Reuters Funds Summit: A financial Chernobyl

The mood in the asset management industry is "very cautious, very realistic but not pessimistic" after the financial industry's "Chernobyl" of Lehman Brothers collapse, according to Europe's fund industry chief.

Peter De Proft, director general of the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) told the Reuters Funds Summit, that the mood was now more optimistic.  At least, certainly more so than  4-5 months ago.

Lehman Brothers, though, was Chernobyl. "Boom, it was the atomic bomb," De Proft said, adding that many in the financial industry, including asset managers, appeared "shell-shocked" at the time.

Now he sees more optimism and backs it up with preliminary EFAMA data showing net inflows into investment funds  in January, reversing the trend of outflows seen in the last quarter of 2008. Not huge, but positive, he says. February, meanwhile, was "presumably positive or break-even."

But De Proft was under no illusion that it will take time for investors to venture back in big time. Then again, if you were a fund manager, what else could you bee but optimistic?

(Reuters photo: Andrew Winning)

Food & Funds: Double dose of summits coverage this week

This week we’ve got a double dose of stories for you with both the Food Summit taking place in Chicago and the Funds Summit kicking off Tuesday in Luxembourg. Both summits come at a time when both sectors are in the spotlight. For food, one key question will be: How will cash-strapped consumers spend their hard earned cash if the current economic environment continues to deteriorate. We spent last week putting together a few stories ahead of the Food and Agriculture Summit.

Hormel shines as consumers eat at home:

From pasture to plate: The beef industry sees a double whammy as production prices go on a roller coaster ride and consumer demand sags.