Despite the (obvious) benefits, disappointingly it seems that little of this is done in practice. Moreover, it is unfortunately the same complaints towards asset managers lack of engagement that appear time and time again, suggesting a lack of action to understand and address past failings.
Towards the end of 2018, JPES Partners undertook a detailed audit to assess end audience attitudes towards the communications they received from asset managers. Of those interviewed, just 10% claimed to be satisfied with the communications they received, with the common complaints being that end audiences were overwhelmed with information; that communications were too long; and most worryingly that asset managers lacked understanding of investors’ specific requirements and approach. This does not help building long term sustainable relationships.
And this, of course, does not take the most important issue of all into account – namely investment performance and the returns being generated for investors!
Of the research findings however, the latter point is particularly telling, not least as several interviewees noted that they were rarely (if at all) asked for feedback or provided with an opportunity to offer views on how useful communications material had been, how relevant it was, and what could have been done better.
This should be a concern for asset managers and an area that should be addressed as a priority. Indeed, there is a reasonable argument to say that, if the majority of managers are not proactively engaging with their customers and getting feedback, those that do can quickly earn a competitive advantage if the insights of their customers are acted upon.
What, then, do asset managers need to do? An easy start and “quick win” is simply for relationship managers to ensure lines of communications are open with their clients, and that they are speaking (not emailing!) on a semi-regular basis to get insights into customer views and needs that can then be fed back to key investment professionals, as well as sales and marketing teams. This is especially important for reporting monthly and quarterly with existing cleints.
But more broadly, and particularly in an era of greater scrutiny on the industry generally, it is important that asset managers understand how they are perceived at a corporate level and the improvements they need make to increase positive sentiment towards their brand. Detailed audits of underlying investors, prospects, intermediaries and, most importantly, former clients might at first appear cumbersome, but ultimately are the only to gain a true sense of a business’ standing.
Quite simply, in such a competitive world, knowledge is key.
For more information on JPES Partners’ Asset Management Communications Report, or to discuss our proprietary research in more detail, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org