Marc-André Bechet is Director Legal & Tax of ALFI, the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry. He joined the association in September 2014.
Before joining ALFI, Marc-André Bechet was Head of the Investment Funds Services at Banque Degroof Luxembourg, responsible for fund administration and custody. He was also a member of Banque Degroof’s Management Board.
Prior to joining Banque Degroof, Marc-André Bechet worked for 18 years at RBC Investor Services Bank S.A. in Luxembourg, where he held various senior positions including Head of Custody and Network Management, and Head of Business Development and Relationship Management, Legal and Compliance.
Mr. Bechet holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa (Canada) and a Master's degree in Finance from the French business school ESCP in Paris. He speaks English, French, German and Luxembourgish.
Anouk Agnes is the Deputy General Director at ALFI, the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry since April 2012.
Before joining ALFI, Ms Agnes worked as an Advisor at the Ministry of Finance, with her main responsibilities related to the Government’s policy in favour of the development of the financial sector. As such, Ms Agnes acted as the Secretary of the High-level Committee for the Financial Centre and as Director of Strategy of Luxembourg for Finance, the Agency for the development of the financial centre.
She has furthermore been in charge of monitoring a number of projects in favour of microfinance, socially responsible investments and Islamic finance.
Before joining the Ministry of Finance, Ms Agnes worked in the field of development cooperation,i.e. for the Asian Development Bank and for Lux-Development.
Ms Agnes holds Master’s degrees in law and political science and is fluent in English, French, German and Luxembourgish.
Denise Voss is the Chairman of ALFI, the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry.
Denise is Conducting Officer of Franklin Templeton Investments, she has worked in the financial industry in Luxembourg since 1990. She joined Franklin Templeton Investments in 1995 and is currently Conducting Officer and board member of Franklin Templeton International Services S.à r.l., a Luxembourg-based management company, managing both UCITS and AIFs, in and outside of the EU.
Prior to joining Franklin Templeton Investments, she worked in the audit division of Coopers & Lybrand in Boston, USA and Luxembourg for over 9 years. Denise holds a Massachusetts C.P.A. license and obtained an undergraduate degree from Tufts University, as well as a masters degree in accountancy from Bentley College.
Camille Thommes is the Director General of ALFI, the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry. He joined the association back in 2007.
Before ALFI, Camille Thommes was in in charge of the Investment Fund Department at the State and Savings Bank, Luxembourg (BCEE) from 2001-2006, after holding various senior positions in the Securities & Custody department since 1993. He started his professional career in 1986 at Banque Générale du Luxembourg (now BGL-BNP Paribas) where he held positions in the Securities and Custody Division.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Luxembourg Supervisory Authority (CSSF) and a member of the Consultative Committee for Prudential Regulation. Camille is also a member of the High-Level Committee of the Financial Centre set up by the Ministry of Finance. Furthermore, he represents ALFI at the Board of Directors of the European Fund and Asset Management association (EFAMA) and is a Board member of PROFIL SA and XBRL asbl.
Camille holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg (France), completed the Accelerated Development Program at the London Business School and accomplished traineeships in London and New York.
A Luxembourg native, Camille is fluent in English, French and German.
Beside institutional investors who used to be the driving force on the responsible investing market, more and more retail investors are striving to invest with impact. Their aim is no longer just to achieve a financial return, but to also generate measurable social and environmental benefits.
The asset management industry has recognised both the significant potential and opportunities this trend offers the financial sector and the positive impact that responsible investment strategies can have on the life of mankind as a whole.
Many fund sponsors are adjusting their product offering accordingly. The number of investment funds integrating Environment, Social and Governance (“ESG”) criteria into their investment processes is increasing rapidly.
In order to assess the responsible investing market, its size, its product categories and the leading domiciles for this type of fund, ALFI has commissioned a series of surveys whose findings validate its belief that the concept of responsible investing has enormous potential.
ALFI has been fostering the development of the responsible investing sector since 2006 when it participated in the formation of the Luxembourg Fund Labelling Agency (LuxFLAG), an independent, not-for-profit association whose aim is to support the financing of sustainable development by providing clarity for investors through awarding its labels to eligible investment funds. While LuxFLAG initially focused exclusively on the microfinance sector, the agency is now granting transparency labels to eligible investment funds in Environment and ESG as well.
In recognition of Luxembourg’s position as a centre of excellence in the field of inclusive finance, and in order to further foster financial inclusion worldwide, ALFI has joined the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg Asbl (InFiNe.lu), a national platform that brings together public, private and civil society actors involved in inclusive finance and based in Luxembourg. The mission of InFiNe.lu is to leverage expertise in Luxembourg to advance financial inclusion worldwide.
Training & investor education
Training fund industry professionals ... and private investors
The challenge of implementing and complying with a myriad of regulations adopted since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008 keeps demand for professional training courses familiarising fund industry professionals with the new provisions at a high level.
Under the responsibility of its Professional Training Committee, ALFI, in collaboration with the House of Training, is currently offering more than 65 fund industry related training modules leading to certification for a broad range of career paths.
Courses cover fund industry basics (legal environment, social life, compliance matters...) and alternative funds (real estate, private equity or hedge funds) as well as the various aspects of the highly diverse investment fund value chain, from fund accounting to transfer agency and the custodial bank function. As a result of the progressive implementation of the Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive (AIFMD), real estate and private equity related courses have generated a great deal of interest, with over 50% the total annual subscriptions in 2015, in the same manner as courses covering AML/KYC and compliance.
Taking investment decisions without professional advice requires a minimum level of basic knowledge to avoid the potential pitfalls that may be lurking at the various stages of the investment process.
That’s why ALFI has set up its dedicated website www.understandinginvesting.org that provides financial novices easy to understand guidance on the basic principles of dealing with money. Of course, this website does not deliver unerring advice “how to become a millionaire in three months", it is focusing on explaining "how money works", why it may lose value over time under the effect of inflation, what can be done to preserve its value and to, ideally, make it grow over time; and much more.
Legal & Regulatory
Luxembourg’s alternative landscape is flourishing. ALFI and its members are eagerly awaiting the introduction of a new AIFMD compliant fund regime – the so called “RAIF”.
Capital Markets Union (CMU): a single capital market in the interest of investors
ALFI is monitoring very closely the development of the CMU and its impact on the investment fund sector. This initiative notably seeks to create new cross border investment opportunities for investors and to promote venture capital and infrastructure investment vehicles.
The European Long-Term Investment Fund (ELTIF) was created by the EU to help encourage sustainable growth. The ELTIF regulation became applicable in December 2015. The ALFI ELTIF WG has been working on a FAQ, which is providing members with useful considerations when considering setting up such a fund.
FATCA, CRS, BEPS
2015 has been the year “par excellence” for automatic exchange of information with the entry into force and application of FATCA between the US and Luxembourg on the one hand and, the implementation of Common Reporting Standard with regards mandatory automatic exchange of information at EU level and subsequently in Luxembourg as from 1 January 2016 on the other hand. 2015 has also been the year of the release of OECD final reports on the 15 BEPS Actions with ALFI focussing, in particular, on BEPS Action 6 “Preventing the Granting of Treaty Benefits in Inappropriate Circumstances” and its impacts on treaty access of investment funds. More follow-up work on BEPS Actions is expected in 2016.
MiFID II – a new distribution paradigm?
Investor protection and transparency are at the heart of MiFID II which will have practical impacts on fund manufacturers and distributors. ALFI has been accompanying its members in understanding the implications of the Directive for their business.
As from 31 December 2016, UCITS and AIF management companies may need to provide a PRIIPs KID or PRIIPs KID compliant information to their investors and distributors. ALFI and EFAMA are working together on the practicalities of this move.
The Solvency II regime came into force on 1st January 2016. ALFI organised a free member seminar in February that focused primarily on reporting obligations under the Solvency II Directive to help members understand of a standard template used in the asset management industry.
ALFI published the third edition of its Swing Pricing Guidelines and a second Swing Pricing Survey in December 2015. Timing was perfect, as the survey and the guidelines were published prior to the end of the consultation on this topic by the US regulator, the SEC.
T2S will change the European settlement landscape in a very radical way. T2S will provide an integrated operational environment. With T2S there will be a single set of rules and standards for all transactions across Europe. ALFI continues to assess and explain the implications for its members.