Serge Krancenblum and Christian Heinen (IQ-EQ): New brand, new ambitions
SGG, the world’s fourth largest independent investor services firm, has rebranded as IQ-EQ – a new identity intended to embody the group’s core values, say group executive chairman Serge Krancenblum and IQ-EQ’s Luxembourg managing director Christian Heinen.
What was the goal behind the IQ-EQ rebranding?
Serge Krancenblum (SK): Our main aim was to bring together all of our employees under a single and powerful new brand, especially after recently acquiring companies, including two major ones. We want each member of our team to share the same values and embrace what we see as a noble mission: to support investors in preserving and growing their assets, but also to help them ensure their company remains fully compliant with the rules of a fast-changing world. From a wider perspective, we help investment hubs such as Luxembourg to remain international centres of excellence for cross-border investments. Our people at IQ-EQ can be proud of their mission.
Christian Heinen (CH): The IQ-EQ brand is the result of a thorough thought process, which involved speaking to the people who are most important to us as a business – our clients, intermediaries and our own people. The name we have selected is not only a brand name but translates our philosophy and the way we operate: IQ, or intellectual intelligence, refers to our in-depth technical expertise, while EQ, emotional intelligence, reflects our deep understanding of the needs of our clients. Our company is always ready to invest time in order to know our customers better, and IQ-EQ constantly reminds us of our DNA: a unique combination of ‘know how’ and ‘know you’.
“IQ-EQ stands for a unique combination of ‘know how’ and ‘know you’.”
What lies ahead for the enlarged group?
SK: We are always seeking to empower our clients through the provision of new services to help navigate new regulations. We’re therefore always on the lookout for further suitable acquisitions of specialised companies. The recent addition of Lawson Conner, for example, enables us to facilitate regulatory reporting for asset managers. The company has created specialised software to automate laborious and painstaking processes, saving time and money for our clients.
CH: In Luxembourg the main focus is on making the integration of our expanded group as seamless as possible, ensuring we are constantly providing the highest level of service. We have reviewed our processes and technology in line with our broader global offering and have also recruited a number of seasoned professionals in our different business lines to offer value-added services to our clients.
A second priority is to leverage on our broader network, connecting with other offices that have clients on their books who may be interested in working with Luxembourg. We are investing time to join the dots and create a collaborative group of more than 2,450 people in 23 jurisdictions who share a global perspective.
What evolution do you anticipate in the economy, both locally and globally?
SK: We are living in uncertain times, but stable international financial centres like Luxembourg stand to benefit from this. Investors find Luxembourg a perfect jurisdiction in which to achieve their goals, especially in the context of Brexit. Our industry employs 4,000 people in the Grand Duchy and generates €1.3 billion in direct and indirect tax revenue. However, uncertainty does have a negative impact on the economy more generally. You can see it in the UK, where investment is dropping, and at a global level, where US and Chinese decisions – and their ongoing trade dispute – impact growth. As a global player, IQ-EQ acts to mitigate risk for its clients. Through us, our clients can establish their platform and implement ambitious investment strategies anywhere in the world.
CH: The financial industry in the Grand Duchy is currently being driven by investment funds. The UCITS fund industry is now mature, but private equity and real estate investments, for example, are enjoying double-digit growth. Alternative asset classes are growing very rapidly. Luxembourg is the country of choice for alternative asset managers who structure their investments through regulated funds or unregulated vehicles such as SOPARFIs. All stakeholders in Luxembourg need to work together to maintain this positive momentum.