Luc Olivier, Impact Investing Fund Manager at La Financière de l’Echiquier
Tell us about your career path.
Once I’d completed my master’s degree in Banking & Finance from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, I continued my studies with a dual master’s in Management and MSc Corporate Finance at EDHEC Business School. I did a full-year internship on LFDE’s SRI team, then joined Exane in London. I returned to LFDE in 2017 with my new degree and stepped into the specially-created dual position of financial and non-financial analyst. However, I didn’t become schizophrenic – the two roles are a natural pairing, and a part of LFDE’s DNA. After three years of business analysis, I became co-manager of Echiquier Positive Impact Europe and then a strategy dedicated to the climate transition, which was launched at the end of 2020.
Why did you choose asset management?
My roots stretch from Béarn to Luxembourg; my education combined numbers and spirituality. They’re not incompatible, quite the contrary, just like SRI and performance, in fact. My parents – who are both into yoga and meditation, and both work in IT – taught me how to pay attention to the living, but also passed on the appeal of numbers. Very early on, I became aware of sustainable development, and my appetite for numbers found a natural solution: responsible and impact investing.
Is impact investing the main driver of positive change?
Because it directs capital to the most virtuous companies, the ones offering concrete solutions to the challenges of sustainable development, I believe impact investing is essential. It has two purposes: to reconcile financial profitability and impact performance on the environment and society. Impact investing is also, and especially, the daily commitment that managers make to companies, thanks to the great power of shareholding. Yes, it helps move the lines.
Beyond that, it’s up to each of us to act. Finance is not the only remedy. I think we should all be asking ourselves this question all the time: “What’s my personal impact?” I’m not just talking about turning off the lights when you leave a room or choosing your mode of transport – though I strongly encourage these – but the skill sets that can positively impact non-polluting sectors. When it’s pointed in the right direction, business can make a substantial positive impact.
What are you passionate about?
In “The Businessman’s Blues” (from the musical “Tycoon”), the character Zéro Janvier sings about having “wanted to be an artist” … I’m living the reverse. I inherited my grandfather’s passion. He sang in the choirs of the Opéra Comique de Paris. Like him, I’m a tenor. As a student, I immersed myself in the choral world and the staging of an opera, while also joining the board of a prestigious vocal music school in Paris. When I came to LFDE, I had to make a choice. The artist’s life isn’t really for me. A singer’s body is their instrument, with all the sacrifices that implies. However, vocal technique is phenomenal for the body – each right note creates this incredible experience. Singing is my passion.
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