INTERVIEW - Meet the editorial board: Roel Menken, KPMG
Short-termism is to a large extent driven by the (perceived) pressure of analysts, public opinion, shareholders and supervisors to continue to act as if the old ‘quick win’ approach is what matters. In fact this perception creates a deadlock that very few benefit from.
Roel Menken is the first to tell us about the changes he would like to see in the financial sector. He is a partner within the Dutch KPMG Advisory practice. Roel is responsible for the Investment Management and Pensions Advisory Services as well as for the Financial Risk Management advisory team of KPMG in The Netherlands.
What is your personal motivation to SHIFT TO?
'It was tempting to think that after the financial crisis everything would return to the ‘normal’ market situation, focused largely on short-term gain, that most of us were - and to an extent still are - comfortable with. However I prefer to contribute to the ‘new normal’ in which long-term investing and thinking is the rule and not the exception, rather than remaining part of the ‘old school’ legacy of short-termism. That is why I want to SHIFT TO.'
How does this fit into your professional ambitions?
'I am a strong believer in creating an environment of transparency and commitment in the financial sector – an environment in which people can focus on doing the ‘right’ thing without having to worry that their efforts (which may not bring short-term returns) are not being noticed, supported and rewarded. Creating this type of environment requires a different mindset and a different tone at the top within organisations. Long-termism is aligned with this, and requires a similar ‘mindshift’ for the industry as a whole, as well as a profound change in the attitude, expectations and behaviour of all the stakeholders.'
In your opinion, where should the financial industry be in seven years’ time?
'In seven years’ time long-termism should be mainstream and fully embraced by all the stakeholders in the financial industry.'
Who should we definitely hear from in this newsroom?
'SHIFT TO readers should hear from Theo Kocken, the CEO of Cardano Group, which is the European market leader in strategic risk management and derivatives overlays. In the past 25 years Theo – who is both an academic and a practitioner - has demonstrated that he is an unconstrained thinker within the financial industry who is able and willing to challenge the status quo.'
Which issue is most urgent in your view/field of work?
'Short-termism is to a large extent driven by the (perceived) pressure of analysts, public opinion, shareholders and supervisors to continue to act as if the old ‘quick win’ approach is what matters. In fact this perception creates a deadlock that very few benefit from. In my opinion an urgent shift from narrow old-fashioned thinking is needed. An important first step is to start putting more emphasis on unconstrained thinking – bringing innovative and even radical new ideas and practices to the table, which open up fresh routes to successful long-term investing. - rather than only focusing on restrictions, expectations and peers.'
The members of the editorial board of SHIFT TO all have professional but also very personal reasons to join this initiative. In a ‘relay interview’ we learn more about their motivations as they ask each other: ‘Why do you want to SHIFT TO?’
Passing the baton: Roel Menken invites Gerard Roest to be the next participant in this ‘relay interview’.
Reason: 'Gerard has demonstrated that he is a strong believer in ESG and long-termism.'
Roel adds one question: 'To what extent is it possible for pension funds to shift their mindset to long-termism in the current environment of low funding ratios?'