Clarisse Djabbari 
Deputy Global Head of Lyxor ETFs & Indexing @ Lyxor Asset Management

“We need talented men and women to support the growth of the market.”

JE: Please tell us about yourself and your experience. How did you become the Deputy Global Head of Lyxor ETFs & Indexing at Lyxor Asset Management?
Clarisse: I graduated from a french Business School (Audencia) in 1995, and immediately began my career with Deloitte, with a focus on the banking industry. As someone new to the industry, I found this an invaluable introduction to finance, thanks to the diversity of topics and clients I dealt with.

Following a consultancy project with Société Générale, I was offered a job on the Investment Banking side, some 15 years ago now. My career with Société Générale spanned a number of positions in the Equity Derivatives division of Société Générale’s Corporate and Investment Bank, mainly in Middle-Office and Finance roles.

Almost 7 years ago, I was approached to join Lyxor, Société Générale Asset Management arm, to deal with the ETF side of the business. I am now head of the ETF business, which is one of the top 3 European ETF providers in Europe with EUR 48 Bn assets under management.

JE: You are one of the board members of Women in ETFs. Please tell us more about WE’s initiative, its mission to inspire people and your role in the organization?
Women in ETFs was founded almost three years ago in the US. The objective was to connect like-minded women in the industry, to support them, and to inspire them to get into this fascinating sector which is growing at a fast-pace.

The association has grown rapidly and expanded both in Europe and Asia. We have now over 2,300 female and male members (10% of our members). Our members represent the diversity of the ETF ecosystem, with ETF issuers as well as clients, regulators, index providers, brokers, market makers, custodians, consultants, etc.

We offer to our members networking and educational events, professional development workshops, webinars, and we are finalizing a mentoring program which will be launched in February 2017. For more information, please visit

I am co-head of Sponsorship in the Women in ETFs EMEA Board. We are funded by the generous donations of key players in the industry, and we also rely on hosts to support us, particularly in Europe where they provide venues and catering for our events. If you are interested in supporting us in Europe, please don’t hesitate to reach me at the following address:

JE: What was your first job in the investment industry? How did you decide to pursue the career you have today and what was the pivotal moment?
Clarisse: As mentioned earlier, I came from a consultant/finance background, so moving to the ETF space wasn’t an obvious choice for me. I have been lucky enough to meet senior managers who were confident enough to give me the opportunity to change my career path. It’s essential to have these kind of “mentors” who trust you, give you confidence, and tell you that “yes, you can do it”. This kind of support is essential. It is what gives you the confidence to take risks in your career.

I must also highlight the role of my peers at Lyxor who supported me when I joined this new role. As a beginner in this field, there were areas where I was struggling and needed help. These people gave me a helping hand when I needed it, providing a type of mentorship which was invaluable to me. Social skills and the ability to connect are key in these situations.

JE: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Clarisse: That’s an interesting question. I first thought that the advisory assignments I undertook whilst at Deloitte for prestigious French Banks like BNP Paribas and SG were the highlight. Then I thought my time in the Finance department of SG in London was the highlight. Since then I thought it was my promotion to head of Finance for SG’s Equity Derivatives division and then Capital markets division.

Right now I definitely think the highlight is having the chance to run the ETF business within Lyxor. What I particularly enjoy, and what really drives me, is the people I work with. What motivates me is the opportunity to build teams, to enable them to grow, and to see them maturing. It makes me proud to see what they are able to achieve.

JE: What is the best bit of advice you’ve received in your career?
Clarisse: Like all of us, I have received an awful lot of advice, some good and some not-so-good. Advice is something people love to give, whether you ask for it or not. I am personally convinced that you don’t learn how to live your life through advice, but through your own experience.

I have learned through the different opportunities I have had as a manager that cohesion and trust in a team is key. No cohesion, no team, no chance of a long term success.

It is key when putting teams together that you hire people who work well with others. Of course finding the right mix of skills and backgrounds is essential, but beyond that I want to make sure that each person is worth of their colleague’s trust. If not, no matter how brilliant the candidate is, I don’t want to hire that person. A team is not a sum of co-workers; that’s not enough to create a powerful team. I am convinced that the trust felt in strong teams is what drives them to achieve far more. Clients and competitors are the real boss in our challenging environment. One should be able to tell each other what to improve and challenge our leaders, regardless of their position in the hierarchy, as long as it is for the sake of improving the business.

JE: If you can give advice to those who are just starting in the industry, what will it be?
The ETF market is a growing market, and all studies show that this growth will continue into the future. I must admit that when I joined 7 years ago I had no idea how diverse the topics I would deal with would be. They go from business development through product innovation, client acquisition, liquidity and market making, process streamlining, profitability, and many others. This market is incredibly rich and exciting. It offers a lot of opportunities in so many different fields: sales, marketing, fund management, financial engineering, IT & digital…We need talented men and women to support the growth of the market.

To conclude I would like to quote Thomas Jefferson “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”