Our communities of institutional and private investors of October work hand-in-hand to finance the growth of European SMEs. While October has almost 23,000 active private investors, it also has a solid base of 70 institutional investors. These institutional investors are companies or organizations which are investing on behalf of their clients. They lend to European SMEs through October’s debt investment funds managed by our Institutional Investor Relations Team. We caught up with Marie Tricot, Institutional Investors Relationship Director (left), and Institutional Investors Relationship Associates Emma Poullet (right) and Margaux Duvergé (middle), to find out all there is to know about investor relations.
A solid international background
The team has gained their professional experience all over the world. Marie explains: “After graduating from ESSEC Business School in France, I started working in London before moving to New York. I spent almost ten years there working in Investment Banking. I was in charge of identifying cross-selling opportunities and marketing the bank’s products to large institutional clients including asset managers, investment funds and insurance companies. I also advised these clients on tailor-made capital market and asset-backed financing solutions. I joined October in July 2019. Emma continues: “I graduated with a double Master’s degree in Finance from Dauphine University in Paris and Goethe University in Frankfurt. Before joining the Investor Relations Team, I started my career in Investment Banking first as a Coverage Analyst and then as a Structured Finance Analyst.” Margaux joined the team in September 2020. “I graduated from a Master’s degree in International Finance from Rennes School of business. During my studies, I participated in exchange programs in Mexico and in Canada where I got my Bachelor degree. Before joining October, I worked as an intern at Amundi, one of the largest European-based asset manager.”
The daily activities
What does the Investor Relations team do on a daily basis? Marie: “**October’s community of institutional investors lend to European SMEs through October’s debt investment funds. These funds are managed in-house by the team. We oversee all aspects of fund management, fund-raising and investor relations. Our responsibilities range from marketing the funds and presenting October’s business model to structuring and launching new investment vehicles in collaboration with our investors, our regulators and our external partners.”
A diverse selection of institutional investors
October’s European community of institutional investors is diverse. “It ranges from public entities such the European Investment Fund (EIF), the French or Spanish public banks to private banks, insurance companies, family offices and high net worth individuals.,” says Emma. “They all have in common a professional investor status as our funds are strictly reserved to this category of investors. To date, we have raised over 600 million euro across all funds. We benefit from the strong commitment of repeat investors who increased their commitment from a fund to the next which is a great testimony of their trust in October’s model.” Margaux adds: “The investors are conducting periodic and systematic reviews of our overall business model. This includes our internal policies and procedures, financials, portfolio and fund performance data.” “In line with our company’s values, we work very closely and in a transparent manner with our community of investors. October funds have a strong governance in place whereby main investors are on the board of an Advisory Committee and ensure ongoing compliance with the fund regulations on topics such as investment policy or conflict of interests.”
An impact on the European economy
What makes it so interesting for these institutional investors to partner up with October? “October offers a new asset class with unique access to a diversified and granular portfolio of SMEs loans in multiple countries,” says Marie. “Lending directly to SMEs has a tangible impact on the European economy. The SME ecosystem that institutional investors support represents more than €7 billion of cumulated annual turnover and 26,000 jobs across Europe.” Emma continues: “And of course a solid track record as well as October’s relentless focus on technology, processes and data to create a scalable investment strategy are key.”
A strong focus on ESG criteria
There are a lot of similarities among institutional investors across the October-countries. A strong focus the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria is one of them. October was one of the first lending platforms to sign the UN PRI in December 2019. As October is convinced that extra-financial factors contribute to sustainable growth, it committed to a Sustainable and Socially Responsible Lending approach. Marie: “ESG criteria such as employment, sustainable use of resources, attention to suppliers and customers, positive impact on community and sound governance are now systematically part of our credit and decision-making process. Each borrower is assigned an ESG score that has a 10% impact on overall scoring.”
Two dedicated funds in 2020
In the difficult context of 2020, October’s community of investors has been very supportive. Marie: “We were not only able to close new commitments in our last fund, but also launched two dedicated funds to complement our main fund, October SME IV, in September: a 200 million euro investment vehicle to finance loans granted to SMEs and guaranteed by the Italian State and a new 38 million euro fund dedicated to the French tourism and leisure sector. In 2021 we will continue our fundraising effort and keep improving our systematic Sustainable and Socially Responsible Lending approach.”
True October ambassadors
To conclude this interview, we ask the team what makes them excited about being part of this ambitious team? Marie, Emma and Margaux collectively answer: “As October’s ambassadors, we are challenged to constantly improve to meet the expectations of our community of existing and new investors. Our missions are diverse so we need to learn fast. Transparent and regular exchanges with our investors community as well as with regulators require excellent communication and interpersonal skills. And of course we enjoy close collaboration with all October’s teams across countries.”
Want to know more about the investors team of October? Read more about our institutional investors or ask your question in the October chat!