THEME: FINANCIAL COMMUNICATIONS ♦ When I worked for a large asset manager, it always surprised me how much research was being produced. Whole teams are writing about the various asset classes, research into new (illiquid) asset classes and macro research. The reason for this? Every self-respecting asset manager would like to publish as much research as possible with the underlying idea that they are not a product vendor but a sparring partner, a forerunner of solutions. This is a good idea in itself. If you manage the money of someone else, you also want to show that you have the knowledge. But is there a need for all this research?
Absolutely a yes. The institutional and private investor needs information to form an picture of the market and its opportunities and developments. The investor would like to make a decision based on well-founded information. The investment market is very information-driven. Supply and demand therefore seem to come together. Nice, but … unfortunately it does not work that way.
The enormous overkill of information makes it difficult for the investor to filter what is important and what is not. Often managers write all around the same topic. The asset manager feels obliged to publish something too about the subject, but this content does not distinguish itself from others. And what I have learned from my own experience is that even those who are in contact with the customer can no longer handle the amount of research from the internal organization. Who wants what? Who needs what and what does everyone need? The idea of a grab bag …
The question is therefore: what is wrong with this process? Most asset managers look at production, each asset class wants to produce as much as possible (pushing elbow). But the value of the research is hardly questioned. It is quantity above quality. And that does not match your goal as an asset manager. As an asset manager you want to increase your visibility and improve your position as a source of information. Ideally, you are an asset authority. But if you shoot information into the market without coordination, it takes a lot of time internally, from managers, product specialists and distribution teams. You might expect help from the marketing department which is focused on the outside world, but marketing often lacks the mandate to steer or stop content.
Is there a solution conceivable for the asset manager? Yes, there is but it does require the asset manager to restructure the way they are publishing their content. For example, by setting up a special team responsible for the distribution of the research and letting it function as an editorial department. Make someone responsible for the market’s demand and link it to someone who couples it with the relevant information produced by the organization. This department needs to have the power to say ‘no’ to the asset class departments, just like a chief editor. Let someone else be responsible for how and in what way the information is distributed outside. Develop a ‘newsroom’ in which the abundant content is translated into news. And go one step further by improving the relationships with external media. Be creative in the way the material is prepared for the media, think of visual and graphical content, and develop new owned (digital) media channels.
This way your visibility is increased and your research becomes more relevant, penetrating and attractive. This requires an investment in money and – moreover – in time, but consider how much money and time you could save yourself afterwards by avoiding content that will never be consumed or read …
We can demonstrate how this works in several information-driven organizations. And we like to put it into practice within your asset management organization.