Small but with a diverse international community; generous expat packages and a high quality of living; a place to work hard but relax healthily; a financial hypocenter and in the heart of Europe: just some reasons why Luxembourg continues to attract ambitious professionals who also want an enjoyable sense of balance in their formative and later career years.
One of those expats is Jean-Benoit Naudin, Managing Director at International Financial Data Services Luxembourg (IFDSL) a joint venture between State Street and SS&C Technologies Inc. After 35 years of living and working in senior finance roles in Paris, in 2015 Naudin moved to Luxembourg to join IFDSL as managing director.
Number one TA
IFDS is a global transfer agent with over 2,000 professionals located in Luxembourg, Canada, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore. IFDS in Europe services 70 financial organizations around the world, providing solutions to a wide range of global asset managers and funds’ investors..
IFDS Luxembourg (IFDSL) was established in 2007.In Luxembourg, there are 135 transfer agents of which IFDSL are number one, according to Monterey. IFDS has 18.5 percent of the market share in Luxembourg but it’s worth noting 20% percent of the market is operated by asset managers who run their own transfer agency in-house. This, Naudin says, along with State Street’s recent announcement to acquire BBH Investor Services that gives them access to accretive technology; broader global coverage; long-tenured, talented employees and high-functioning global client service, will lead to market consolidation and more growth opportunities for IFDS.
IFDSL converted Aberdeen (1.5% market share, in-house) in 2020 and will covert Fideuram Bank (0.8% market share) in 2022. BBH will bring an additional 3.35% when the acquisition closes.
Managing a company in a state of growth is not unusual for Naudin. Since he joined the company seven years ago, the company has been on a rapid growth trajectory seeing it double in size from 170 employees to 330. This was all a part of Naudin’s plan when he accepted the role: “I joined when I was 57 when I had 35 years of experience in asset management and at international companies. I was not looking for career development,” he says. “I felt this was to be my last job and I made that clear when I joined. I was willing to share my experience with the management team for people to develop, grow and prepare for my succession.”
IFDSL was an attractive company to join, he says. Luxembourg, a respected, complaint and secure French-speaking financial centre was also appealing. The country is the world’s second-largest mutual fund market following the USA. Yet with only 632,000 inhabitants and 150,000 cross-border workers, most commuting from Germany, Belgium and France, it makes it a diverse and international environment that is compatible for networking.
While he worked long hours, Naudin’s wife tapped into their social network to make new friends and connections in Luxembourg. While his work is demanding he likes that he has a work-life balance and can manage stress doing sports or running — he can be in the countryside in less than one and a half kilometres. “There are a lot of leisure and cultural activities here. It’s also much easier than Paris to enjoy what Luxembourg has to offer because it’s easy to travel from one place to another,” he says. “Initially I thought I would relocate here until I retired but now I’m thinking to stay in Luxembourg.”
Vision to succeed
Talking about his life working at a transfer agency, Naudin says it’s an interesting place to work thanks to the scope of the work that includes record keeping, fund administration, back-office support and dealer relations. “Asset management industry fund managers are not the vast cohort. They rely on several actors to be able to process all the transactions,” he explains. “A transfer agency is a processing business. We manage and process six million transactions a year and operate more than 110,000 accounts, with probably 450,000 positions.”
As IFDSL prepares for more growth in 2022 it will recruit new headcount. They are particularly looking to target graduates starting their careers. They will be recruiting across various operations such as those who will open accounts and perform important anti money-laundering and account screening.
On a career with IFDS at the Luxembourg office, Naudin says it’s an exciting time to join with many incoming clients, prospects and a pipeline of business that is full for the upcoming two to three years. “We are experts at TA. Our employees are our number one asset. We do everything we can to ensure we train, grow and motivate them to take new challenges,” he says.
While this may be the last stop in Naudin’s career it’s IFDS’s vision to excel that keeps him enthused each day. “I’m inspired by the staff, the management team and the company. We have the vision to do everything to the best we can. That’s enough of a motivating challenge every day.”
Explore career opportunities in finance and technology at State Street in Luxembourg here.