René Sieber devotes his expertise, knowledge and the experience, gained throughout professional and academic careers, to consulting services. He is an Adjunct Professor of finance at the University of Geneva and worked for more than thirty-five years at the heart of financial markets, including more than twenty-five years in executive roles.
Areas of expertise include asset management, especially managing core market risks. René is a recognised pioneer in portfolio insurance, a risk-management technique that he has applied since the nineties, and to the development of which he still actively contributes. He has also been consistently engaged in the field of socially responsible investing (SRI), in which he has gained in-depth knowledge of the realities and challenges over the past twenty years. November 2019, he was appointed Chairman of the Swiss Sustainable Funds Awards Jury. These prizes are awarded by the Geneva Forum for Sustainable Investment (GFSI). June 2021, he joined the Center of Competence for Sustainable Finance (CCSF) of the University of Zurich, as a member of its Scientific Advisory Board.
His services are aimed at boards of directors, foundation boards and investment committees, all of whom can benefit from his expertise – acquired by managing assets for institutions and jointly heading a specialist investment-services firm – as well as from his professional network.
After earning a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in the field of international investment and conducting research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a year as a Visiting Scholar, René Sieber began his asset management career in 1985 as an economist at the Geneva-based Banque de Dépôts (a constituent part of the future EFG Group), where he was also responsible for setting investment policy.
In 1987, he joined Unigestion S.A., an asset management company in Geneva, where he was in charge of fixed-income investment strategy. In 1990, he was appointed head of institutional account management.
From 1993 to 2018, René took the route of entrepreneurship, co-founding Dynagest S.A. – an independent asset manager specialising in interest-rate and quantitative management for an institutional client base. In 2006, Dynagest S.A. was granted a securities dealers’ licence by the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (today FINMA). In addition to shared responsibility for defining corporate strategy and developing business, René led and developed quantitative portfolio insurance management as well as supervising research and fixed-income management.
The success of portfolio insurance risk-management products, particularly currency and equity overlays, hoisted Dynagest S.A. (with AUMs that have exceeded CHF five billion) into Investment and Pensions Europe’s Top 400 Asset Managers rankings for several years running. René played a major role in achieving a strong market position for Dynagest S.A., which in the late 1990s became known in Switzerland as a pioneer in asymmetric market-risk management. He also contributed to the company's development in fixed income.
Capitalising on his extensive understanding of institutional investment, René has also worked actively to promote and develop socially responsible investing (SRI) in Switzerland. As a director of Ethos Services SA (the operating company of Ethos, Swiss Foundation for Sustainable Development) for almost twenty years, he acquired in-depth knowledge of the realities and challenges facing those investing in this field.
Underlying his commitment to the banking and financial services sector, René has since 1988 lectured in finance at the University of Geneva where he was was appointed Adjunct Professor in 2019 and Visiting Professor in 2021. He currently teaches the Fixed Income & Credit Risk course on the M.Sc. in Wealth Management. He is also co-heading the new DAS (Diploma of Advanced Studies) in Asset Management.
Since 1991, he has taught on fixed-income investing at the Swiss Training Centre for Investment Professionals (AZEK).
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Backed by more than thirty-five years of expertise in asset management and institutional investment as well as university-level teaching, René Sieber offers independent consulting services in the following areas:
ASSET MANAGEMENT AND CORE MARKET RISKS
Within asset management, René has specialised in fixed-income investing and CPPI-based portfolio insurance – a dynamic risk-management technique for which he is a recognised pioneer in Switzerland. Accordingly, he has unique experience in designing, implementing and managing equity and currency overlays and using similar techniques in managing interest-rate risk.
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING (SRI)
As a director of Ethos Services SA since 2002, René is fully aware of the realities and challenges inherent to SRI and puts this knowledge to use for both service providers and investors. Ethos Services SA is the operating company of Ethos, Swiss Foundation for Sustainable Development, bringing together more than two hundred twenty Swiss pension funds and public utility foundations. René Sieber was appointed Chairman of the Swiss Sustainable Funds Awards Jury in November 2019. These prizes are awarded by the Geneva Forum for Sustainable Investment (GFSI) to the best-performing funds and asset managers with the greatest commitment to socially responsible investment. Since June 2021, René Sieber also sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center of Competence for Sustainable Finance (CCSF), University of Zurich, a board chaired by Professor Joseph Stiglitz. www.sustainablefinance.uzh.ch
His broad experience in financial markets, in addition to his specialist fields, enables René to offer accurate advice to investment and supervisory committees. Since 2007, he has been a member of the Asset Management Committee of Ethos Services SA and, since 2015, its chairman. Since 2012, he has also been an external member of the Vaudoise Assurances Board Sub-Committee on Investment.
DIRECTORSHIPS AND BUSINESS CONSULTING
As co-founder of Dynagest SA, a Geneva-based asset manager, René knows how to define and secure approval for business development strategies, as well as knowing how to manage and monitor implementation. René Sieber was a director of this company for nearly twenty five years (1) and served on the board of a Luxembourg investment-fund management company for nearly twenty years (2). Board Member of Ethos Services since 2002, he sits today on the board of different other companies.
(1) Board chairman for thirteen years.
(2) Board chairman for seven years.
René Sieber began teaching economics and finance as a teaching assistant during his doctoral studies at the University of Geneva. Since then, he has been constantly committed to passing on his financial expertise in both academic and professional settings. He currently partners with the following institutions:
Université de Genève (UNIGE)
Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM) and Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI). René is an Adjunct Professor and teaches a course dedicated to bond management, Fixed Income and Credit Risk, as part of the M.Sc. in Wealth Management. He has close to thirty years of experience in teaching on fixed income, having lectured in finance at the University of Geneva since 1988.
Centre for Continuing and Distance Education (CFCD). From 1996 to 2015, René taught a course on currency risk management as part of the CAS (1) in Quantitative Portfolio Management, of which he became co-director in 2007. Together with Prof. Rajna Gibson Brandon and Dr Nicole Beiner, he co-heads the new DAS (2) in Asset Management.
(1) Certificate of Advanced Studies.
(2) Diploma of Advanced Studies.
SWISS TRAINING CENTRE FOR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONALS (AZEK)
Since 1991, René has taught on fixed-income modules for the training centre of the Swiss Financial Analysts Association (SFAA). He is chiefly active in the CIIA programme, which leads to the awarding of the Advanced Federal Diploma of Financial Analyst and Portfolio Manager and the Certified International Investment Analyst (CIIA®) Diploma.
PUBLICATIONS AND CONFERENCES
Throughout his career, René Sieber has regularly published articles in specialist magazines on his expert fields within asset management. He has also been invited to speak on these topics at conferences and round-table events in Switzerland.
SELECTION OF SPECIALIST ARTICLES
- La gestion à cliquets : une gestion systématique de l’exposition, Le guide suisse des produits dérivés, L’Agefi, June 1995.
- La gestion « à cliquets » à l’épreuve de la baisse, Le guide des fonds de placement, L’Agefi, December 1998.
- Les Key Rate Durations surpassent la duration modifiée, with C. Cornioley, Le guide 2002 des fonds de placement, L’Agefi, December 2001.
- La pertinence du cliquet appliqué aux obligations, Le guide 2003 des fonds de placement, L’Agefi, December 2002.
- «Currency overlay» obligataire : la preuve par le cliquet, L’Agefi Magazine. Fonds de placement 2005, L’Agefi, December 2004.
- From pure protection to real asymmetric profiles, The World of Equity Derivatives. The Essential Toolbox for Investors, Eurex, Frankfurt-am-Main, autumn 2008.
- Cliquet obligataire : près de 15 ans de performance, Lundi Finance. Fonds de placement, Le Temps, 3 October 2011.
- Pension funds : the value of equity overlay, Lundi Finance. Produits structurés, Le Temps, 27 May 2013.
- Pension funds : equity overlay strategy again proves its worth in 2013», Lundi Finance. Produits structurés, Le Temps, 26 May 2014.
- Volatilité et «drawdown». Pourquoi intégrer un «equity overlay» systématique ?, Prévoyance professionnelle suisse/Schweizer Personal Vorsorge, August 2015.
- Comment réinvestir dans les obligations de qualité, with M. Lanci, Indices, L’Agefi, Gestion institutionnelle, November 2016.
- Gestion du risque de change. Piloter dynamiquement et systématiquement l’exposition, with M. Lanci, Prévoyance professionnelle suisse/Schweizer Personal Vorsorge, December 2017.
- Le prix suise des fonds durables évite le «grenwashing», Le Temps, 15 May 2020.
- Un référentiel fiable pour les investisseurs, Allnews, 27 May 2021.
- Gestion asymétrique du risque, round-table event during the Salon PPS, Geneva, 6 April 2011.
- Risque de change : une gestion différenciée selon les classes d’actifs et l’apport d’un «currency overlay» systématique, presentation given at the GIP (Groupement des institutions de prévoyance) seminar, Lausanne, 10 February 2012.
- Entre «currency overlay» actif et passif : l’asymétrie d’une approche dynamique systématique, presentation given at the Swiss Pensions Conference of the CFA Society (Switzerland), Geneva, 16 March 2016.
- FX Risk and Management Challenges, presentation given at the Financial Summer Translation Conference organized by the Swiss Association of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters (ASTTI), Spiez, 3 July 2019 (the pdf of the presentation is available on request).
- Risques de change et défis de gestion, presentation given at the GIP (Groupement des institutions de prévoyance) seminar, videoconference, 6 November 2020.