An interview with Dr. Catherine Burgy, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications at LRI Group
Marketing is sometimes a complicated dance of information and sales. It requires a deep understanding of the business, the client and consistent awareness of upcoming trends to be effective. In the digital age, marketing strategies must be conceived utilizing all the right technologies in place, to enable on-the-fly communication. In financial services, compliance regulations can add an additional layer of complication to this endeavor. I had a chance to catch up with Dr. Catherine Burgy, long time marketing and communications professional, to find out how she carefully choreographs this dance.
Tell me about your work with LRI Group
In my newly created position, I am responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications, working closely together with the management board, business development, client relationship and other departments. I hope to add value by developing actionable market insights, monitoring competition and researching to understand industry trends. I explore regional and segment behaviors to define and build marketing content and collateral. In pursuit of growing the international brand awareness of LRI Group, I plan and organize client seminars, conferences and other events, as well as digital marketing activities. It is a challenge, and an interesting job to support the growth story of LRI Group combined with an enjoyable work environment and nice colleagues.
What is LRI Group’s differentiator?
LRI Group has a long track record in the market providing services to asset managers, banks, family offices, insurance companies, institutional investors, pension funds and superannuation schemes. We offer nearly three decades of experience in the structuring and administration of financial as well as real assets. Most of our clients come from the German speaking countries, though we also have some clients from the U.S. and Canada, as well as Asia-Pacific, in our client portfolio.
LRI Group is one of the first in Luxembourg holding both a UCITS and Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) license; this allows us to offer a variety of services for Financial Assets as well as Real Assets tailored to the specific needs of our clients.
Our global distribution network adds a special benefit to our client service and is unique in comparison to our competitors. It stands for establishing a worldwide network to distribute Luxembourg UCITS & AIFMD products for our asset management clients.
When it comes to your work, what are you most passionate about?
Strategic thinking and planning are important to me; I always keep the big picture and goals in mind when breaking it all down into single activities so I can see how they all relate to each other. Stakeholder management is also important; I value the communication with all of our partners – our investors, lawyers, and fund managers, distribution partners, journalists, agencies and event providers as well as our graphic designers. Initiating our partnerships with like-minded people, developing interesting projects, creating joint events, and media activities are an integral part of our work and it’s important to me to build those relationships.
I am also extremely passionate about making an impact and having the power to change something by shaping the image and brand of our company. I’ve found the challenge of ‘translating’ the internal view into ‘the outside view,’ can make our service offering understandable.
As a multilingual Marketing Professional, do you need to vary your strategy with different countries/cultures?
Depending on the various regulatory frameworks and types of investors in various countries, you definitely need to adapt your messages and differentiator; it’s about understanding your stakeholders and the specifics of the market in which they act. Even setting up an event is different as there are different preferences for breakfast briefing, luncheon, evening events.
How do you keep up with the rapidly changing FinTech landscape?
I am always reading newsletters, blogs, and articles in the industry and love to attend events such as Fintechweek in Hamburg and networking groups like FintechLadies.
With all of the emerging technology and financial data, what are some things sales and marketing can do to best align and be successful?
I think it is important to give easy access to information with reliable data and full transparency. If systems can offer tailor made login areas for customers giving the perfect visualization of fund data, that would be a huge win.
Where do you do most of your reading?
I read a lot of the various industry newsletters from Germany and the U.K. online, and I love the Kurtosys blog and thought leadership pieces for digital marketing, but I still also like reading the classic newspaper.
Where do you find investors like to read most? Do they show a preference for video, text or podcasts?
A preference for videos and formats with accumulated information that is easy to digest. Still, it’s not all about video – well-researched articles will never be obsolete. And I think LinkedIn has become one of the most important social networks for business.
What are your views on traditional mutual fund fact sheets? Crying out for disruption, or still an essential tool for investors?
I think the mutual fund factsheet created by the end of the month like in the good old times is outdated and definitely cries out for disruption. The importance of digitalization of information flow and communication will further increase within the next years. Easy access to information, to reliable information, and transparency, are essential for fund selectors and investors; this means digital factsheets with access to performance data ‘on the fly,’ as well as tailor made login areas for customers and a perfect visualization of fund data.
What are some of the biggest digital pain points you see in financial services?
Compliance issues, data security topics, and data availability have been the biggest digital pain points. The need for digitalization is definitely there, and the financial industry is far behind others in the way of how to attract clients and interact with them; the need for digital will rapidly grow as the next generations are used to digital media.
What’s your experience been like in this notoriously male dominated industry?
Throughout my career, I often got the impression I had to prove myself twice as much and be better to earn respect. Especially when working in marketing and communications – a field typically dominated by women. You often have to convince people that it takes more than just drafting nice presentations and ordering merchandise. Getting the messages right, developing USPs for a company, its services and products requires deep knowledge and understanding of the clients’ needs, the competitors and trends in the market. It’s about knowing your stakeholders and managing their expectations. At the same time, you also have a particular sort of power in this job as you finally shape the image and brand; this is a huge responsibility. When I finally understood that power and had the years of experience, I found myself more relaxed.
It is funny that when you go to a conference, there are still just a few women in the room – and I’m not even talking about the speaker line up. But I think compared to 10 years ago when I started my career, we have already come a long way.
What advice do you have for other women interested in making financial services a career?
Follow your path, do not get intimidated by others, and learn to network with men and women; networking is critical! However, men do have their inner circles and meetings where no women will ever have access, so it does help sometimes to join a women’s’ network like FinTech Ladies or Fondsfrauen in Germany.
You speak five different languages; how did this come about?
I am passionate about communication; I love to speak to people in their mother tongue. Every time I lived abroad (France, Turkey), or while traveling for a long period of time (North and South America), I tried to learn as much as possible about the culture and the language. I do not speak all languages fluently or use them all in my daily life, but it gives a deeper understanding of how people think and opens doors.
What do you like to do for fun?
Outdoors and sports, traveling, socializing with friends and dancing.
As of January 1st, 2017 Catherine Burgy is Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications at LRI Group. In the newly created position, she is responsible for all aspects of Marketing and Communications, working closely together with the Management Board, Business Development, Client Relationship and other departments. She adds value by developing actionable market insights, monitoring competition and conducting research to understand industry trends. In addition to exploring regional and segment behaviors to define and build marketing content and collateral. In pursuit of growing the international brand awareness of LRI Group, Catherine plans and organizes client seminars, conferences and other events as well as digital marketing activities.
Before joining LRI Group, Catherine was working for Hamburg-based Aquila Group as Manager Corporate Communications for the Group’s Management Company Alceda where she increased brand awareness internationally through specific PR and marketing campaigns. She also assumed a lead role in developing a marketing strategy for the set-up of the international sales network. In her latest position as Head of Product Marketing for Aquila Capital she managed product marketing and communications functions, overseeing a 5-member team.
After studying Social Sciences and Business Administration in Germany (University of Mannheim) and Strasbourg, France (EM Business School) she started her career as a consultant for distribution and marketing for Asset Management Firms. She then worked for the large Belgian market player KBC Asset Management, where she was responsible for corporate and product marketing in the Geman speaking countries.
Her PhD thesis at TU Darmstadt explored how NGOs use shareholder engagement and capital markets to influence multinational companies to improve CSR. In her subsequent sabbatical she travelled to North and South America before joining Aquila Group in Hamburg.
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