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Zak Smerczak

Analyste / Gérant

If you want to go quickly, go alone, but if you want to go far, then go together.
-African proverb


Today’s clients want their investments to produce both an authentic positive impact and return.1  Many asset managers understand this and have made environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics a priority in every research and client meeting. But as these asset managers and clients advocate for improved ESG standards, various industries continue to lack some of the very criteria being endorsed. As current statistics show, one of the main areas of continuing weakness is diversity.

Comgest believes diversity facilitates inclusion and drives financial performance – both within our own firm2 and in the companies in which we invest.

Many studies have shown that collaborative decision-making and collegial teams are strengthened by diversity and inclusive (D&I) behaviour, which may help to mitigate risks and lead to better decisions. We believe there is a moral imperative to promote, defend and, wherever possible, take constructive steps towards equal opportunity for all. Having certain beliefs as an individual or as a group should not restrict the opportunities of others. There can always be a level of tension, friction or energy between people as we interact. We view this as the “fuel” that engages investors. Thinking back to a physics lesson, capturing and directing this fuel should drive forward motion – in terms of D&I, we refer to this as igniting the “engine of inclusivity”.

The ability to capture and ignite this “fuel” requires a common purpose and mission within a shared culture. Comgest captures this fuel within our shareholder structure, which we consider a broad partnership wherein all employees – regardless of their title – may become shareholders based on meritocratic foundations.3 For us, this fosters a strong team spirit and sense of shared responsibility that we believe is valuable to the longevity of our culture and values.

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1 Fabrizio Palmucci, CFA and K. Koldemir; “ESG Asset Managers: Define the Why.” CFA Institute, 24 August 2021. (https://bit.ly/3mV03h2)
2 Comgest Global Investors, S.A.S. is the holding company for the Comgest Group which includes six asset management companies: Comgest, S.A. (Paris), Comgest Far East Ltd (Hong Kong), Comgest Asset Management International Ltd (CAMIL)(Dublin), Comgest Asset Management Japan Ltd (Tokyo), Comgest Singapore Pte Ltd (Singapore) and Comgest US LLC (Boston). Comgest also has the following service locations: Comgest Deutschland GmbH (Düsseldorf), Comgest Benelux B.V. (Amsterdam), Comgest Australia Pty Ltd (Sydney), as well as offices of CAMIL in London, Milan and Brussels.
3 Employees are typically given the opportunity to become shareholders after two years with the firm. The decision to allocate equity is based on an individual’s sustained performance, seniority and overall contribution. 



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