Alexandre Draznieks (Cardif Lux Vie): Modernization Without Shortcuts
Alexandre Draznieks, the new CEO of Cardif Lux Vie, has a clear plan to help his company, and the life insurance industry in general, to continue to modernize. Interview.
Could you describe your career path in a few words?
After studying engineering at the École Polytechnique de Paris and ENSAE, I started my career at the INSEE in 1994. I joined the Treasury Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance eight years later in charge of the G7 and the preparation of summits. Within the framework of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, I took part in the inspection of the US Department of Justice to check whether they were applying their own law. Later, I took over responsibility for emerging markets where I was involved in the resolution of the Lebanese debt crisis in 2002. In 2005, I was appointed to the EBRD - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - before joining the BNP Paribas group in 2009, in charge of international retail banking strategy. Three years later, I was appointed Head of Northern Europe and Emerging Markets at BNP Paribas Cardif before joining BNP Paribas Cardif France in 2020 and Cardif Lux Vie a few weeks ago.
“I am a great believer in collective intelligence”
What are your current priorities?
I focus on two principles that I combine with a collaborative working method. The first principle aims to remain true to our DNA of partnerships. We work in B2B2C, through intermediaries who distribute our products. I intend to strengthen this approach by introducing our company as a facilitator of their growth. The second principle concerns the industrialization of our activities. If we want to offer our partners a constantly improving service, we must digitalize our activities, but also industrialize them to make them more secure, standardized, and ultimately faster. Given the complexity of our business, only a cross-functional, highly collaborative approach will enable us to make progress: I am a great believer in collective intelligence. Our company has already modernized its liability management, but it can still make considerable progress in terms of asset management. To do this, many departments - IT, Operations, and Product - need to work together. In the age of APIs and B2C platforms, we need to make our B2B2C services more easily connectable, modular, and responsive.
“To me, the LPS embodies the true meaning of the European Union”
What are the main challenges in your sector?
They are numerous. First, regulatory issues have become crucial with subjects that are fundamental for financial reporting such as the revision of Solvency II or IFRS17. Another challenge is the "value for money" initiative launched by EIOPA, the European regulator, which involves a multidimensional approach. Thirdly, ESG generates many regulations and taxonomy issues. It impacts finance in the broadest sense, from insurance to banking to the fund industry. I am not forgetting AML, in the context of the FATF's visit to Luxembourg, or the FPS (Free Provision of Services). These, in my view, embody the profound meaning of the European Union allowing this type of activity to be mutualized. However, the FPS is sometimes perceived as being detrimental to national markets (especially for Luxembourg insurance contracts by offering a wider range of underlying assets). The financial center, the authorities, and the diplomatic networks must work constantly together to highlight the work done and to promote the expertise of the sector.
How do you approach the recruitment and retention of talent?
Everyone is facing a structurally tight labor market where it can be difficult to recruit and retain employees. We feel this at Cardif Lux Vie, but also throughout the financial sector. Most of us are thinking about new ways of working: Teleworking is one of them. In the end, it is mainly a question of loyalty to a company or a brand. In 2009, I visited Nokia in Finland, which was then very advanced in the field of smart working. Despite this, they have not been able to innovate enough and offer competitive next-generation phones. So, we need to capture all dimensions of the HR issue to formulate the best solution.