Alain Grisay, Chief Executive Officer of F&C
A Belgian at the head of the oldest British fund manager.
Alain Grisay is one of the very few "foreigners" to run an Anglo-Saxon fund management company. As its Chief Executive Officer likes to point, F&C "is the oldest British fund manager. It was established in 1868 and we still manage the very first investment trust." Alain Grisay, a Belgian national, very quickly developed a taste for "cultural diversity". After graduating with a business law degree from the University of Louvain, he completed his studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, where he gained a master’s degree in international economics and political science. He began his professional career in the United States in 1979 when he was recruited by JPMorgan, where he spent almost twenty years, first of all on the commercial banking side. Then, in 1986, he moved to the bank’s London office, which opened up new career prospects for him. "I became Head of the Fixed Income Department, he recalls, then Managing Director with responsibility for the European market." His mission: to develop the investment bank’s commercial relations and to support the roll-out of the bank’s offices in various European countries.
With the new millennium, Alain Grisay was tempted by a change of career direction and in March 2001 he joined F&C as Head of Institutional Business. "At the time, F&C had just been taken over by Eureko, the largest Dutch insurance company, which wanted to expand outside its home country", he recalls. His international profile appealed to the company. Deputy Chief Executive, Alain Grisay joined the company’s board of directors in October 2004 after the merger of F&C and Isis Asset Management, before becoming, in 2006, Chief Executive Officer. "It was a challenge, he readily admits, because of my nationality, even if the part of my career spent with a very prestigious investment bank worked in my favour." Nevertheless, he has succeeded in steering a steady course, with assets under management unchanged between 2007 and 2008, i.e. at the height of the crisis. Aged 56, this lover of classic cars has only one regret, namely that he was unable to take part in this year’s Beijing-Paris rally, as he had done in 2007, when at the wheel of his Chevrolet 1941 he managed to complete the 16,000 km which separate the two points of the globe in four weeks. "Perhaps in three years, when the crisis will surely be behind us," he suggests confidently.