Founder and Managing Director of Perennium
Arnaud Apffel is the founder and Managing Director of Perennium, an investment management advisory firm dedicated to the non-profit world. An HEC graduate (1991), he has a previous career in investment banking, asset management and wealth management. His past roles include Head of Strategic Equity for Goldman Sachs in Europe (ECM), and head of Global Investments for Deutsche Bank Asset & Wealth Management EMEA. In 2014, Arnaud started teaching Sustainable & Responsible Investing in the MIF.
- What brought you to teach a course in the HEC MIF?
Teaching, and coming back to the HEC campus, had been on my radar for quite some time. I wanted to pass on some of the knowledge I had acquired, and transmit the passion. The opportunity came during discussions with Jacques Olivier on the addition of this course to the MIF portfolio: this was for me a perfect topic, close to my heart and experience, and most importantly very relevant for anyone interested in how capital markets can help address the social and environmental challenges we're confronting.
- How is the course structured?
There is an alternance of sessions providing the framework (history, methodology, landscape, theory and practical cases...) with sessions focused on the experience of leading practitioners (guest speakers). The academic framework is key because the way SRI is usually addressed lacks depth and rigor. But the experience part is an indispensable complement: it broadens the horizon of students, allows for very rich exchanges and discussions, as well as giving ideas of possible careers and job types. This year, I have invited the CEOs of three entities: an ESG research agency, an impact investing firm, and a sustainable asset manager.
- What are you views about the future of SRI (Sustainable & Responsible Investing)?
We need to counter a lack of understanding: some people still think SRI is about excluding a few sectors from a portfolio, based on ethical considerations, and leaving some money on the table in the process. That was 30 years ago... today 1 out of 10 US$ invested globally follows broad SRI principles, and the story is far from over. Sustainable & Responsible Investing is now at the crossroads of many fields, just to name a few: capital markets, asset management, legislation & regulation, technology innovation, brand & communication, venture capital, corporate governance, ecology... This is what makes it fascinating, but also challenging. We need more academic researchers, we need more entrepreneurs, we need more investors, we need more scientists, and we need them to be acting together. Only then will we be able to successfully address the formidable challenges our planet and society face up to.