November 26, 2019

Lipper Alpha Expert Forum 2019 Review: Opportunities in Funds Management

by Jake Moeller.

On November 7, 2019 Refinitiv hosted the fourteenth annual Lipper Alpha Expert Forum in Canary Wharf, London.

Held in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment–the leading professional investment body in the U.K.– we welcomed some of the preeminent fund industry executives in Europe to share their views on key developments and challenges facing the industry today.

The Lipper Alpha Expert Forum was opened by George Littlejohn from the CISI and Refintiv’s Head of Sustainable Investing & Lipper Fund Analytics– Leon Saunders Calvert.

Refinitiv's Leon Saunders Calvert opens proceedings

Refinitiv’s Leon Saunders Calvert opens proceedings.

The Fund Flow Trends of 2019

Detlef Glow, Head of Lipper EMEA Research outlined the major trends revealed by fund flows throughout 2019.

Lipper’s Detlef Glow

His key findings (all figures to end of Q3) were:

  • Assets under management (AUM) in the Pan-European asset management stood at nearly €12 billion up from €10 billion at the end of 2018.
  • Active funds constituted 84% of total AUM, ETFs, 7% and index trackers 9%
  • Net inflows for 2019 stood at €200 billion with index trackers constituting 32% of flows, ETFs 31% and active funds 37%
  • Equity global (+€55 billion) was the bestselling Lipper classification. Equity Europe)-€21 billion) the worst
  • Blackrock maintain its dominance as the largest fund promoter by AUM with over €900 billion, followed by Amundi (€400 billion) and UBS (€340 billion)

Macro and Markets – The Outlook for 2020

Jake Moeller, head of Lipper UK & Ireland Research at Refinitiv hosted the 2020 investment strategy panel. The panelists were:

(l-r) Jake Moeller,  Maria Municchi, Patrick Armstrong, Andrew Milligan

The key findings by the panel were:

  • Central bank policy continues to be the major driver for global markets – this has driven risk aversion and volatility
  • Low growth and low inflation are established and underpin the investment environment
  • Brexit and US/ China trade war are still affecting sentiment. The US/ China situation may not be resolvable – this will create a stagflationary headwind. Regional investing will become more prevalent
  • Focus will move from equity market to bond volatility, but potentially low currency volatility may remain
  • Portfolio exposures were still “pro-risk” with the panellists liking equities – particularly Japan and Europe. Some value in bank and EM bonds and the long end of US treasuries

The Enduring Power of Passive and ETFs

Detlef Glow, head of Lipper EMEA Research at Refinitiv convened the ETF panel. The panelists were:

(l-r) Detlef Glow, MJ Lytle, Hector McNeil, David Lake

The key findings of the panel were:

  • ETFs should be thought of as a wrapper and are comparable to digital technology over analague technology (mutual fund structure)
  • Active ETFs will become more popular in the next few years
  • Firms are potentially in anti-competitive pricing with multiple charging structures on similar products
  • Concentration in the ETF market is potentially causing a barrier to entry for new entrants
  • Fixed income is very complicated with many sub-asset classes so indexing in this space is challenging and baskets may be too simple
  • ETFs are a democratic structure. Institutional investors and retail investors buy the same thing – investors need to shop around to get the full benefit of available exposures

Opportunities & Challenges Facing Fund Managers

Jake Moeller, head of Lipper UK & Ireland Research at Refinitiv hosted the challenges and opportunities for fund groups. The panelists were:

(l-r) Jake Moeller, Jasper Berens, Dawn Kendall, Stephen Jones

The key findings of the panel were:

  • The Woodford saga potentially will prevent new entrants from coming to market because of greater regulatory scrutiny
  • The Woodford saga highlights a deficiency in the way funds are marketed and investor expectations
  • Fund gatekeepers and fund groups need to work together to create better fund transparency
  • Intermediaries and consumers are changing the way they consume information. Fund groups need to adapt to this
  • Active fund groups need to adapt to pricing pressures and prove they can outperform passive vehicles
  • ESG will permeate all aspects of future product development as data and standards become better aligned
  • Technology will drive reforms in back office services and help reduce costs
  • Pensions reform and demographic changes offer fund groups excellent opportunities if they can create the correct product suite

Expert Opinions, Expert Audience

All the sessions at the Lipper Alpha Expert Forum experienced a high level of audience engagement, with lively questions and debate contributing to the success of the event. The three hours of Continuing Professional Development credit allocated to the event by CISI were well earned.

An audience member asks a question.

A live “Twitter Wall” proved popular during the event, with considerable activity posted via #LAEF2019.

Refinitiv is proud that Lipper can assemble such accomplished panellists to the Lipper Alpha Expert Forum. Our considerable gratitude is extended for their generosity and thought leadership. It is vital to the industry that their experience and knowledge be shared.

We look forward to welcoming you all back to the Lipper Alpha Expert Forum in 2020!


The Panellists

Patrick Armstrong

Patrick is CIO and co-heads Plurimi Investment Management. Previously he was CIO at Armstrong Investment Managers, co-head of Insight Investment’s Multi-Asset Group and Director at UBS. Patrick has an MBA from the Rotman School of Management and is a CFA Charterholder.



Andrew Milligan

Andrew Milligan OBE joined Standard Life Investments (now Aberdeen Standard Investments) in 2000 as Global Investment Strategist before being appointed Head of Global Strategy in January 2001. Prior to that, he was employed by HM Treasury, followed by Lloyds Bank where he was an Economic Adviser, and Smith New Court as an International Economist. In 1994, he was appointed Chief Economist with New Japan Securities Europe. He then moved to Morley Fund Management (now Aviva Investors) in 1996 to take up the position of Director of Economic Research & Business Risk.


Maria Municchi

Maria Municchi joined M&G in 2009 and is a member of the Multi Asset team and the Positive Impact team. She is the fund manager of the M&G Sustainable Multi Asset Fund and also deputy fund manager of the M&G Episode Income Fund. Before joining M&G, Maria worked at Barings and UBS Asset Management. She has an MSc in international management and finance and is a CFA charterholder.



MJ Lytle

Michael John (“MJ”) Lytle is CEO of Tabula Investment Management. Previously MJ was a founding partner in Source, an investment manager focused on the creation and distribution of exchange traded funds, including a partnership with PIMCO to create and distribute a range of fixed income ETFs.  Source was purchased by Invesco in 2017.  Prior to Source, MJ spent 18 years at Morgan Stanley with a variety of roles across corporate finance, capital markets origination, trading, sales, equity, fixed Income, private wealth and technology strategy.  MJ has a BA in Economics and Government from Dartmouth College with further studies at the London School of Economics.

Hector McNeil

Hector is a veteran of the ETF industry, establishing Susquehanna’s ETF desk in Europe, before co-founding ETF Securities in 2005. In 2011, Hector founded Boost ETP with Nik which, in 2014, became WisdomTree Europe with Hector as co-CEO. Following the buyout of BoostETP by WisdomTree Europe in 2016, Hector stepped down as co-CEO to establish HANetf, with business partner Nik Bienkowski.



David Lake

David Lake joined Lyxor in 2017 from Source Asset Management, where he was Head of Sales, UK & Ireland since 2014. Prior to that, he was Head of Structured Product Sales, UK & Ireland at RBS Investment Bank from 2008 until 2013, after working as Head of Listed Product Sales UK, Ireland & Nordics for SG Corporate and Investment Banking since 2002. Before that, David held several positions as corporate finance analyst and investment analyst. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Mathematics (Honors) and a MSC in Mathematics from King’s College London.


Dawn Kendall

Dawn Kendall is the Managing Director of SQN Asset Management Ltd, the UK manager of the SQN Secured Income Fund. Previously Dawn was a Partner, Portfolio Manager and Member of the Executive Committee at TwentyFour Asset Management. She started her career at SG Warburg (now UBS) and has since held senior investment and management positions at Newton, Axa (Architas), and Investec Wealth & Investment.  Her primary specialism is management of fixed income funds with an extensive background in investment trusts, structured finance, product development, marketing, risk, derivatives and hedge funds.  She has a degree in Law and an MBA.

Jasper Berens

Jasper joined Artemis in October 2018 as Head of distribution, a partner and member of the executive. Jasper worked for JP Morgan Asset Management, latterly as Country Head (UK), for 20 years until March 2018. He is a member of the Financial Capability Board. He holds a BA(Hons) in History from the University of Bristol.



Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones, Chief Investment Officer Aegon Asset Management Europe and interim CEO of Kames Capital. He is responsible for investment performance, overseeing strategy and leading Kames Capital’s investment teams. Stephen also works with clients to help ensure Kames Capital is meeting its investment performance and service requirements. Stephen joined us in 2002 from Britannic Asset Management where he was an investment manager. Prior to that, he was an Executive Director and Head of Debt Syndication at Greenwich NatWest. Stephen studied Law and Economics at the University of Newcastle and has over 25 years’ industry experience.


Lipper delivers data on more than 265,000 collective investments in 61 countries. Find out more.

This material is provided for as market commentary and for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or advice. Refinitiv cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss resulting from applying any of the information provided in this publication or from any other source mentioned. Please consult with a qualified professional for financial advice.


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