With over 32 years in finance Pierre Lagrange, Senior Adviser to Man Group (one of The Hedge Fund Journal’s ‘Europe 50’ managers), has been a bond salesman and trader, a private client stockbroker, an equity portfolio manager, a founder and entrepreneur, and a manager. His current role involves championing the application of cutting edge technology to the discretionary investment process at Man GLG.
Lagrange’s career trajectory did not follow any preconceived game plan and each episode, like his first step into finance, involved some serendipitous accidents as well as proactive choices. Lagrange had studied a hybrid business and engineering degree conceived by chemicals entrepreneur Ernest Solvay, at whose eponymous Brussels university he studied. The course was designed to prepare students for what was in 1980s Belgium one of the most sought after careers: working for a US chemicals company. The trainees who landed these roles could specialise in engineering or finance – and after having chosen the latter, there arose an opportunity for Lagrange to dive in at the deep end of company finance, gathering financial data from all over Belgium and upstreaming it via a chemical company parent to the overarching owner in the US. But “being several steps removed from the core objective of the business and remote from the main action” was already frustrating Lagrange, and so circled back to potential employers he had previously been in conversation with.