fedor Plambeck started his career over 25 years ago in the equities business of SBC Warburg. His career then took him via Merrill Lynch and Barclays to BZ Bank and Deutsche Bank, where he worked for four years in the sales department for institutional clients in Switzerland. Plambeck joined Janus Henderson in 2018 and holds a degree in business administration from the University of Zurich and is a CFA charterholder.
Mr. Plambeck, what does Janus Henderson stand for in the asset management universe?
Janus Henderson's ambition is to achieve benchmark outperformance for its clients through active management over market cycles. To achieve this, we have around 350 investment specialists who actively advise our clients. They are an important driver of the outperformance we strive for. The close network of contacts with clients is at the heart of our active approach.
Is the UK asset management culture different from Switzerland?
Henderson Global Investors, founded in 1934, has its roots in the UK. Before the merger with Janus Capital Group, which was previously based in the US, strategies were predominantly based on bottom-up analysis. Making the two cultures compatible was a key challenge after the merger in 2017, and today I can say with conviction that we succeeded. The merger at eye level has created a global platform in which the original origin of the company part, division or employee does not play a role. Instead, the global network of sales and investment specialists enables us to combine the best ideas and competencies with an in-depth understanding of our clients' needs.
You made your career in sales: What set you on this path?
I gained my first experience over 25 years ago when I entered the professional world in sales after my business studies, first in investment banking. I stayed true to sales in my professional career because it is an exciting, dynamic job for me, and I really value the daily customer contact. Due to digitalisation, new working methods, increased customer orientation and sustainability requirements, sales must constantly reposition itself and remain flexible to be prepared today for the needs of tomorrow.
How have the requirements in sales changed over the decades?
Due to digitalisation and the associated availability of information, client needs today are more differentiated and rightly more demanding, for example regarding ESG requirements. Accordingly, it is now essential to offer a comprehensive, transparent range of products and to ensure direct communication between clients and experts. At Janus Henderson, we therefore place great emphasis on a partnership with our clients - and this is where we come into play in our sales activities. We see ourselves as a partner and strive to further develop our offering, to adapt it to the needs of our clients and to support our clients' decision-making with expert assessments throughout the investment cycle.
Knowledge and expertise in sustainable finance is increasingly becoming a requirement: How does Janus Henderson address these client requirements?
Being a global asset management firm brings with it important responsibilities. For us as active managers, this means that the integration of ESG criteria into our investment decisions and investment practices is also fundamental to achieving the results that clients want and expect. We are convinced that ESG will continue to be an important part of successful selection in the future. That is why we have continued to build our capabilities in this area.
To be able to meet the most diverse client requirements, we have built our investment platform accordingly diverse and flexible. ESG criteria are an essential component of the investment process followed by our investment teams and determine, among other things, our risk considerations. While ESG criteria are incorporated into the processes of all our investment teams, we also offer focus strategies.
What is the biggest challenge for you in your job?
Our investment teams and their approaches, products and parameters are all designed with our clients in mind. Especially in times of dynamic, partly unpredictable developments, as they have been increasingly taking place for more than two years, this client orientation requires from us a short reaction time, efficient processes and, above all, transparency with regard to investment performance. As a sales team, it is crucial to always offer above-average service, to always be there for the clients and to elicit their needs. At the same time, we want to continue to grow with new clients. This requires a well-functioning team that works together, supports and encourages each other, and understands how to respond to client needs in the best possible way.
If you could determine changes for the Swiss asset management location: What would you suggest?
Switzerland as a location is very important for both Swiss and foreign asset managers. In order to maintain or improve this status, it is essential that Switzerland remains attractive as a place to work and that the next generation of very well-trained specialists is ensured. In addition to political stability, the regulatory environment is also key. In areas such as sustainable finance, blockchain and private markets, there are additional opportunities to assume or further consolidate a leading role. In my view, good cooperation between policymakers, regulators and the asset management industry is eminently important. The speed of adapting to changes in the industry can certainly be improved. The financial center should be open for change, as the pace of change is accelerating. Here, too, it seems important to me to consciously take certain risks. Only if one is aware of the risks is there the possibility to react promptly if the risks outweigh them.
Where do you find a balance to your job?
Besides my family, which provides me with the important balance to my professional everyday life, I am an enthusiastic country hockey player. I have been a player in the country hockey section of the Grasshopper Club Zurich since my youth. This marginal sport enables me to participate in international competitions and achieve sporting success to this day. This has also led to many friendships. I also like to spend time in the mountains, skiing or enjoying the landscape. Basically, I can switch off best together with people who are important to me. The good thing about my job is that it gives me a lot of pleasure.
What other goals have you set for yourself - outside of your job?
There are several: The most important personal goal is certainly to always be there for my family and friends when they need me. Another goal is to organise my free time in such a way that I can enjoy it and recharge my batteries. But it is also important for me to be able to be spontaneous and not to plan every minute. Personal development is also one of the long-term goals. After successfully completing the CFA ESG Certificate in 2022, a medium-term goal is to prepare myself for the second CAIA exam. Then there are also goals that can be ticked off as soon as they are done, such as planning and completing a roof renovation with the installation of a photovoltaic system this year.