Kempen at the FCLTGlobal Summit in New York
Q&A with Christy Jesudasan, Head of Consultant Relations for Kempen
Christy Jesudasan and CIO Lars Dijkstra represented Kempen at the FCLTGlobal Summit in New York on 28 February 2018. The event brought together top leadership of FCLTGlobal member organisations with policy makers, academics, corporations, asset owners and asset managers to discuss and define the current state of FCLTGlobal and review and refine the next steps in focusing capital on the long term.
Kempen has been an active FCLTGlobal member since the not-for-profit was established in 2016. Leveraging that mutually supportive relationship, Christy and Lars acted as hosts at a new initiative: the Kempen Dinners. These dinners gave a small invited group of key players from the Summit the chance to informally share their insights as they shared an extraordinary meal at one of NYC’s top-rated restaurants.
Q: Christy, what made this FCLTGlobal Summit so significant?
The last Summit took place three years ago, and that’s a good time span in which to get the members together and to be able to see growth in the membership, and the research and practices that are driving momentum. [Note: In March 2015 the Long Term Value Summit was spearheaded by The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and McKinsey as part of its FCLT initiative; FCLTGlobal was formally established as a not-for-profit in July 2016. The next FCLTGlobal Summit will be held in 2020.] This 2018 Summit brought together over 150 global leaders – asset managers and asset owners, corporations and academics to focus on a common goal to increase the focus on the longer term. It’s a unique gathering.
Q: How so? What made the Summit unique?
Most conferences are about passively sitting and listening to a couple of key speakers and probably a bit of networking; interesting for the afternoon, but it doesn’t stay with you. What was nice about the Summit is that it’s about rolling your sleeves up, getting dirty, getting into the real heart of the issue.
What FCLTGlobal did very well was to have high profile presenters – names like Larry Fink and Mark Wiseman of BlackRock, Dominic Barton of McKinsey, Paul Polman of Unilever (and I could keep going) provide their insights, with challenging panel discussions.
But what I liked especially were the roundtables; groups of eight to ten people with one lead per table. There was no ego, no one was saying ‘Hey, we’re better at this than you’; this was about learning and sharing experiences. For me it was a real privilege to be there and soak in the information. And to quote Sarah Williamson, the CEO of FCLTGlobal, this was about ‘practical practical practical’: what are the practical things you are doing, what are the key takeaways.
Q: What role did Kempen play at the FCLTGlobal Summit?
Formally, Lars chaired one of topics and I was invited as a subject matter expert, so we both were there to synthesise the results of the roundtable discussions to a few key points that could be shared. And of course we were there to learn and to meet members of the initiative. Because of the relationship we’ve built with FCLTGlobal over the years, I also see this as a two-way street: an opportunity for Kempen to learn, collaborate and share ideas we can then bring back to Kempen.
Q: What role does FCLTGlobal have for you personally?
Part of this is about “doing the right thing” and how I can help Kempen at a firm level organise itself to make that happen. I chair an internal business working group with representatives from the different business areas such as pension funds, family offices, wealth management and portfolio management teams looking to develop long-term strategies to fit FCLTGlobal aspirations. I act as a ‘champion’ of FCLTGlobal to promote it internally and externally, running two events in London over the last two years which I helped organise with FCLTGlobal.
That said, New York City is a long way to go, and from last November I’ve been planning how we could best use our time at the Summit from a Kempen perspective – we’ve felt we could do more with it than just attend a conference.
Q: So that is where the idea for the Kempen Dinners came from?
Yes. If you’re at a Summit from 8AM until 6PM, you don’t get any time to actually digest what you’ve participated in.
With New York we wanted a way to get to know FCLTGlobal members and their perspectives more personally, and dinner is an informal way to process the day and share insights.
Q: Who was in attendance at the dinners?
The guests were a mix of representatives from corporations, asset owners, asset managers, consultants and other industry think tanks. The format of the dinners was quite free flowing. It was about getting to know each other as FCLTGlobal members (or potential members), and outside of the context of the Summit to speak honestly about how things are going in our respective organisations, what we are doing and the challenges that we are facing.
Attendees: Lars Dijkstra (CIO, Kempen), Mark Wiseman (Global Head, Active Equities; Chairman, BlackRock Alternative Investors), Beth Brooke Marciniak (Global Vice Chair for Public Policy, EY), Matt Whineray (CIO, New Zealand Super Fund), Kam Chang (Head of Client Advisory, SECOR Asset Management), Christy Jesudasan (Director, Kempen), Stan Mavromates (CIO, Mercer), Lady Lynn Forester De Rothschild (CEO, E.L. Rothschild, LLC), Paul Smith (President and CEO, CFA Institute), Tim Hodgson (Head of Thinking Ahead Group, Willis Towers Watson)
Q: How was the feedback from your dinner guests?
Overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive.
Q: After the New York summit, do you see overall momentum in the shift to a long term focus?
There is visible momentum. The question mark is, of course, if the Summit is preaching only to the converted – but I don’t think so.
The real challenge is the KPIs: how do we measure where we are, and where we’re heading? The truth is we're still living and acting in the short term in many ways. That’s the challenge we at Kempen, and I personally, are focused on: we want to contribute to FCLTGlobal KPIs. And as FCLTGlobal members we feel we can do more. So what Lars and I are going to do is engage with other staff in Amsterdam, London, and Paris, to share what we at Kempen can do to make some of the evolving FCLTGlobal ideas practical, and tangible, for ourselves and our clients.
Internal Kempen presentation to staff on 23 March 2018
Q: Do you feel the dinners have pushed forward the FCLTGlobal goals of strategic alliances between its members? Any new projects or plans?
Yes, a few things have already happened. I just had a meeting with Steve Boxer, the Managing Director of FCLTGlobal and we had a great conversation about KPIs. We have arranged a meeting in Amsterdam with Adam Robbins, the World Economic Forum’s Practice Lead on Long-Term Investing Initiatives (who was one of our Kempen Dinner attendees in NYC) in a few weeks. They are developing research around active investor stewardship where we may be able to contribute, so this is indeed about collaboration and alliances.
If the success of an event is measured 50% on the day, and 50% what happens afterward, we think the Kempen Dinners are already successful; action has arisen from the event, as well as from the greater context of the FCLTGlobal Summit. It was a great occasion to bring a lot of people together, the real leaders in the shift to the long term, and Kempen was able to contribute both in front of and behind the scenes.
Attendees: Ellen Quigley (Senior Programme Manager, Investment Leaders Group), Gert Dijkstra (Senior Managing Director, APG Asset Management), Lars Dijkstra (CIO, Kempen), Robert Dudley (Group Chief Executive, BP), Jean-Luc Gravel (Executive Vice-President, Equity Markets, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec), Alison Loat (Managing Director, FCLTGlobal), Christy Jesudasan (Director, Kempen), Mary Cline (Senior Policy Advisor, EY), James Shapiro (Resident Director North America, Tata Sons Limited), Adam Robbins (Practice Lead, Long-Term Investing Initiatives, World Economic Forum), Steve Boxer (Managing Director, FCLTGlobal)
Q: What comes next?
We will be doing more promotion, internally and externally, of the FCLTGlobal research that we have contributed to; for example the Anchors for long term mandates report, which is summed up by the Top Ten List For Long-term Mandates. That Top Ten list is a nice format for talking about lots of topics, in a structured way, with asset owners and managers.
In fact this is Kempen’s contribution to FCLTGlobal. If you look at it, Kempen is positioned in a special way . It’s our unique relationship; we run money as an active engaged asset manager for asset owners and have a client solutions business whereby we contract with asset managers, so if we expect our asset owners to implement this Top Ten framework, we have to do this with our asset managers too. We are uniquely positioned to promote this to both angles. This is why we organise, together with KPMG, a Dutch FCLT round table discussion with asset owners, asset managers and corporates. We are looking forward to bring the discussion further in other markets.
In the end I have my eye on 2020 and the next FCLTGlobal Summit. It’s not that far away. So, what do we need to do between now and then so that we can actually look back and say yes, in the past two years this is what we’ve achieved? It’s the evidence-based approach that FCLTGlobal insists upon, and it’s something I’m passionate about.