Beyond the wall

We celebrated our fifth anniversary not without difficulties, as it can be easily imagined. Last year, we arrived in Santander with almost a year of extremely hard market conditions behind us, with the crisis on the property market spreading to credit instruments and impacting the liquidity of the interbank market and the “absolute return” investment vehicles.

We could not imagine what would have happened only four months later, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the resulting domino effect of the deleveraging on financial intermediaries and therefore real economies all around the world.

We therefore did some soul-searching at the end of the year, the time when we finalise our InFormation Course project for the following year. First of all, we asked ourselves whether it was appropriate to carry out the 2009 Course, in the context of general panic and discouragement, with assets in free fall and considerable cost cutting by all intermediaries.

We gathered all our courage and decided to go ahead. The next question was what kind of message we wanted to give, as a major Italian financial advisor: our objective is, in fact, to give those who take part in our InFormation Courses a high-quality programme that can act as a spur to the discussion, with the help of the speakers of the companies that partner with us for this event.

We found an answer. We are satisfied with our choices and decisions, and we are sure that the institutional investors attending (around 40 this year) have appreciated the efforts we made and will be able to bring home ideas they will be able to use in their activities.We decided to hold the 5th InFormation Course in Berlin, which in 2009 celebrates twenty years from the fall of the Wall. We thought this choice was especially evocative: we see today  many ruins, in the financial markets and in investors' confidence, but also a great desire to re-build, this time in a solid and sustainable manner, finally removing the many obstacles created over the years by those who had an interest in them.

The programme has been fitted into two rather full days and, in the name of going “back to basics”, we have gone back to talking about major asset classes and risk factors, enabling the investors and intermediaries attending to consider if truly, “beyond the wall”, basic principles such as portfolio diversification, always a key to “sound and prudent management”, should not be given more importance. We then carried out three parallel sessions, for Foundations, Pension Funds, and Social Security Funds, attended not only by institutional investors and members of the Prometeia Advisor team but also by the respective Supervisory Authorities and Trade Associations.

In this special issue of Anteo, we bring you a summary of the conference, to give a chance to those who could not attend in person to participate indirectly.