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Why our Asset Management team is growing

The Helvetia Asset Management team is set to grow in size in different specialist areas this year. We also discover in the interview why the team under Dominik Gurtner, Head Investment Management Platform, is earmarked for growth.

30. März 2021, text: Senada Kadic, photo: provided Dominik Gurtner

Mann vor unscharfer Stadt-Kulisse
Dominik Gurtner is seeking reinforcements for his Asset Management team.

Dominik, you’ve headed the Investment Management Platform at Helvetia since December 2020. But your career with us started much earlier, when you were on an internship. What has happened in the meantime?

That’s right. I joined Helvetia in 2005 as an intern, and after I finished my Master’s I went to Australia for four months. While I was there, my then line manager called me and asked me if I would be interested in a full-time position. Given the fascinating nature of the job and the attractive conditions, I didn’t need to think twice. I enjoyed the remainder of my stay down under before joining the Portfolio Strategy and Risk Management team. In the years that followed, I performed various functions – over the past four years, in my role as team leader I’ve been responsible for the capital investments made by our European subsidiaries.

Fascinating! You come with know-how from the financial sector, and now you’re in charge of the more IT-oriented side of asset management. How did that happen?

Unlike most of the people in my team, I’m not a trained IT expert, but through years of on-the-job experience I’ve acquired an in-depth understanding of the investment processes, business requirements and technological possibilities that are part of an insurance asset manager’s role.

What are you currently working on with your team?

So that the specialist units – including Portfolio Management – can focus on their core competence, a modern Investment Management Platform is presently being developed. IT solutions in the cloud and other state-of-the-art technologies are also being used. In future, the platform will be capable not only of supporting processes for our internal customers, but also be used for the management of services and investment products for third parties. This means that all customers will profit from our specialist and technical expertise.

The pandemic period has surely proven to be an exceptional time for your unit. How do you handle crises and investment losses?

Pricing on the financial markets reflects a number of aspects and is also dependent on the economic cycle as well as investors’ appetite for risk. There are periods when prices go up and others in which price losses are sustained. It’s therefore only natural that investment losses will be a part of our investment activities over a market cycle. Evaluating the kinds of risks and crises that we witnessed last year on the stock exchange are a component of our job. This is why we have developed various risk and management processes to get through such crises. We should also bear in mind that every crisis also offers an opportunity to learn from our insights. In conjunction with the specialist units, we can then constantly improve our Investment Management Platform.

Who exactly are you looking for to address the growing challenges in asset management?

Currently we are looking mainly for experienced specialists who can support us with the upcoming transformation and help to build a state-of-the-art technology platform. Ideally, they should come from an asset management background – such as banking or insurance. That said, people from other technology sectors and IT jobs are also of interest.

What are the arguments for making the move to Helvetia?

Asset Management is currently in a phase of scaling up, which entails fundamentally redefining numerous processes and functions. The dynamic development of the Helvetia Group, the increasing focus on external clients as well, and the major changes occurring in our market environment call for an extensive upscaling of our unit. Small teams, flat hierarchies and a culture of respect give our employees a lot of room for manoeuvre. You can make a vital contribution to the development of an international company going forward. At Helvetia you can achieve a lot as an individual.

Do you want to help shape the future of Asset Management?