Our CEO, Edouard Narboux had an exclusive conversation with Alexis Valéro, Director of the ‘Corporate Finance’ division at Décideurs Magazine, a subsidiary of the Ficade Group , about his outlook during the post-ACPR period.
Here is an exclusive first look at the interview !
AV: Obtaining an ACPR license is a significant step in Aether’s development. Why did you decide to enter this process, and why was 2023 the right time?
EN: We started as a two-person startup and have grown to a team of around 40 between Paris and London, evolving alongside our clients and their needs. For many months, our clients have been asking us to become a « one-stop-shop » and to obtain this license. It’s hard to say no to your clients. This license institutionalizes us, allows us to grow in terms of organization and processes, and opens up markets that were previously unreachable. We chose a quieter market period to work on this license, which is a hard and time-consuming task for the teams. It’s like rebuilding the company from scratch, creating new positions, and changing the way we work. We’ve entered the big leagues, as we can now replace banks from end to end.
AV: While the LBO and financing market seems to be slowing down, Aether FS’ approach is to accelerate. Could you explain your market logic and vision?
EN: Be careful; the LBO market is not dead. After several intense years, the pause we’re seeing is a return to normal, allowing teams to manage their portfolios and catch their breath. Having spent my first 15 years in the most prestigious French brokerage houses, I remember that you should « buy on the sound of the cannon and sell on the sound of the trumpet. » (french expression). So it was necessary to invest now! We continue to do so by opening positions and launching initiatives and new services.
AV: How do you see the evolution of your agency business? What changes will occur in the medium term?
EN: The agency business and MO and BO roles will evolve in the coming years. They are starting a second life outside their historical natural shelters. The creation of Uptevia and Société Générale’s announcements about SGSS show the direction. The outsourcing of MO and BO services has begun and will continue. At the same time, the wave of disintermediation of financing is just beginning. Once this picture is set, our clients will continue to need our services and impeccable quality of listening and execution. The agency will have to professionalize even more, and this will come through innovation and human resources. We must not repeat past mistakes that have given a bad image to these professions. We have created a new profession in France, and we intend to give it its letters of nobility!
AV: If we project AFS to 3 years: what is your strategy? Your main challenges?
EN: This license opens up new frontiers for us: business and geographical. In 3 years, Aether will have doubled in size, will be present on other continents, and we will have new business lines (already in progress). It’s up to us to create opportunities and rely on the natural synergies of our professions to maintain such growth. Our challenges will be numerous but motivating. Today, we are the largest independent agent in Europe. We want to position ourselves as a consolidator of our market and MO and BO professions. But we want to do this while maintaining our DNA of innovation and quality of customer service because what drives everyone at Aether is that by trusting us, our client relies on us to « Leverage Your Performance. »