Welcome to our asset management marketing focus
This week’s round up brings you a frontier markets fund launch, furthered steps for Women in Finance, crypto-university, and a mix from GSAM’s new CEO, DJ D-Sol.
Movers & Shakers
Bárbara Echazarra Cubillo
Is now ➜ Sales Manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments EMEA APAC
Was: Account Relationship Manager at Carmignac Gestion
Further information: Funds Europe
Is now ➜ Managing Director, Head of Financial Institution Sales (UK) at Crédit Agricole CIB
Was: Managing Director – Head of Macro sales, EMEA at Nomura
Further information: City A.M.
Is now ➜ Business Development Manager at KAS Bank UK
Was: Technical Sales Executive at SEI
Further information: Asset Servicing Times
Kurtosys expresses their best wishes to all starting in their new positions.
Website Spotlight: Lazard Asset Management
We updated our 50 Best-Designed Asset Management Websites gallery not too long ago, and we’re continuing to present the latest batch of entries straight from the designer’s bakery. This week, it’s the turn of Lazard Asset Management.
Lazard’s offering is one of the sharpest we have come across, in all areas. Many sites that you find don’t take into account every small detail; for instance, company logos often become hazy as a result of not being an SVG graphic. Lazard’s logo looks excellent no matter when expanded, as well as their crisp photography and retina graphics. The overall aesthetic of the homepage is enhanced through the use of white space.
Another quality aspect of this main page is that it is content-driven, with page visitors instantly presented with market insights, and more in depth investment research articles as one scrolls down the sleek webpage.
It would have been another highlight if some featured funds were presented here too, but Lazard does segment its investment strategies at the bottom of the page with clear calls to action, and we’re fond of the top toolbar separating product offerings and featured content for different investor types. There is also an option to sign in via user registration to access gated data and content.
When it comes to the fund pages, all are arranged in an intuitive fund explorer, which offers the ability to filter through the products by asset class or through a typeahead search function. The product pages themselves are expertly designed too, with multiple drop-down menus, downloadable pricing histories and factsheets, video content, and interactive graphs. One neat feature that is particularly noteworthy is the bookmark option, to save your favourite funds for further viewing.
Lazard completes its website’s excellent blend of design aspects by pertaining to multiple countries and languages, and being responsive on mobile devices. For smartness in look and feel for asset management sites, this addition is right up there.
Fund in Focus: MI Somerset Frontier Markets Fund
This week’s fund launch spotlight looks at a more nascent market for investment opportunity.
Somerset Capital Management, which specialises in emerging markets, instead has unveiled an actively managed frontier markets fund due to manager George Birch Reynardson’s assertion that this market is reminiscent of emerging markets in the 90s. He remarks that:
“The institutions in these markets are immature, the industries are under-penetrated and the businesses are under-covered and under-appreciated […] All this makes for an extremely compelling investment opportunity.”
Also different from the firm’s roots is that the fund will be domiciled in Dublin, beyond a UK-focused investor base, and will be available in USD, GBP and EUR share classes.
The portfolio will consist of 40 to 50 companies across growth and value stocks which, being lesser known, are therefore trading at larger discounts than their asset values, according to Reynardson. Targeted companies will be global, in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, LATAM and Africa.
It comes as a result of the firm following frontier markets for some time to develop a strategy and add more diverse investment opportunities to their range, particularly for investors looking for long-term growth. There has been high demand from UK and European investors, and for this fund, Reynardson will be supported by Mark Asquith.
The group was in fact founded by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative MP of particular fame in the apparent ‘Battle for Brexit’, but this fund certainly outlines a new market focus and a new frontier.
67 Firms in Focus
It would almost seem rude to only focus on one firm here, when we find the news that 67 financial services companies have joined a growing list signing up to the UK Treasury’s Women in Finance charter between March and June this year.
The charter aims to increase diversity in the financial sector, with Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen outlining how few women get to the top in financial services companies. Hence, the need for a balanced workforce industry-wide is necessary.
By signing the charter, firms must commit to four actions, which are as follows:
- Having one member of the senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion
- Setting targets for gender diversity in senior management
- Publishing progress annually against these targets
- Having an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity
The list has now reached a total of 272 firms, and thus covers over 760,000 employees in the industry in the UK. You can check out the full list here. Diversity: are we there yet? We’re certainly well on our way.
Capgemini are renowned for their reporting on digital transformation. Very much in line with this is the recent publishing of Growth in the Machine: How financial services can move intelligent automation from a cost play to a growth strategy. Whilst the main heading does sound remarkably similar to a certain revolutionary rap-rock band from the 90s, the subtitle sums up exactly what the report is about.
Efficiency and operational costs are on the financial agendas for all companies, with financial services companies in particular citing tech giants including Amazon and Facebook as their main rivals in the next 5 years (45% think so, at least). Therefore, reaching the same level of customer satisfaction through automation is paramount, and can in turn drive revenue. There’s a handy infographic on the landing page to accompany the well designed and graphically-packed report, which you can download as a pdf. Get reading!
Industry Insights: Potential for the Future
We’re not just talking about the England football team’s bright young stars who’ll bring it home at the next Euros (still slightly bitter, yet hopeful), instead, this article from Investment Week takes a gander into ETF of ETFs – a fund structure making waves in the US (Ocean Capital Advisors to be precise, and to fit the joke), but lacking in the UK.
Given that ETFs are traditionally used as simple cogs in a large portfolio machine, the ETF of ETFs is a bit of a rarity, despite offering investors the chance to fulfil their needs with just one product. This article cites Andreas Beck of Index Capital and Hector McNeil of HANetf, the latter believing that UK wealth managers may be the most likely adopters of the structures. Then again, that’s one opinion, so it’s another new frontier to assess from here on out.
Elsewhere, the future is looking bright for Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s new intake, and the company itself.
As FN London reports, BAML’s CFO has identified that it is hiring 2,500 juniors for their summer analyst programme. Having gained around 50,000 applications, this selected group is comprised of 45% women, with 55% also classed as “ethically or racially diverse”. This shows a very clear effort to increase diversity amongst the new generation of financial services employees, a target also looking to be achieved by Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. It’s another extremely positive story from this week pertaining to diversity measures within the industry.
Crypto News: The School of HODL Knocks
As always, there’s two sides of the coin when it comes to the championing of cryptocurrency, both of which have been shown in this week’s crypto news.
Firstly, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential – a renowned investment certification that has been completed by 150,000 individuals worldwide – has expanded its curriculum by including courses based on blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The CFA material is also going to include topics AI, big data, machine learning and automated trading, to be published in August for exams in 2019. Reported by Canada’s The Globe and Mail, the CFA Institute believes that the financial world is too reticent around virtual currencies considering its potential impact, marking a dramatic boost for a new ‘asset class’.
And then again, another influential educational institution is looking to increase its gaze on the virtual currency space. The London School of Economics (whose base, chance would have it, is situated right next to our London office) is rolling out a new online course – Cryptocurrency Investment and Disruption. Good or bad? Well, that’s for you to decide, but the Financial Times’ opinionated Alphaville section has taken a look into the course specification and offered a fairly scathing review… of course, the world of crypto is rarely united, and this interesting and amusing article is part of Alphaville’s excellent ICOmedy series.
So who else aren’t crypto-fans? You don’t have to look far away from the asset management space to find them…
Three UK robo-advisors are calling for the FCA to take a firmer stand against cryptocurrencies, which they believe are causing an unlevel playing field in the sector, according to FN London. This is due to digital money avoiding regulation from the FCA unlike other players, and with increasing popularity in crypto-assets, the sweat is building for wealth management firms. Wealthify, Nutmeg and Scalable Capital are backed by Aviva, Schroders and Blackrock respectively. The saga continues.
Bringing Our Whole Selves to Work TUESDAY 24 JULY | LONDON
This month has already seen the release of the excellent LGBT+ diversity report from The Investment Association (see here for a reminder), and now the IA is inviting its members to discuss the report and consider what financial services can do to increase diversity. Hosted by Fidelity International, it will introduce investment management professionals to LGBT+ networks and initiatives already in place, and features speakers from Heads of Inclusion at various firms.
The event is free and you can register at the link above.
…investments in Tesla has been a major talking point in the sector, but not so much as now following the ill-informed comments made by Elon Musk to a diver who helped to rescue children in Thailand. So much so that the manager of Baillie Gifford James Anderson has of course been vocal in telling Mr Musk that his innovate ideas should really do all the talking alone. Baillie Gifford is the fourth largest shareholder in Tesla with a 7.8% stake, and the forward thinking company has certainly seen a backlash from investors following the CEO’s move. You can find out more about the saga of Tesla’s shares over at Citywire.
In other CEO news, it has been announced! Following on from speculation we covered back in March, David Solomon has become the new chief executive at Goldman Sachs. And just when we thought “when is the mixtape dropping?”, we’ve delved into DJ D-Sol’s SoundCloud account for his summer House/EDM mix. So without further ado, kick-back and enjoy the vibes…
That’s all for this week, but be sure to check back soon for more asset management marketing highlights and fintech snippets from Kurtosys.