Anna Paglia: Insights from a 20-year career and today’s priorities

Dan Barnes Welcome to ETF TV, I’m Dan Barnes. Joining us today is Anna Paglia, global head of Invesco’s ETFs & Index Strategies Business.

Deborah Fuhr And I’m Deborah Fuhr from ETF TV. Congratulations Anna, on your recent promotion.

Anna Paglia Thank you, Debbie. It’s great to be here today, so thank you for having me.

Deborah Fuhr So I think we’d all love to hear the back story of how your career path took you to where you are today in your new role.

Anna Paglia So I entered the ETF industry 20 years ago, actually over 20 years ago. And Debbie, you may remember those days when few people knew what an ETF was and almost nobody had an appreciation for how we use ETF. The process of democratization of the investments was a very compelling story for me growing up in the asset management industry and made for a fascinating me. When I joined Invesco 10 years ago, Invesco had just bought the ETF business, PowerShares, and to me that created the perfect environment because we had a very small, primordial aggressive spirit of an up and coming ETF business. But it was also coupled with the big shoulders, the risk tolerance and risk adversity of a public company that made for a very, very good balance. When it comes to the organic growth of the business, I really had the privilege to be at the forefront of innovation. Invesco signed many firsts. So think about the first big span, the senior loan ETF. So that was very energizing. But also think about the path to organic growth, starting with the transfer of the commodity assets from Banking 2015, to the Guggenheim acquisition, and the acquisition of the Oppenheimer business. So it has been a terrific adventure. I found the last six years in this industry have be enfascinating, but I’m looking forward to the next 20 years, to be honest with you.

Dan Barnes What do you think has been the toughest decision you’ve had to make during your time working with ETFs?

Anna Paglia It’s not just one decision. It’s a decision that you have to make every day, because the ETFs come in many different shapes and forms. You have data, mushed data, active, passive, alternatives, leveraged and inverse. So there is always something new and there is always a shiny object and somebody saying the future of the industry is going to be here. So the toughest decision is saying no to something. Let’s face it, saying yes, it’s easy. Everyone likes you when you say yes, but saying no is necessary, because this market is crowded and if you want to be relevant to your clients, you really need to know what you stand for, your differentiated offering, and you need to be true to yourself.

Deborah Fuhr When you think about the next six to 12 months, what is going to be your focus?

Anna Paglia First and foremost, returning to work. We have a cross-functional theme of specialized professionals at Invesco that are meeting regularly and trying to understand when to reopen the offices. So going back to work in a way that is caring for the health and safety of our employees is going to be paramount in the next six to 12 months. Priority number two, which is actually not the number two, I would say is continuing to focus on our clients. We have seen the increas in the volume of calls, clients requests, the client feedback, and that they came to us in the months of March and April. While you have seen the market volatility, the discount for fixed income, how are you’ve been in ask spreads.

So we really react to that and put all of our resources on the table to create this one-on-one interaction with clients. There’s virtual seminars or education sessions so that all of our clients understand what is going on. And then the third priority, together with the rest of my leadership team is challenging the way people think about innovation. Product first, but expand that. Think about the entire ecosystem, think about new partnerships or new ways in which you can deliver the content of all kinds. So continuing to pioneer innovation in this industry is certainly one of the top three priorities for the next six to 12 months.

Deborah Fuhr If you think back on your career, what advice would you share with your younger self?

Anna Paglia I have been in a number of situations where had I listened more, I would have done better. So less talking and more listening for sure. And the advice I would give is not to spend so much time trying to be the smartest person in the world. First of all, I would never be the smartest person in the room. And by the way, you don’t need to be. In this industry if you work hard and if you are good and if you are smart, you can have the privilege of working in the smartest team in the room, but it’s all going to be about leveraging the ideas from different people who are very much smarter than you, and they’re coming up with that innovative solution. I would also tell myself not to date a certain guy, but that’s probably going to be on a different segment.

Deborah Fuhr Well, we’ll have to have a glass of wine and discuss that one offline.

Anna Paglia Most definitely!

Deborah Fuhr Well, thank you so much for sharing your advice and insights, that’s been really terrific.

Anna Paglia Thank you so much for having me.

Dan Barnes I’d like to thank Anna for her insights and of course you for watching. To catch up on our other shows, go to ETFTV.NET or TRADERTV.NET.

Published on July 30, 2020