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Olivier Kramer (Gatsby & White): guaranteed independence and growth

Gatsby and White takes over the Cardif Lux Vie agency portfolio from Deutsche Bank Luxembourg. An interview with Olivier Kramer, Managing Partner.

Can you tell us about Gatsby & White in a few words?

Gatsby & White is an independent company with five shareholders. Founded in 2013, it is the leader in the life assurance brokerage market in Luxembourg. Our 25-person strong team manages nearly 3 billion euros of assets. We are physically present in four countries: Luxembourg - our headquarters - with the dual roles of Broker and Agents, Belgium, Switzerland, in Geneva and Zurich, and Liechtenstein. From these four financial centres, we offer our services to banks, private bankers, management companies, family offices and even lawyers acting for clients all over Europe and beyond. They approach us by detailing the needs and characteristics of their clients and - in our capacity as broker or agent - we offer the most appropriate solution, completely independently and transparently. Our “raison d’être” lies in our legal responsibility to find the right solutions for our client and support them throughout the process in an exercise that we call, the suitability assessment. We play an essential role as an interface between the insurer and the policyholder. As a leading insurance brokerage player in Luxembourg, this is a long-term mission.

«Our “raison d’être” lies in our legal responsibility to find the right solutions and support the client, known as the suitability assessment.»

You have recently taken over the Cardif Lux Vie agency portfolio from Deutsche Bank Luxembourg. Why?

In view of the new European legislative framework, the IDD (Insurance Distribution Directive), Deutsche Bank Luxembourg decided to dispose of the agent liability it held in this portfolio. One of the reasons why Gatsby & White obtained this portfolio is undoubtedly thanks to he unique spectrum of expertise of our staff. Under one roof, we have a German team and an high number of market skills for a brokerage company. The IDD advocates greater transparency and the establishment of a level playing field. These measures are designed to protect and defend the interests of the end consumer, guaranteeing them, regardless of the entry mechanism to the insurer and the distribution channel - specialist broker or network - the solution that is most appropriate to their needs, at the best price and with the right advice. Investor protection plays a particularly important role in a country like Luxembourg which has a significant reputation for life insurance well beyond its borders, in Europe and in the bespoke, high-end sector. The extremely solid framework in Luxembourg requires insurers to prove absolute separation between the assets belonging to their firm and those held in their client portfolios. The policy is still subject to fluctuations in the financial markets, according to the type of investments made, but the policyholder is protected against bankruptcy or default by their insurance company. In other words, each client is a first-ranked creditor of the assets that represent the value of their policy.

Do you think this transaction will set a trend?

We hope it will and it is something we are seeing more frequently. We are moving towards a specialisation of roles and an increased sharing of responsibilities. I expect further transactions of this kind in the European Union, and I have noticed a growing demand in Switzerland, where Luxembourg insurance solutions are currently very widespread. Many managers who have invested heavily in insurance clients must now ensure they maintain these policies, which will require an even greater, more specialised infrastructure.  Acquisitions by specialists such as Gatsby & White, will ensure they maintain compliance in the long-term. We take on financial and legal obligations as well as administrative tasks, developing and monitoring clients’ needs and ensuring the portability of the policy.

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