PORTRAIT Greg Ehret, Executive Vice President, Head of the EMEA region at State Street Global Advisors

A career at State Street

le 15/06/2012 L'AGEFI Hebdo

At a time when employee loyalty seems to be a thing of the past, Greg Ehret, currently Vice President and Head of the EMEA region at State Street Global Advisors, is a notable exception to the new rule: "During my 19 years with State Street, I have held 13 different positions, he explains. The firm has given me the opportunity to follow a diversified and interesting career path. Hence my loyalty". Dynamic is a word that fits Greg Ehret: when starting out on his career in the early 1990s in the US, he held a series of jobs in the asset custody sector, while studying at the same time for an MBA at Boston University. Not surprisingly, after such a busy life, Greg Ehret felt the need for a break: he was tempted to spend a year skiing with his family, but in the end he opted for Bermuda where, at the end of the 1990s, he was welcomed with open arms for one year by State Street. When he returned to the US in 2000 he joined the Global Advisors division, which now has €1.500 billion of assets under management. He was responsible in particular for offshore funds and then for the launch of ETFs (exchange traded funds), a sector whose dynamism and explosive growth still fill him with enthusiasm: "You never expect to see an asset class grow by 30 % a year during a decade. Obviously, it’s one thing when it involves 15 billion dollars, but when you’re talking about a 400 billion dollar industry it’s a totally different ballgame", he explains.

In 2006, he crossed the Atlantic when he was appointed head of sales and marketing in London, with a focus on the ETF sector, before being promoted to his current position. During his numerous trips - he tries to visit the countries for which he is responsible at least twice a year -, he has learned the cultural differences between investment practices: the sophistication of the Nordic countries, the domination of trustees across the channel and the supremacy of insurance in France and Italy. As regards the state of the industry, Greg Ehret, whose firm finalised the acquisition of Bank of Ireland Asset Management one year ago, expects the consolidation cycle to continue: "The entry barriers in the asset management sector are very low, he explains. Therefore boutiques will always be start-ups and at some point in time they will always need for liquidity reasons to find an outside buyer.". Will State Street GA participate in this movement? "At the current time we are very busy focusing on our organic growth", he concludes.

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