The global head of BNP Paribas Investment Partners, whose decision to freeze three of the firm’s investment funds in August 2007 is considered a defining moment in the global credit crunch, has died at the age of 44.

Gilles Glicenstein, chief executive of BNP’s investment management arm, passed away on Wednesday, April 22 after months of a “courageous fight against illness”, according to a statement on the firm’s website.

“During the past 10 years, Gilles has built up a global multi-specialist asset manager group dedicated to respond to client’s needs in all circumstances and the management and employees of BNP Paribas Investment Partners are determined to continue in this direction and realise his vision,” the statement said.

For the time being, Glicenstein’s responsibilities will be assumed by Jacques d’Estais, member of BNP Paribas Group executive committee and head of investment solutions, aided by Philippe Marchessaux and Pascal Biville, deputy CEOs of BNP Paribas Investment Partners.

Having joined BNP Group in 1994, Glicenstein was made head of BNP Paribas Asset Management (now BNP Paribas Investment Partners) in 1999, and took on the role of CEO in June 2005. From 1996 to 1999, he held the role of executive vice-president of BNP Gestions. 

Glicenstein’s decision to suspend redemptions from three BNP funds exposed to asset-backed securities made headlines around the globe, and the

US equity markets subsequently fell sharply.

At the time, BNP said it had frozen redemptions because the “complete evaporation of liquidity in certain market segments of the US securitisation market has made it impossible to value certain assets fairly regardless of their quality or credit rating”.

That same day, on August 9, central banks agreed to inject billions of capital into the interbank lending market in an attempt to put the brakes on the credit crunch.


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