Welcome to our asset management marketing roundup
This week’s round up brings you crypto-partnerships, crypto-criticism, a strategically planned industry demerger, and fund management thoughts from International Women’s Day.
Movers & Shakers
Is now ➜ Director, UK Sales at AllianceBernstein
Was: Senior Business Development Manager at Aberdeen Asset Management
Further information: Investment Week
Is now ➜ Chief Commercial Officer at PegasusLife
Was: Chief Commercial Officer at Fitness First Group
Further information: City A.M.
Is now ➜ Head of Asset Servicing, Germany, Switzerland and CEE at BNY Mellon
Was: Regional Head, Europe at Euroclear
Further information: Funds Europe
Kurtosys expresses their best wishes to all starting in their new positions.
Website Spotlight: Vontobel
If you’re looking for the wealth management website version of a stylishly hipster and undeniably European photography exhibition, look no further than this offering from Switzerland-based financial experts Vontobel.
From an immediate design aspect, the large-scale black and white photography collection that makes up the groundwork of the site are superb and seamlessly merge with each other as one navigates down the main page. Careful attention has been paid to the typography and white space too, making it an attractive site for certain, with some more outlandish bold colours used sparingly for calls-to-action to appear more prominently.
The site navigation works as a mobile-style menu, and we’re fond of Vontobel’s design to make this a ‘mobile first’ site. It also allows the user to change their language and investor profile.
Most of the content on the home screen and the fund pages relates to the promotion of Vontobel’s thought leadership articles. We’d perhaps like to see more of a blend of fund data and this content (particularly a ‘featured funds’ section on the homepage, as has been displayed by other asset managers), but that’s not to say that the design aspects of their fund pages are limited. We are fans of the Vontobel Funds search function, and the site also houses a well designed fund explorer, whereby drop-down lists can help segment funds by type, currency and share class. It also offers a swathe of downloadable fund literature, and interactive performance charts.
Vontobel’s unique look is what truly sets it apart from more ‘basic’ designs seen on other sites, but it’s certainly as substantial as it is stylish, to combat the ‘all style, no substance’ phrase. It has recently earned itself a place on our 50 Best-Designed Asset Management Websites gallery.
Fund in Focus: Coinbase Index Fund
It’s been a monumental time for Coinbase, starting with their most recent fund launch from their Asset Management arm.
In the aftermath of spiking investor interest for exposure to all assets that are listed on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange, and the recent news of other crypto-based funds courtesy of Grayscale, the US company is going all-out to offer investors a holistic option to access all their crypto-funds.
All new assets, which are weighted by market capitalisation, will automatically become part of this all-inclusive fund. It’s like the Marvel Universe of the digital asset world.
It is currently only available to US based accredited investors but plans to unveil new funds to cater to all investors across a broad range of crypto-assets. This is due to concerns from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding products in the cryptocurrency space. Coinbase’s CEO, Asiff Hirji, instead notes that there is a separate legal entity from Coinable to protect investors.
The fund will look to reflect the trends in the cryptocurrency market, much like the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which (as we all know) tends to consistently fluctuate.
Wealth Manager in Focus: M&G Prudential
We’ve talked acquisitions, and we’ve talked splits. This Wednesday however saw a so-called ‘demerger’ from Prudential.
Prudential, as a global insurance business, has chosen to release its UK and European unit to create two separate entities with different listings on the London Stock Exchanges. This way, Prudential can focus more efforts on its efforts in Asia, the US and Africa whilst M&G Prudential (the off-shoot) can define its own strategic priorities and capital allocation within its geographic area.
Also, it has reinsured £12 billion of liabilities to Rothesay Life. Shareholders will hold interests in Prudential and the subsidiary, and both will remain headquartered in London.
Prudential already noted its 10% rise in operating profits for 2017 to £4.9 billion, and following the demerger news only this week, shares in Prudential rose almost 5% to £19.15 in morning trading. Despite the move drawing rumours regarding the UK’s Brexit move, Prudential’s senior team has already dismissed this a reason for the decision. Instead, the team are resolute that M&G’s distribution in Europe remains as effective as ever.
Money, Cash, Crypto
Didn’t we just talk about you? Yes indeed, it’s the return of this edition’s golden child: Coinbase.
As reported by CNBC, the US company is not only one of the globe’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges PLUS wallets, but it has been granted a bank account with UK bank Barclays. This marks the first major partnership between a UK bank and this kind of institution.
What’s the deal? Essentially, this is an advancement looking to make it easier for British citizens to use Coinbase’s cryptocurrency exchange application. Lenders in the British Isles have been fairly judgemental towards cryptocurrencies and the thought of digital assets, due to the common connotations of illicit activity. In more legitimate financial news, though, is that Coinbase has also been granted an e-money license by the FCA, which will extend to 23 counties in the EU.
The Faster Payments update is looking to be furthered from this move. UK users have had their transactions processed through an Estonian bank when withdrawing money from Coinbase, a long-winded procedure that they are looking to eradicate. Barclays has been one of the largest banks in the UK to remain fairly friendly in regards to cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase is looking to grow its London team by 8 times this year, and perhaps crypto-mania will continue to grow amongst UK banking institutions in 2018 too. We shall see.
99 Problems but, well, here’s another one
After just chatting about cryptocurrencies suffering a Hard Knock Life (yes, it’s a Jay-Z themed Fintech News section this week, culminating with the next segment’s title), the past few days have seen tech giants removing the promotion of crypto-currency campaigns.
In January, Facebook banned all advertisements for virtual currencies and anything pertaining to initial coin offerings, delivering a hammer blow to the crypto marketing industry by limiting its reach to potential investors.
Still going fairly unregulated, a lot of ICOs have been found to be scams, and similar Silicon Valley tech monolith Google has taken a stand against them to protection consumers from speculative trading ‘advice’. But whereas Facebook has reported left their own policy fairly broad, open to amendments as crypto-developments occur, Google has been resolute with its plan, also tightening rules for other financial product advertisements including “spread betting and contracts-for-difference”.
With tech companies already facing obligations to remove any possible money laundering or terrorist financing threats from their platforms, the possibility of an unregulated commodity such as digital currency causing further problems is best avoided. The battle for legality still continues in this divisive investment space.
J to the Pizzo, A to the Mizzay
To return to a more positive note, much like the news of Barclays and Coinbase’s team-up, JP Morgan Chase and Amazon are discussing a way for the e-commerce platform’s users to open up a bank account.
Whilst still a provisional matter, and likely to lead to more intense discussion with regulatory bodies, it’s still an exciting prospect, seeing the world’s tech giants attempting to find another competitive battle ground with traditional lenders. This is, in fact, an issue that our own Allie Filippova has blogged about before.
When will consumers more enamoured and familiar with buying-and-selling and social sites want to trust them with their finances rather than banks? Of course, this is not the first partnering of JPMorgan and Amazon; the Financial Times notes their non-profit healthcare company (with Berkshire Hathaway) and Chase’s issuing of the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Card.
There’s a fine line between commoditising and putting traditional players at risk though, so this issue is certainly something all financial players should constantly keep an eye on.
Innovate Finance Global Summit 2018 19 – 20 MARCH 2018 | LONDON
Bringing together the best fintech minds from all over the planet, this event (next Monday and Tuesday!) takes place at The Guildhall in the very heart of London City.
CEOs, VPs, journalists, editors, directors… you name it; there’s a multitude of expert panel speakers offering insights into the ever-expanding fintech industry. Startups and regulators alike are here to spread their knowledge and insight, and you can register for tickets at this page.
…ending on a fairly strange note, this interesting report (complete with infographic) details a created Dark Web Market Price Index; a shocking look into how personal data hacked from some of the world’s largest brands can be sold on the dark web.
Whilst we can repeatedly address personal data concerns when it comes to GDPR and the like, it’s the seedy underworld of the internet where hacking problems can really be exemplified; an internet user’s urban noir. As this study showed, a whole personal online identity could be worth less than $1,200. That’s pretty scary stuff, and this research details how these prices were obtained from such large names as Uber, eBay and Netflix. It’s certainly food for thought, and not very tasty food at that.
More positively, Thursday 8th March saw the world celebrating International Women’s Day. From sportspeople, to those in creative industries, women from every professional position were offering insights into exactly what being a woman meant to them, and how far they feel their sectors are in displaying an ethos of diversity and gender equality.
In the fund management industry for example, Citywire Wealth Manager offered a slideshow of five female figures within the space who talk through their journey to becoming fund managers, and the issues that they feel still need to be addressed. The financial world has certainly seen its fair share of criticism in regards to this matter, but it’s humbling to see gender equality getting the promotion and recognition it deserves.
That’s all for this week, but be sure to check back soon for more asset management marketing highlights and fintech snippets from Kurtosys.
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