Encounter with Mathilde Boyez – Managing Director at Natixis
EDHEC Graduate, Mathilde Boyez first started her career working in financial markets at ODDO and Exane. After 6 years as equity derivatives sales in Paris, she was willing to take new challenges. Therefore she started an MBA at HEC with a focus on strategy and marketing to add to her existing financial markets knowledge. She joined Natixis in Hong Kong in 2012 to create the Global Markets Client Management Unit (CMU) for Asia Pacific and moved to London in 2013 to launch the same department in the UK.
She was named Senior Relationship Manager in 2015, then UK Head of the SRM team, covering Asset Managers for Global Markets in London. In 2017, she joined the Coverage department as UK Head of Asset Managers and Alternative Investors Coverage. She took her current role as Managing Director, UK Head of Banks, Public Institutions, Asset Managers and Hedge Funds Coverage in September 2020.
We were fortunate enough to ask her some questions on her experiences and feedbacks, looking back at her career path.
Would you say you had a precise long-term plan when you first started your career ? And did you ever envisioned yourself at the current managing level you reached ?
To Mathilde - and most of young graduates -, financial markets were the place to be. She worked on performing several internships beforehand and was very interested in the complexity of equity derivatives. She realized a few years later that entrepreneurial spirit and business development were key for her and found that at Natixis where she has now a great freedom in her current position.
She said she built her career led by opportunities on her way. And with experience she became more curious and ready to take challenges. At the start of her career, she thought "I will make it, I will work in finance and establish myself in Paris.". Then, she understood getting an MBA, working in another country were a must to enlarge her possibilities. Experience in different positions and several countries has opened the door to a lot of opportunities and consequently has been a big boost to her career.
Being the go-getter that you are Mathilde, would you say that your constructive attitude facing challenges has evolved along the years ?
MBA and experience abroad were a big game-changer for Mathilde. Experiencing different cultures and ways of working.
Having children too, being able to find the sweet spot of balance with work. She was not sure she could make it work but still Mathilde got promoted right at her return of maternity leave and found the right equilibrium. She is grateful she got the opportunity to keep in touch with her colleagues and had an informal chat with them, or on what was going on in her department once a month. A day or half. Nothing was imposed, all voluntary. In this way, Natixis honoured her maternity leave while letting Mathilde the opportunity to keep on feeling she belonged to the team on her own terms, with flexibility. At home, paternity leave contributed to more equal parental share.
You have been working in coverage for years now. What explains, after so many seasons, your love for your practice ?
Being at the crossroads of everything, all products with the bank and the most important clients. Morning or afternoon, diversity of mission and opportunities are unique. Coverage engages you on so many levels and you are bound to use many different skills. Coverage mission is to understand market environment, client strategy , needs and issues, to develop relationship with these important accounts from top to bottom, and then to coordinate internally to build the perfect product solutions. This is the very heart of the coverage art and discipline.
In your opinion, which deal or task will you for sure remember for a long time ? And which aspect makes it so particular in your eye ?
When she joined Natixis in the UK, London and its hedge funds was a boiling time. It was not that easy to apprehend such clientele. Was the set up good or not ? Which product? Which client? There is no such thing as one way of doing business. She worked on the strategy supported by Natixis top management. And then defined and monitored KPIs to analyse results and success and of course make the correct adjustments.
On a more personal note, and as concerns DEI matters and initiatives, Mathilde recently proceeded to meet all Vice-President female workers one by one and their managers alongside another MD colleague. The target was to hear from future high-profile women at Natixis how they saw the firm and culture, what was missing to help them advance in their respective careers, how could their managers support them better, did they need any trainings…
All feedbacks were considered, and it was positive to witness all these female bankers freely expressing themselves without hindrance. The conclusions were shared with all, an action plan defined and followed closely.
From your point of view and perspective, how has evolved the function and place occupied by women in your industry throughout your career ?
Nowadays financial services implement several initiatives towards more DEI and commit itself to this path. Is the evolution real and engagement true, meaning there are already concrete improvements ?
According to Mathilde, there has been a huge improvement but there is still leeway for improvement. All banks need more women in their workforce and are putting in place great action plans to improve gender diversity and inclusion.
For example, there are dedicated leadership program reserved to women at Natixis. On the agenda: leadership development, mentoring, career sponsoring, coaching, networking…
Training is also offered to all managers to encourage a perceptive shift. Nothing is set in stone, everybody needs to go beyond biases, gender and social background prejudices. The goal is to create a community of women and men around common mission, vision, and values, which just makes sense for everyone.
Privately have you faced or are you facing any notable challenge as a woman, especially at your current position ?
Mathilde has always been in this environment and stayed true to herself while efficiently integrating teams she has been a part of. She now wants to bring other women at the top too.
Do you have any advice to young female students starting off their professional journeys, who do not dare to apply yet to certain positions ou engage themselves to more prestigious studies and / or careers ?
Interview after interview, Mathilde appreciates the standing of young students who express their long-term vision and projects for the future and dare to say it out loud. "I want this, I can perform, I flourish as a person with Natixis". And who can even challenge the firm on certain aspects they value and want to learn more about.
Likewise, any advice for young male students ?
As a matter of fact, Natixis is still recruiting men. Mathilde emphasized on being in this all together. Now, men need to ask themselves more proactively, what can bring a woman at the business table while staying true to herself, and not trying to adapt herself into whichever preconceived mould.
Mathilde Boyez from Natixis