AMMF #64: Marketing masterclass, GDPR returns, investing in alpacas

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Welcome to our asset management marketing focus

This week’s edition brings you a marketing masterclass, GDPR reflections, a blockchain revelation for the FSI, and alpaca investments.

Movers & Shakers

Michele Colavito headshotMichele Colavito
Is now ➜ Sales Manager, Italy at Merian Global Investors
Was: Sales Manager at Allfunds Bank – Milan Branch

Further information: Investment Europe

Dominik Kremer
Is now ➜ Head of Business Development at Unigestion
Was: Head of Institutional Distribution EMEA and Latin America at Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Further information: Investment Week 

Franck Nicolas headshotFranck Nicolas
Is now ➜ Senior Client Solution Manager at BNP Paribas Asset Management
Was: Head of Investment & Client Solutions at Natixis Asset Management

Further information: Investment Europe

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

Fund in Focus: M&G Positive Impact Fund 

recycling-fundESG investment gathers momentum, and whilst we looked into exactly what constitutes each component of the acronym in last week’s edition, the past 7 days has delivered news of M&G launching their Positive Impact Fund, looking to specifically supply a positive impact by addressing societal and environmental problems.
The portfolio of companies has been drawn together due to their focus on sustainability, and will be contain up to 40 names, delivering capital growth for investors by aiming to outperform the MSCI All Countries World index over a five year period. It is to be managed by John William Olsen and Ben Constable-Maxwell, head of sustainable and impact investing. It is M&G’s first retail fund investing in these challenges.
The firm has outlined measures to define the sustainable efforts of the companies, all global businesses with some from emerging markets, and Olsen notes there will be a bias towards small and mid-cap companies. They will be segmented into three groups: ‘pioneers’, ‘enablers’, and ‘market leaders’, and impact areas for the fund include:

  • Improvements in health
  • Better working conditions
  • Social equality
  • Recycling
  • Clean air, land and water
  • Climate change solutions

Further to this, investments will be screened using a three-point analysis which contains each company’s base, intentions and impact, following the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework. As Olsen states, the firm will be “constantly researching” in order to monitor the ongoing ‘impact’ that these companies have.
The current annual management charge is 0.75% for the share classes which features on the majority of the platform, and the estimated ongoing charge will be 0.9%.
Speaking about the fund, CIO for M&G equity, multi-asset and retail fixed interest Graham Mason says: “With the launch of this fund, impact investing is now more accessible to a wider base of our customers, and those looking for access to companies making a positive difference, either to society or the environment in which they operate, while aiming to deliver excellent investment performance.”
Sustainable investing is not just commonplace, but also a necessary offering from the world’s largest asset managers that must adapt to changing social issues, humanitarian projects and climate control.
Further information: Citywire Funds Insider | Investment Week

Firm in Focus: Ally Bank

e-sportsSteering away from the fund-specifics for a second, The Financial Brand has managed to interview one the financial world’s leading marketers: Andrea Brimmer from Utah-based Ally Bank.
As Chief Marketing Officer for a financial powerhouse, it’s a tough task to remain as creative and disruptive as some of the leading technology companies that have world renowned marketing campaigns, but also an opportunity to remain disruptive. By applying such daring campaigns to the financial world, marketing techniques that have, Brimmer says, “changed more in the last five years than in the previous hundred years” will continue to evolve and connect banks and financial services companies far better with their customer base.
As well as CMO, Andrea Brimmer also holds expert status as a marketer and advertiser (notably working for car manufacturer Chevrolet previously), and can even be described as a ‘Chief Disruption Officer’ for Ally Bank’s novel and unconventional approach to financial marketing. Then again, it sounds simple from what she’s discussing: people are people, and resonating with their emotions is what is key to a marketer in any industry. Marketing for the FSI has certainly found itself here with digitalisation at its peak; Ally Bank’s website includes a handy ‘dejargonator’ to give users the definitions of industry-speak in Leighman’s terms, and even try at all costs to eliminate the use of disclaimers.
And alongside these tiny (but oh-so-crucial) changes to web offerings, Ally Bank’s marketing extends to far more elaborate measures. It wouldn’t be too surprising if you hadn’t thought to ‘make up’ a holiday such as Ally’s ‘National Online Bank Day’ or ‘Banksgiving’, but these efforts have drawn in customers with their inventive concepts and competitions. Perhaps the most futuristic form of marketing opportunity outlined by Brimmer is gamification. Whilst we have seen financial institutions add reward points and the surfable experience that gaming consoles can offer users via mobile apps, Ally Bank is looking to go many steps further by tapping into the e-sports market.
Intrigued? Check out Brimmer’s excellent case studies into building the new generation of financial marketing – and examples from elsewhere – which could really benefit your investors.

Regulatory Matters: Happy Half-First Birthday, GDPR

EU-GDPRLast week marked the sixth month anniversary since the drop of the EU’s most renowned mixtape in marketing regulation: General Data Protection Regulation.
More commonly referred to as GDPR, it has ruffled quite a few marketing feathers for those that work both inside and outside of the EU-membership, particularly in financial circles whereby customer’s information can be held in data centres worldwide, and cross-border transactions can prove problematic. If you can remember correctly, around the date of May 25th, we were all hit with hordes of emails from companies asking for them to continue sending material to their sender lists, and for companies that avoided the requirement to locate and control their customer’s data, a €20 million / 4% of annual turnover fine was due to be dished out. If you needed a full reminder of what the regulation meant for organisations, check out our video from just before the fateful day here.
But how many companies faced the consequences and, as this author asks, do consumers actually care about where their data is, or how companies they once signed up to are using it? This reflection on GDPR activity in the past six months over at City A.M. answers these burning questions, whilst much of the GDPR content that governed financial news at the start of the year has completely dwindled into nothingness.
And yet, we certainly need to be reminded that this was an EU regulation that caused severe problems, highlighting stringent marketing changes for companies including Google and Facebook and pretty much the entire advertising world. The good news at the end of it all, according to City A.M., is that most companies seem to be taking the rules completely seriously and it’s all a step in the right direction for consumers to take full hold of their data and build more trust with the companies that hold it.

Fintech News: All Aboard the Blockchain!

Cruise-ship-blockchainWe’ve squawked a fair amount at the possibility of blockchain within financial services and, lo and behold, it may finally be coming to assist the investment world once and for all!
As reported by Reuters and Coin Telegraph is the news that Calastone – a fund transaction network that services such large firms as JP Morgan Asset Management and Invesco – is looking to relocate it entire system onto the blockchain – the distributed ledger technology (DLT) that looks to cut prices and legwork.
Calastone’s CEO Julien Hammerson has commented in an interview with FT that funds are “hampered by continually rising costs and threat of competition, ultimately rendering the current system economically and operationally unsustainable”, with research from the company and Deloitte stating that shifting mutual fund transactions to the blockchain could save $2.6 billion. That’s a landslide.
Currently, the messaging process used requires three separately sent messages which, whilst fairly reliable, can be made far more efficient with using the DLT. We’ve yet to see much actual detail of blockchain use in finance besides cryptocurrencies, so this is certainly an exciting time for mutual funds.

Industry Insights

Mounting Problems
Summit-FacebookIt’s not been the best year for Facebook. On top of the aforementioned Cambridge Analytica scandal in regards to data security, elsewhere investors in the social media conglomerate have voiced their unfavourable opinions of the company in regards to their communication as reported by Financial News.
The hiring of former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in October now seems to be more relevant, as he serves as Facebook’s Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications, brought in to hopefully improve the network between company and shareholders. Shares in Facebook have fallen 25% since the start of the year, no thanks to the data harvesting story, but also the poor reputation of not acknowledging or responding to investors’ views for up to three years. Not good.
Mark Zuckerberg faces a mountainous uphill struggle to regain trust from both the public, but also those that have shares in Facebook, who dwindle in communication in comparison to other large-scale businesses. It has become a very public outpouring of distrust over the past months, and serves as an example for why two-way communication between investors and companies is paramount for success.
Podcast Predictions
Microphone-Interview-PimcoEnd of year reflections/new year predictions is the name of the game here, and Hermes Investment Management has dedicated an episode of its Amplified podcast series, hosted by Eoin Murray, Head of Investment, to discuss exactly what’s been going down the world over and how it can impact investing for the year ahead.
Women’s progress in the mid-term US elections and weather problems such as California’s recent wildfires are just a few things that dominated the latter stages of this year’s news, as outlined by Murray, before he scours the Hermes’ office floor to ask portfolio managers about market disruption, the risk levels of certain investment spaces and much more.
The short-and-sweet podcast feature is the perfect way to present these holistic outlooks, and just one stocking filler for asset managers in the weeks to come. You can also check out our favourite industry podcasts here.
And finally…
Alpacas…here’s a bunch of investments that are certainly far from predictable.
Investment News’ slideshows tend to collate some rogue choices every now and then, but this is certainly one of the most bizarre, and a collection of genuine ideas that advisors have actually heard.
Among the hot picks of strangeness include a farm for alpacas and a farm for bees. Then again, the investment prospect of marijuana seems to be picking up pace in regions where it has been fully or partly legalised. Who knows what the next investment trend will be in the years to come?
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.