AMMF #61: Gender equality lens, website launch, Stan Lee

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Welcome to our asset management marketing focus

This week’s edition brings you a gender equality assessment tool, a brand new website launch, Brexit effects and Stan Lee’s impact on finance.

Movers & Shakers

Mandy Lui
Is now ➜ Head of Wealth/Retail Distribution, Greater China & S.E. Asia at Barings Asset Management
Was: Head of Wholesale Distribution, China, Hong Kong and Singapore at BNP Paribas Asset Management

Nick Thiem headshotNick Thiem
Is now ➜ Head of UK Wealth Managers and Private Banks at BNY Mellon Investment Management
Was: Head of UK Distribution at Coupland Cardiff Asset Management

Santiago Vazquez headshotSantiago Vazquez Martinez
Is now ➜ Head of International Institutional Sales at GVC Gaesco
Was: Associate Director – Europe – Responsible for the European Business Development at Oceanwide Asset Management

Kurtosys expresses their best wishes to all starting in their new positions.

Website Spotlight: Motley Fool Asset Management

Motley Fool, the established financial services umbrella, has (very) recently rolled out a brand new website for its asset management arm – Motley Fool Asset Management – and it’s fair to say that orange is certainly the new black when it comes to its beautiful design.
Utilising the brand-centric orange and navy shades is a striking logo, a crisp SVG graphic on the main page, and a handy top toolbar that accentuates this unique colour scheme when the user hovers over its clear headings. The entire site is dedicated to MFAM’s fund selection, and this homepage designates its space to presenting the user with links to their funds, investor resources, and handy insights.
Alongside some stylish photography is a direct call to action to their main offering – their products – but different funds and company information are arranged in large boxes, making great use of the white space too. The home page also puts company news and insights (from market commentary and to portfolio manager perspectives) at the forefront too, as well as the ability to open accounts, subscribe to newsletters, and direct access to the document library: a neat and comprehensive list of their downloadable content including fund factsheets.
The selection of funds in the fund explorer are segmented by mutual funds or ETFs, also making use of the bright orange colouring for a pleasant design flourish. Each offering in the fund centre is expandable to reveal a full fund card, presenting multiple fund facts and information such as share class, portfolio turnover rate, and portfolio manager headshots. There’s also a list of key documents available to download. Everything is arranged in tidy boxes; we certainly like the consistency of this design concept across the whole site.
A modestly bright and attractive website from MFAM, containing many excellent design decisions and great functionality for investors.

Funds in Focus: Amundi SRI ETF Range

Paris-Gargoyle-BAMLIn keeping with the developing mainstream appeal of ESG criteria to institutional and retail investors, Paris-based Amundi has stated that these strategies account for around 25% of global AUM. Hence their rollout of five new funds in an ETF range, part of their 3-year plan to boost responsible investing starting October this year.
This new suite of products is set to cover both equity and fixed income asset classes, and are as follows:

  • Amundi Index MSCI World SRI UCITS ETF
  • Amundi Index MSCI Europe SRI UCITS ETF
  • Amundi Index US Corp SRI UCITS ETF
  • Amundi Index Euro Agg Corporate SRI UCITS ETF

The first three exchange traded funds above will track the MSCI World, USA and SRI (socially responsible investment) Indices with ongoing charges of 0.18%. Another addition will later be added to the track the MSCI EM SRI Index.
The two latter ETFs fall into the fixed income bracket, which will reportedly replicate the Bloomberg Barclays Euro and US corporate bonds indices, and implementing the MSCI SRI methodology.
Managing Director at Amundi ETF, Indexing and Smart Beta says “Investors will now be able to benefit from a full range of SRI ETFs, spanning both equity and fixed income, and at a competitive cost.” Indeed, the 0.18% charges are considered the “most competitive ongoing charges in Europe.”
As just the start in Amundi’s plan to roll out ESG analysis across its fund range, it’ll be interesting to see where the firm’s fund launches go from here.
Further information: Funds Europe | Investment Week | ETF Express

Firm in Focus: Legal & General

L&G-NHS-ambulanceRelationship matters between advisors and their clients is of utmost importance, and speculated constantly in financial circles.
Therefore, the firm spotlight this week falls on the main act in helping intermediaries support their clients’ protection: Legal & General. Assisting to make the process of income protection (IP) more simple and efficient, L&G have created an adviser hub dedicated to IP that utilises benefit calculators and educational guides to IP and the benefits that adviser products can give to customers. It is part of L&G’s plan to improve sick pay and flexibility for NHS workers, free rehabilitation support and competitive pricing across all occupations.
L&G intermediary director Craig Brown states: “Our Deadline to Breadline report found nearly a third of employees didn’t have any financial back-up plans in place. Income protection could provide a monthly benefit should the client be unable to work due to incapacity caused by illness or injury resulting in a loss of earnings.”
It’s great to see firms further using technology to improve communication and education in an important business class.
Further information: FT Adviser | Professional Adviser

Regulatory Matters: The Broken Record?

Brexit-starIt’s no surprise to UK and EU readers that what’s dominating all business, financial and political news right now is this week’s unveiling that British Prime Minister Theresa May has completed a draft for a Brexit deal, to be agreed with by her Cabinet.
And whilst it seems a step in the right direction for a deal initially, May is now facing a further uphill struggle to convince members of her own Cabinet, wider UK Parliament and EU members that this conceived deal is a reasonable offer. Already this week, yesterday saw the resignation of Brexit secretary Dominic Raab who cited that he could not support the terms in “good conscience”, and Thursday also saw works and pensions secretary Esther McVey in a fairly emphatic assertion that “I cannot defend this. I cannot vote for this. I could not look my constituents in the eye and do that.”
But what has the financial sphere made of this initial agreement news, away from the ins-and-outs of Brexit that still remain under wraps? Financial News London has headed into the depths of The City to get the reactions of CEOs and chairs from some of the biggest banks and asset managers: what they believe will happen as a result of a deal actually being agreed, and how the next few weeks of political discussion will pave the way for the future of the UK financial services industry.

Fintech News: Banks vs Fintech Grudge Match

Boxing-banks-fintechIn the first of this week’s look at how banks are hoping to contend with fintech newcomers (yes, they’re still in a battle for the most part), in this rampant article from the Financial Times which thoroughly explains how the rise of the digital bank is displacing the tradition day-to-days of banking institutions.
Considering that, in Europe, 1,400 digital banks and payment providers have been established merely since 2005 is a worrying statistic, with the article stating that these companies managed to make €58 billion of annual revenue in 2016, accounting for 6-7% of the industry’s total. And with the news that Amazing and Facebook are looking to boost their efforts in the financial space, it’s a worrying time for behind-the-times banks, but these 5 ways (with real-life examples) of how banks are looking to curb complete disruption (through acquisitions, in-house fintech developments and the amendments of business models) may provide some respite, or are at least realistic ways to look at how big players can remain in the game for the long term.
In a perhaps more remarkable statement is the idea of central banks issuing their own cryptocurrencies. That was indeed the sentiment from Christine Lagarde, delivered at the Singapore Fintech Festival in a speech entitled “Winds of Change: The Case for New Digital Currency”. The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is certainly adamant that data is the “new gold” and trust in state-guaranteed money can be gained through the inclusion of technology that is considered “the anchor of trust”.
Aware that countries including Sweden, Uruguay and China are looking into the issue has meant that the IMF is taking the issue very seriously. And whilst many naysayers still exist in regards to the regulatory climbs and validity of cryptocurrencies, maybe Lagarde’s urging to be “unafraid” over risk-averse could change the course of cryptocurrency adoption for good. The crypto world watches on.
In other fintech news, the FT Adviser has reported the long-planned financial advice arm from Nutmeg, one of the UK’s most widely recognised digital wealth managers. Apparently 3 years in the making was this new side to the business, hoping to make financial advice more relatable to customers that have found the process inaccessible, with a technological answer to financial advice allowing users freedom to use it whenever suits them, at a lower cost than usual. It’s certainly another example of the financial newbies looking to redefine the face of the industry, technologically speaking.

Industry Insights

Looking through a new lens
Gender-lensAs we continue to see the advancing of gender equality, a new tool has been released to make the process of investing in companies with gender equality at the height of their performance figures.
Reported to Think Advisor is this new screening tool courtesy of non-profit organisation As You Sow, which promotes ESG responsibility. You can check out the database search here, over at Gender Equality Funds, which compares the holdings of around 5,000 US mutual base to their records which details company performance based around 12 gender equality performance indicators including gender balance in leadership and gender diversity companywide. These yield a portfolio score for each mutual fund, giving investors transparent information specifically about gender for the first time.
Future financial forerunners
Pennies-ForbesThe end of year lists continue!
And this week it’s looking at the rising talented youngsters in the financial space courtesy of Forbes’ esteemed 30 Under 30. 
From portfolio managers at some of the world’s leading asset managers, to co-founders and managing director of their own emerging firms and software solutions, here’s some small fact-files on the next generation of financially-savvy leaders and thinkers, all compiled in a useful gallery.

And finally…

Comics-Stan-Lee…this week saw the unfortunate news of the passing of Stan Lee: the infallible creator of some of Marvel Comic’s most beloved heroes and villains. The planet industry-wide has mourned his death at the age of 95, and no less so in the financial industry. Bloomberg takes a look at the life, financial perils and eventual fortunes of the man and legend in this article detailing the historic share prices of Marvel Comics, as well as looking at Lee’s own visually creative visions of capitalism in such characters as Iron Man. A true great – RIP Stan.
That’s all for this week, but be sure to check back soon for more asset management marketing highlights and fintech snippets from Kurtosys.

Elliot Burr

Elliot Burr

Fervently chatting about the future of funds and fintech.