Kurtosys Spotlight: Simon Mott, robo-advisor comparisons, Sibos 2019

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This week’s edition of Kurtosys Spotlight features HANetf’s Simon Mott, customer-centricity, a teenager’s perspective of robo-advice, diversity measures, Sibos 2019, and the return of (financial) Fantasy Premier League.

Digital Leader Spotlight: Simon Mott, Director of Marketing at HANetf

Simon-MottHANetf acts as Europe’s first independent white label ETF platform, and one of the leading ETF experts in financial marketing is Simon Mott – the firm’s Director of Marketing.
Simon brings over 15 years’ of experience within the ETF world, starting out as a marketing boss for a few firms before working his way to Global Head of Management Marketing for index provider FTSE Russell. At these firms, Simon has handled sales, marketing, comms and PR for global financial companies, specifically within the realm of ETFs. His responsibilities included overseeing the content marketing strategy to build AUM for firms in the ETF ecosystem, also with an advanced handling of digital advertising and social media marketing.
Now at HANetf, Simon outlines in this interview that the priority for the relatively new firm is to create a marketing proposition anew, and to build a world-class digital marketing platform. He has excellent experience in leading marketing teams and authoring content from industry papers to press releases. Simon has also made TV appearances and spoken at some of Europe’s largest ETF events, making him a prominent expert in the ETFs space.
Simon is part of our Most Influential Digital Leaders in Asset Management gallery.

Featured White Paper: How asset managers are becoming more customer centric

In the latest white paper from Kurtosys, we gained the expertise of financial journalist Tim Cooper to delve into the growing need for asset managers the world over to invest more time, energy and resource into developing customer-centric strategies.
Looking into various reports and articles from the likes of FIS and Deloitte – with the 2019 FIS Readiness Report being a particularly pertinent additional resource – Tim looks into the fact that firms are beginning to become more customer-centric as another way to combat mounting fee pressures, costs and regulatory hurdles. Whereas they would once turn to mergers and acquisition or the modernising of their legacy systems, instead the more demanding client base is calling out for further interest in bespoke solutions for individual needs.
Unsurprisingly, one of the most obvious ways for firms to best adhere to their customers’ investment plans is a further focus on ESG, whereby 90% of respondents in a BNP Paribas survey predict they will allocate at least a quarter of their investments in funds that adhere to ESG considerations. Elsewhere, the modernisation of products will be needed to further digital distribution, better gauge the behaviours of customers and improve investment intelligence. With more digital capabilities at these firms’ disposal, asset processing and real-time data access can become far more available with open APIs also helping cloud-based data and reports storage.
Also outlining the views of KPMG’s Bill Packman, Tim assesses the challenges facing asset managers in relation to building a customer-centric offering; many are only innovating to a certain degree with a characteristically cautious approach – change is needed but it does seem to be going at a snail’s pace. Some companies, as we have discovered before, are dedicating resource into the development of their own digital investment platforms and robo-advisors only to discontinue them shorty after. Packman believes that it is a lack of experience in developing customer-facing apps and heading straight into in-house building that is one of the major pitfalls.
There’s also discussion on the targeting of certain audience groups and the relevance of social media trends, and the importance of institutional and wholesale investors in the customer-centricity puzzle.
You can download this e-Book from this landing page on our website.

Kurtosys in Focus: 3 robo-advisors, £10000: A Generation Z’s perspective

UK Robo-Advisor Investing
This week in our London office we had the pleasure of welcoming Pippy Harrison, a student going into her final year in school, for a work experience placement. Luckily for us in the marketing team here, Pippy was interested in doing some research into the financial services space as a member of the so-called ‘Generation Z’.
Pippy looked specifically into the realm of robo-advisors which, after all, are aiming to reduce investment jargon to simple terms for the next generation to understand investing and more readily save for their future. Taking three UK examples, Wealthify, Moneyfarm or Nutmeg, we gave Pippy an (imaginary) £10,000 and, from researching the services of each, she could choose which one she thinks it’s better to invest with.
This research was conducted through looking at the usability of the companies’ websites, user ratings, returns, social media and marketing efforts.
Without any further ado, please read Pippy’s excellent market research effort on the three robo-advisors, and her all-important decision of who she’d invest with. Plenty of interesting points from a seventeen year old; an age group who traditional and disruptive firms both find difficult to engage with about monetary issues, but hopefully digitalisation will be a key asset to companies wanting to connect with new tech-savvy generations.

Video in Focus: Diversity in AM and beyond

John-Rogers-INTVWe’ve been covering some excellent perspectives on the ever-increasing measures asset managers are taking to increase diversity in their teams.
Investment News TV presents this focus on Ariel Investments, whose chairman John Rogers has been identified as a key individual in the shaping of equality and diversity within the financial services industry, going above and beyond the growing of the firm’s assets to $13 billion.
This video interview John and various other leaders from the industry to find out more about the man who is considered the spearhead of inclusion, and John was also the first to found an African-American owned mutual fund company, now the largest minority-led asset manager. He has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement recognition from Investment news’ Diversity & Inclusion 2019 Awards.
Check out the video on the Investment News website to check out John Rogers’ fascinating history, how he entered the industry, the challenges that he’s had to face to build Ariel Investments to what it is today, philanthropic efforts, and what he sees as the future for financial services for the next generation.

Events: Sibos London

Billing itself as the ‘world’s premier financial services event’, Sibos is an annual networking conference run by SWIFT, bringing together 8,000 industry leaders and decision makers from the financial services industry together to build connections and collectively look towards the future of the industry.
Taking place in Sydney, Australia in 2018, this year’s event is instead relocating to the UK’s capital of London, taking on the theme thriving in a hyper-connected world. Therefore, expect to see talks covering many futuristic themes including big data, and large-scale digitalisation across every aspect of a business.
The event is taking place at the ExCeL London on 23-26 September 2019.
Speakers at the event come from a wide range of companies inside and outside of the financial services industry, including Standard Chartered Bank, FIS, London Business School and Amazon Core AI. The roles of the speakers are equally varied, covering everything from economists to product directors, authors, professors, regulatory and legal experts, motivational speakers and journalists.
The whole programme for the four-day event can be found over at this link, and details to register can also be found on the Sibos London official website.

Fintech News: Klarna’s next steps

This is possibly one of the most unique partnership newspieces we could be bringing you in this week’s Spotlight, but focusing on the expansion of one of Europe’s leading fintechs: Klarna.
In fact, as shown in this LinkedIn post below, Klarna has now become the continent’s largest private fintech firm after its valuation has reached £4.5 billion following another round of investment funding.

And yes indeed, Klarna’s marketing efforts even reached an apex with the partnership with one of the West Coast’s finest – Snoop Dogg – boasting an excellent ‘smoooth payments’ campaign which we covered here at the Spotlight before at the start of the year.
Now, the massive payments company has taken another giant leap to breach the US market by announcing a trip stateside in partnership with online fashion brand ASOS. Having already partnered to bring sartorial and financial worlds colliding in the UK back in 2016, Finextra has reported that ASOS is relying on the payments expertise of Klarna to provide the best customer experience to US customers.
What this means is that customers have the chance to pay with four equal payments bi-weekly with no interest or fees, an option which has been favoured by shoppers; 22% say that they feel they struggle to afford the latest trends without the option to pay later of stagger their finances. It’s a bold option, but one which will boost the esteem of these two companies in an ever-thriving US marketspace.
Klarna’s Chief commercial Officer Michael Rouse had this to say about the partnership, in keeping with Klarna’s smoooth brand guidelines:
“Extending the ASOS partnership into the US speaks to Klarna’s global reputation among both its brand partners and customers […] ASOS offers an accessible shopping experience. Paired with Klarna’s smoooth user experience and capabilities, customers in both the US and UK are now able to experiment and express themselves in the latest fashions with confidence.”
Certainly an exciting instalment in the timeline for fintechs, who are increasing their scope through such partnerships with companies like ASOS. I suppose phrases like ‘money makes the world go round’ highlight every industry’s need for innovative financial products, and it’s the fintechs that have innovation in heaps.

Social Spotlight: What we’ve been waiting for

Last week we featured a wonderful report from iShares about megatrends: what they are, and which are the ones affecting economic markets from now and into the future. Furthering the discussion on megatrends in financial services is this short and snappy video from Allianz Global Investors, identifying the ongoing changes to the planet and highlighting how investment can improve the way we live.

And finally… the day has finally arrived for the Premier League to kick-start once again, much to many’s delight. And if fantasy football is as such a big deal to you as it is at Kurtosys HQ, then this link below will resonate with you. Citywire employees are keen to see which financial advisor is the best budding football manager, with an open invitation to a New Model Advisor league for advisors.

Let the season commence.
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Elliot Burr

Elliot Burr

Fervently chatting about the future of funds and fintech.