With decades of impressive experiences within the Capital Markets, banking guru Clément Perrette has parlayed various skills into successful ventures for leaders in the global financial market. Responsible for spearheading Europe’s development of STRIPs (zero coupon bonds), the business leader grew the venture steadfastly. Throughout his role as Managing Director at Barclays, Perrette commanded Barclays EUR rates to the top, in terms of profitability and ranking, for several years.
With such exhaustive accolades under his belt, with more than twenty years of pertinent experience, he received an opportunity to relocate his family to Paris, and spend a few months in between positions, pursuing life’s most worthwhile endeavors. Seizing this unique opportunity to develop lifelong memories with his family, Perrette sailed the riveting forty seven foot sailing boat, Cruising Bird, across the Atlantic for nearly four months. Stretching between the Basque Country, Portugal, Madeira Islands, Cabo Verde and the West Indies, Perrette’s ventures became further manifestations of his love for the ocean.
Throughout the next two years, Perrette excelled within his role as Head of the Barclays Investment Function, before retiring from the realm of Capital Markets in 2013. After relocating to Geneva, he joined RAM Active Investments as an MD Senior Portfolio Manager, where he dove into asset management, managing the Global Bond Total Return Fund.
With a desire to maintain a healthy work-life balance, Perrette also parlayed his love of the ocean into increased conservation efforts, and philanthropy. Notably, alongside long-time friend Philip Hamilton, Perrette co-produced “Call Of The Blue”, an aesthetically beautiful tome featuring over three hundred spectacular marine-life and ocean-centric photographs. Featuring over one hundred scientists, explorers, and other professionals, the project’s mission was to raise awareness of the public, and promote a wide range of biodiversity projects.
Growing his philanthropic efforts, he assisted Hamilton, and The Uproar Fund, as the Executive Producer of a groundbreaking film named “Ocean Souls”. Rich with beauty and aesthetic grace, the film’s mission is to educate the public about the intelligence, social behaviour, and strong feelings of whales and dolphins. Aiming to raise awareness of the majesty of these creatures, the film remained devoted to the long-term goal of extinguishing whale and dolphin hunting in areas like Japan, and Iceland.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
As a child, I excelled within my primary studies, and particularly enjoyed mathematics, physics, and anything that has to do with numbers. I greatly enjoyed the concept of solving problems, and figuring out ways to get to the correct answer. I received my BA in 1983, a Civil Engineering diploma in 1989, and finally, my Master of Finance in 1990. After the completion of my formal education, my first position post-matriculation was in New York City, working as a Financial Analyst for Worms & Cie. From there, my continued growth within the field was natural, with one experience building upon another, and providing new opportunities for expanding my horizons.
In addition to my vocational desires, I was also inspired by the sea from a young age. Thus, after many successful years in the financial industry, I jumped at the opportunity to pursue ventures within the realm of philanthropy, and ocean preservation. As with my work in the financial sector, my philanthropic endeavors grew as a direct result of mounting experience, knowledge, and leadership within the world of ocean conservation efforts.
How do you make money?
Throughout my career, I have garnered traditional forms of compensation for my expertise, with various potential bonuses tied to performance, stability, and financial gain for the company. Within the realm of my philanthropic efforts, however, making money is directly related to fundraising in various capacities. Through fundraising rounds, special events, and even reaching out to potential donors, I am proud to garner the vastly needed funds to successfully complete research, and provide the tangible materials needed for conservation efforts.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
When I was first developing STRIPs in Paris, and then for various European currencies, I was still well within the fledgling stages of my career. Almost from inception, this venture proved to be profitable, which was very exciting for me. From there, my ventures have been successful, albeit not without hardships, stressors, and other factors.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
As I previously touched upon, one of my initial duties early in my career was to set up STRIPs desks throughout Europe, which I considered to be quite the undertaking. As human doubt is somewhat natural and unavoidable, I have certainly succumbed to those feelings as well. In those situations, I attempted to remind myself of the methodical, numbers-based nature of my work. Essentially, in working with numbers, there is a certain logic that is at the forefront of all operations. This logically sound way of thinking has always helped to keep me grounded, calm, and mentally on task.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Apart from personal referrals, and word of mouth, I believe that it is important to not only be aware of competition, but to draw upon the successes of competing businesses. If another business within the same sector is doing a fantastic job with new customer acquisition, for example, it would behoove any competitors to examine ways in which this company may be reaching such success. From there, one can surmise whether similar tactics would potentially prove fruitful, and implement any strategies that may fit.
Within the realm of my philanthropic endeavors, I constantly attempt to spread knowledge, and garner the support of as many individuals as possible, in an effort to create financial security, and increase the sphere of influence of Call of The Blue, and The Uproar Fund. In this capacity, I find that in order to gain supporters (equal to “customers” in a traditional employment route), one must educate individuals, provide them with a call to action based on newly developed passion for ocean conservation, and a deeper understanding of the similarities between ocean life, and our own. This understanding then propels individuals to take action, rendering the entire operation effort successful.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Though this decision occurred a few years prior, the toughest decision I’ve had to make was to “retire” from the Money Markets. Having dedicated most of my time, energy, and professional motivations to the all-encompassing field for so long, I felt strongly that I was ready to focus on spending quality time with my family, as well as devoting energy to promoting ocean preservation, a passion of mine since childhood. However strong my convictions and motivations were, I did find it difficult to essentially leave a field that has been my primary professional focus for multiple decades.
Since theoretically “lightening my load” a little bit, I have been able to devote more time to my philanthropic endeavors, which continue to grow. Through my partnership with my dear friend Philip Hamilton, I have co-produced “Call Of The Blue”, which is a huge source of pride for me, and somewhat spearheaded my deep dive into philanthropic efforts. From there, I got involved with The Uproar Fund, and became an Executive Producer for “Ocean Souls”, a beautiful film about the life of whales, and dolphins. My love for this effort grew so much that I am currently in the process of joining Uproar as a non-executive Board Member! Though these pivotal efforts keep me just as busy as ever, I do find myself wholly fulfilled by this work.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I feel confident that the notion of flexibility is crucial to garnering success, and maintaining long-term success within any market. Though I am swift to implement decisions, and stick with them once they are confirmed, I remain flexible prior to taking a concrete stance. For this reason, I feel confident that I am able to remain open-minded, and garner various new insights based on this ability to remain flexible.
When I do formulate a theory, idea, or stance, I then accept the challenging of said stance. I take opposite arguments into account in a manner that is open to being incorrect, without ego, and with only the desire to gain insight. After all considerations, I then implement these thoroughly examined theories into practice via investments.
I have followed this approach throughout the entirety of my career, and have certainly changed my mind about particular topics upon further examination. I truly believe that if I were rigid, or otherwise unwilling to examine thoughts, I would have experienced a lot less success within the field.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When I began my professional career at Barclays, where I would remain for numerous years, I was very invested in growing the reputation of the company from a minor player, to the top rated European trading house. Before long, this goal was achieved, and between 2002 and 2004, Barclays EUR Rates franchise became the top franchise, in terms of profitability, and customer relations.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Professionally, I have continued my journey into asset management. In 2016, I joined RAM Active Investments, where I work as a Senior Fund Manager, managing a portfolio, and diversifying global Fixed Income fund. The fund was launched in 2016 with an initial $80 million, and in the short amount of time that has passed since, the fund currently manages $210 million, growing steadfastly. I’m excited about the continued success of my involvement with RAM Active Investments, and continue to pursue this avenue.
Within my philanthropic endeavors, I am excited to bring more awareness to the cause of marine life preservation via my involvement with Uproar. With my increasingly growing role with the group, I am excited to devote time and energy to the group’s mission.
What business books have inspired you?
Though I do read extensively in regard to finance, I find that this type of reading is purely educational. I do, however, read about topics pertaining to my philanthropic endeavors, and about history.
Aside from “Call Of The Blue”, obviously, I am inspired by a few history books. “The Ascent of Money” by Niall Ferguson is a particularly insightful novel, and should be read everyone interested in history. The history of money is often underestimated, and the manner in which the concept of money has been interwoven within a society’s history is quite interesting. In the same realm, I would recommend “Collapse” by Jared Diamond, a beautifully written tome that examines the collapse of human civilizations, as a result of disregard for their environment. Obviously, this book draws a parallel to the various conflicting schools of thought presently about climate change, and its subsequent impact on civilization.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Though not technically a purchase, I have recently made a donation toward ocean preservation efforts, which helps all involved charities, organizations, individuals, and efforts!
What experiences have broadened your horizons in terms of parlaying your dreams of ocean preservation into an actionable reality?
Since I was a young boy, I have been vastly interested in ocean life, sailing, and being in the water. I have always been fascinated by the extensive wildlife inhabiting the oceans, and a grand sense of the unknown in the vast oceans, never completely tamed. In September of 2011, I found myself in between positions, relocating my family to Paris. Throughout this time, my employer, Barclays, generously allowed me time off to make this large transition, and enjoy some time off prior to starting my new position.
During this time, I seized the opportunity, and found myself sailing across the Atlantic for roughly four months. This experience totally encapsulated my love for the ocean, gave new meaning to my life, and solidified the need to devote my time and energy to this cause.