INSEAD PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW

Interview with a past participant of the Advanced Asset Management programme

Thomas Friesleben

Director, DeAWM
Deutsche Bank
July 2014

"I would recommend the programme to those with strong expertise in Asset & Wealth Management, but who find themselves stuck in their day-to-day work and needing new insights. What the programme does is give participants a new view on how markets have evolved over the last few years and how people evaluate them."

Can you please introduce yourself?

My name is Thomas Friesleben and I work in DeAWM, the Asset and Wealth Management arm of Deutsche Bank. I am a Director with an extensive experience of more than 13 years within the banking industry and I am a key member of our Wealth product and Advisory team.

Our focus is on ultra-high net-worth individuals, family offices and institutions across the Middle East and Africa. I am currently based in Dubai and prior to this I was living and working in Frankfurt and Singapore.

I also have a strong background in recruitment/training and managing sales in the Middle East and Asia.

Why did you decide to come on the Advanced Asset Management programme? And what expectations did you have?

The financial industry is moving and evolving all the time. There is a lot of discussion on the markets: where they are heading, what are the challenges and opportunities? Given this, I felt I needed to refresh my knowledge and gain new insights into asset allocation, trends and investment management concepts. This, I hoped, would allow me to better manage my portfolios.

You have a lot of financial experience. Did the programme challenge you?

Yes, indeed it did. It was good to get an industry refresher from experienced professors who are market leaders in their fields.

Do you feel you came away with new ideas and knowledge?

Yes. I was able to get new insights into buybacks and I was able to put this knowledge into practice the very next day when I put what I had learned into a paper on Japanese buybacks which will help formulate strategy for our clients. It was also interesting to hear what Lily Fang had to say about private equity and her thoughts on where the industry is heading. 

Finally, with respect to behavioural finance, it was interesting to hear how the competition is implementing it. For example, JP Morgan has several funds devoted to it. In 2004, I had already been challenged on behavioural finance in my job: how we should approach it etc…So, it was valuable to hear how Massimo is looking into the latest developments. It gave me insights into how the industry has moved on since 2004.

What were the programme highlights?

The highlight was the programme itself. There was nothing that really stood out and it was a good mix: a mix of topics, but also a good mix of cultures, nationalities and levels of experience of the other participants on the programme.

You have now done two programmes at INSEAD. What was it that drew you back here and what do you think of the learning environment?

I completed the Young Managers Programme (now the Management Acceleration Programme) in 2007. I saw this as a mini-MBA which really strengthened my network around the world and in fact, I am still in touch with some of the other participants.  After a couple of years, I needed new intellectual challenges. We have strong internal training opportunities at Deutsche Bank, but I was looking for external intellectual stimulus to see how others are looking into asset management. I needed different perspectives. I also wanted to connect with those outside Deutsche Bank to hear how they believe the industry is evolving. So, my first experience of INSEAD in 2007 kick-started my interest in professional development and the learning environment at INSEAD is very good, so I decided to come back. 

What would you say to someone who is thinking of doing the programme?

I would recommend the programme to those with strong expertise in Asset & Wealth Management, but who find themselves stuck in their day-to-day work and needing new insights. What the programme does is give participants a new view on how markets have evolved over the last few years and how people evaluate them. The industry is changing so quickly so it is important to keep abreast of this. You need to understand the market abnormalities and quirks and the professors really do a great job at showing you how they are looking into this. 

Finally, I think the programme provides you with an academic background into the industry, an analysis of market abnormalities and knowledge that you can use in your day-to-day work.

Interested in INSEAD's Advanced Asset Management programme? Have a look at the Advanced Asset Management web page or contact Mark Hoggarth, the programme advisor, on +33 (0)1 60 72 40 38 or at [email protected].

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