It was a masterstroke by Generali to hire Tim Ryan as its chief investment officer back in 2017. In Ryan, the Italian giant didn't only benefit from over 25 years of asset management experience, but also from a very specific experience in Asia, invaluable in the current low interest rate era.
Indeed, Ryan refined his skills in the ultra-low yield environment in Japan where he spent nine years, firstly as country CIO for Axa, before moving to the French insurers' asset manager AllianceBernstein, where he was chairman and chief executive officer for Japan.
He once said he learnt in Japan that insurers can't do a good job in managing a low yield environment without working on both the structure of the liabilities and the quality of the assets.
When he joined the Italian underwriter, Generali had about €450bn ($480bn) in assets under management. Fast forward to September 2019, and the company reported a 29.5% year-on-year growth in its investment assets to €632.5bn.
A large part of that surge came from Generali's enthusiastic purchasing of investment boutiques which saw third-party assets grow by 123% to €161.3bn, from €72.3bn a year earlier.
He spearheaded Generali's 2021 strategy which aims to double the asset management net results by 2021 as well as increasing geographic and market diversification.
In January 2020, Generali joined the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. Ryan who will be representing the group at the Alliance, said: "We are proud to be part of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. It is about walking the talk and further aligning our investment portfolio to our long-term commitments. As a financial services operator we feel the responsibility of contributing to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050."