Benoît Boru, founding partner of French investment advisory company Insti7, speaks about growth since the financial crisis and long-term fund selection for cautious clients.
Insti7 was founded by Boru and his co-founder Vincent Puche in 2007 having worked together for several years at a US consulting group (which was eventually acquired by AON, another US consultancy, in 2010). During their experience in the
Paris-based investment consulting team, Boru and his co-partner decided they wanted to carry out their own, independent research in a company that was capitalised independently from the asset management industry. “Large companies
carrying out several functions are not very independent,” Boru asserts.
Their solution was to set up a new company and in 2007 Insti7 was born in the heart of Paris, a short stroll from the glamour of l’Opéra and its voguish surroundings. Despite launching just before hard times hit markets and investors
in 2008, that year was not a big shock commercially for the company.
The financial crisis was in fact a catalyst for Insti7, Boru maintains, enabling its three-man team to expand to form the ten-man company it is today. “When performance is positive and volatility is low, there is less need for advice. Right now the need for consulting advice is increasing,” he explains.
Insti7’s newest recruits include several employees from Boru’s former company
and graduates recommended by Boru’s business school professor. In October 2010 Louis Pastel, now head of bond research, joined from Lazard Frères Gestion. In May 2011 Patrick Behanzin, another former colleague, joined from Société Générale Asset Management.
This mix of professional backgrounds and experience means that the whole team is ready to pitch in when required – “we all do a bit of everything,” Boru explains.
The assets under advice at Insti7 are proof enough of how much the company is in demand, having risen from roughly €1bn at launch to €25bn today. Its main clients include large companies and company savings schemes, which are prevalent in France having never developed the glut of large pension funds found in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. With international expansion beckoning, Insti7 could be eyeing another boost to assets in the coming year.