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Marc Touati: «Enough of those top guys who think that the more obtuse they are, the more intelligent they will appear»

He was a 27 year-old economist, head of Natexis! Known for his direct way of speaking, Marc Touati gives us his version on the career development of a strategist...

Article also available in : English EN | français FR

Next Finance: You have been one of the most well-known strategists on the Parisien financial scene. What would you say are the necessary qualities to be a good strategist ?

Marc Touati: I am more an economist who, in the jargon of many strategists, had to at the same time work in the financial markets and the allocation of shares in order to make up any shortfall. And, let’s be frank, I enjoyed both equally. I am not here to preach, but the biggest quality of a strategist is, even more than being a visionary, is to be humble, but not falsely modest. One must like to be right, but must also recognise when one is wrong. This is why, at the beginning of each year, my team and I draw up a list of our predictions, which obviously we publish. Generally speaking, we have not had to hide...

In addition, we must know how to get involved. There is nothing worse than the "Oh well yes, uh no" or a consensus of predictions. But in order to get involved, one must also disagree. How many predictions have come about over the years by reading the press or just putting one’s nose to the wind. This is not rational

Finally, I’ll say that a good strategist must also be a good educationalist. Enough of those top guys who think that the more obtuse they are, the more intelligent they will appear!

Next Finance: The career seems to be evolving today, there are many of them in hedge funds, certain of them even become assistant managers or managers. Is this just an epiphenomenon or more a sudden shift in characteristics of the financial markets?

Marc Touati: I must admit that I was, in fact surprised when it was suggested that I went into hedge funds now and then to even follow that direction! I refused for personal easons, but I hope that other economists ou strategists will accept. To the contrary of what certain people think, there is not nobility of economists and the Third State. Finance is both complexised (has been complicated) and democratised. Economists must keep up with this movement and at the same time bring their vision to the world of Hedge Funds. A story perhaps of bringing them a certain amount of moral caution. Let’s go a little further; the strategist must become the centrpiece of financial investments. In fact I would even say, that in a perfect world, every manager, salesman or trader should previously, have had a career as an economist.

Next Finance: During the last few years, politicians in France, and also in Germany or in the United States have been asking for more regulations of hedge funds or Private Equity funds... Can one and should one regulate something that certain people refer to as wild capitalism?

Marc Touati: One often forgets, or one claims to forget the speculation plays a determinng role in the success of the markets as well as the economy. Firstly, it assures liquidity and secondly it allows protection from certain risks. It is nevertheless speculation that must be the visible part of the iceberg formed by the financial markets whose role it is to finance the economy. When it becomes the entire iceberg, then it is dangerous. That is when regulation becomes necessary. But regulation should be minimal. It can also give good awarness to political leaders without depriving the markets of key figures necessary for the successful functioning of the markets.

Next Finance: One is expecting a double shock Marc Touati-Patrick Artus in Natixis. You have finaly decided to leave. For what reasons?

Marc Touati: For legal reasons, I can’t say too much about it. I will simply say that it was both for my own good and also for that of the company to whom I have given everything for 12 years. In fact I only ever imagined working in peace and tranquility and for the good of everyone as part of a team in a company. I left on good terms with the directors and in particular with the President Dupont and the ex Director General Francois Ladam.There is no bitterness. In fact I have kept in my portfoilo Natixis shares whose fair price I estimate at being between 25 and 30 eruos from now for the next two years.

Next Finance: What are your future projects and how do you see the markets in the medium term ?

Marc Touati: Life is a succession of opportunities, good and not so good. The most difficult is to make good choices. I have been the head economist of a large bank at 27 years old so I have grown up in the cities of Oely, it is perhaps time for me to do something else. Obviously the economy and the markets are my passion and I am going to continue in this environment, but "on my terms". I have actually discovered that freedom is a luxury that has no price. Also, after the succes of the Association for Knowledge and Economic Dynamism, I am in the process of creating the first cabinet of independent economic and financial advice for companies, independent professionals and individuals.

F.Y , June 2007

Article also available in : English EN | français FR

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