“Too much money invested in deposits”

From the outset, Massimo Greco highlights the transformation brought by JP Morgan AM in terms of sustainable financing. “In a sector like ours, which hardly changes, this change happens at most once a generation,” he explains. The pace has accelerated so much that achieving a leadership position in sustainable investment has become a “priority” for the asset manager. “It’s what guides everything we do.”

Even if the transformation is happening at a constant pace, the head of EMEA funds would like to point out that this is a long-term strategy. Moreover, according to him, this is an issue that should not affect the current rise in energy prices. “If we’re going to substantially decarbonize our economy, this is a long-term approach.”

Decarbonizing the economy is one thing, making a profit for customers is another. On this occasion, Massimo Greco notes that “the trends that we identify in sustainable investing are so strong that they affect asset prices and returns.”

The energy project of the European Union is enormous. We are talking about several trillion that are going to be spent on facilitating the transition.

Massimo Greco

Massimo Greco, Head of EMEA Funds, JP Morgan AM

According to Massimo Greco, there will be no shortage of investment opportunities in Europe: “The European Union’s energy transition project is enormous. We are talking about several trillion that will be spent on facilitating the transition.” Investments that could be further accelerated by both the surge in energy prices and the desire for independence from some countries, said the head of EMEA funds at JP Morgan AM.

Selection of expert profiles

To support this transition to sustainable financial product offerings, JP Morgan AM has hired more new hires in this area than in others, says Massimo Greco. When asked how to identify suitable candidates in a rapidly developing field of knowledge, he is quite optimistic, explaining this by the fact that specialized diplomas are beginning to appear. He also seeks to refute the idea that the current academic outlook in this area remains weak.

Even if the recruitment of specialized profiles is not in itself a particular problem, the asset manager nevertheless often recruits its sustainable finance experts from outside the world of finance, among engineering or technology profiles.

Hired profiles do not need to undergo special training because they already have experience due to their professional experience. These experts are often former government officials, international institutions or multilateral development banks such as the World Bank or the European Development Bank (EIB). This compensates for the lack of special academic training.

Diversify products

Along with sustainable investments, the head of EMEA funds wants European consumers to have more choice in financial services. “Obviously, in the long term, too much money has been invested in deposits in Europe, and this is not very good for the economy,” he complains. It is also not in the interests of depositors.

There is still too much non-free distribution in Europe.

Massimo Greco

Massimo Greco, Head of EMEA Funds, JP Morgan AM

Still striving to diversify the offer, Massimo Greco notes that “there is still too much captive distribution in Europe”, lamenting that too often credit institutions offer their individual customers only the bank product itself. “We hope things change and we are actively present to provide more choice.”

All these ambitions are part of a “long-term” vision, recalls Massimo Greco. Ambitions that can be marked by macroeconomic challenges. “It is understandable that everyone is paying attention to the fact that efforts to fight inflation will plunge our economy into recession. And that’s really a risk we need to be aware of,” emphasizes JP Morgan AM, head of EMEA funds, pointing out that “governments have invested too much money to respond to the Covid-19 crisis” and that “stimulus spending could be too high,” although no one can predict the duration and full impact of the pandemic.