Welcome to our asset management marketing roundup

This week’s round up brings you the traditional vs robo-advisor debate, a MiFID II zombie, a social media investor survey and Warren Buffett’s biggest fan.

Movers & Shakers

Steven Gardner headshotSteven Gardner
Is now ➜ International Relationship Director at Jupiter Asset Management
Was: Director, Institutional Business Development at Franklin Templeton Investments

Further information: IPE

Elizabeth Grier headshotElizabeth Grier
Is now ➜ Director of Sales, Alternative Investments at BNY Mellon
Was: Executive Director Client Service Alternatives segment at J. P. Morgan

Further information: Global Custodian

Marcus Kuntz headshotMarcus Kuntz
Is now ➜ Head of Sales International at Universal Investment
Was: Managing Director at State Street

Further information: Investment Europe 

Maurizio Mazzarelli headshotMaurizio Mazzarelli
Is now ➜ Head of Product and Marketing Communications at Invesco Italy
Was: Channel Marketing Manager at Natixis Investment Managers

Further information: Investment Europe

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

Website Spotlight: Miton Group


UK-based asset management group Miton, who specialise in multi-asset and equity investing, are this week’s website focus, capturing some of our favourite web design aspects.

There’s a selection of noteworthy features on the home page. Right away, the top toolbar is branded with Miton’s logo and Genuinely active investing tagline for some useful and memorable brand awareness, and the user can toggle between investor types in a handy drop down menu. The main site navigation toolbar is also fully interactive with extensive options in a further drop down menu, but it never seems too overwhelming. Most significant is the wealth of links to their fund pages, which are all available to select under the ‘investments’ tab, but we’ll come back to those in a second.

The Miton homepage also displays the featured funds predominantly, using an interactive carousel header, which we haven’t seen in the websites section of AMMF for some time. These also use some bold, crisp graphics which add to a professional aesthetic for sure. The homepage continues to highlight fund information, segmenting ‘multi asset funds’, ‘equity funds’ and ‘investment trusts’ using animated icons, and there’s even a partly animated cityscape graphic for the ‘Prices’ section of their fund range.

As is always a key feature for asset managers, and utilised by Miton, is a selection of their latest insights amongst all of this fund information, with a standard call to action to their regularly updated ‘News & Views’ blog section.

Returning to their specific fund pages, their design is certainly one of the slickest we have found here. There’s a swathe of information, from pricing to portfolio breakdowns to fund literature, but all of these can be accessed with ease using the top toolbar. The performance graphs are interactive, the literature is downloadable as PDFs, and we’re keen on their use of embedded video; the appropriate fund managers per fund from Miton are presented to give a run-through of the fund, talking about market outlook and investment insights for the coming year.

Even with all of this information, Miton’s site is fully responsive and scales well for mobile – a design marvel, and with a heavy focus on the presentation of their fund pages. It’s a winner for us!

Fund in Focus: M&G Impact Financing Fund

Impact M&GThe eponymous ‘impact’ of this fund has two meanings, in fact.

For one, it stands as a fund to make a positive impact on social and environmental problems; an ESG fund.

Secondly, it’s certainly making an impact on the more mainstream asset management sector, with M&G being the first in this niche to launch a multi-sector debt fund to achieve this socially responsible aim. The fund (totalling £44.5 million, or €51 million) will primarily invest in private and illiquid debt, looking to provide regular income for investors, plus a total return in excess of public bonds.

The asset manager has teamed up with Sustainalytics – a research firm specialising in sustainability – to devise a methodology for the calculation of the fund’s impact on social and environmental issues.

The fund has already invested in deals of this ilk. Notably, in the UK, it was behind the development team of the Greenwich peninsula’s rejuvenation in London, and financed housing associations in the country. In the US, however, it has supported the continued development of solar power – an ever more popular form of investment for the ESG-centric money lender. It has also received seed funding from Big Society Capital, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research and M&G Prudential.

CEO of M&G Anne Richards notes those the fund will become a prospect for “charities, pension funds and other like-minded investors” to impact “projects that benefit both the environment and society”, notably supporting housing developments, providing employment opportunities and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

It’s another big step for (mainly) millennial-centric investing, which is now being tapped into by large-scale and boutique money managers globally.

Further information: Citywire Selector | Funds Europe

Firm in Focus: New Horizon Investment Management

Here’s a new investment firm and advisory service that’s the brainchild of former portfolio manager Yuchen Xia.

Having previously worked at both asset management bigwig BlackRock and European robo-advisor heavyweight Moneyfarm, Xia brings a combined experience in both wealth management and technology, hence the setting up of his own boutique investment business.

Xia’s strategy is to look towards technology as the major component in reducing costs for the firm’s customers, with automation being one key aspect. Also, the firm will also offer advisory services for institutional clients, in regards to raising capital from investors, and has penned a deal with a currently unknown asset management to provide discretionary management of client assets.

Yuchen Cia will have an active role in his company, overseeing the funds on the investment committee and serving as a co-manager of its portfolios.

The convergence of traditional wealth management and its ‘hero or villain’ robo-advisory services is hereby cemented as a useful partnership. At the end of it all, the best customer service and pricing is ultimately the aim for the technologically minded, with original firms increasingly looking to partner with fintechs to improve these options.

Further information: Citywire Wealth Manager

Industry Insights

A Survey for Banks 

Deloitte_LogoSpeaking of which, we’ve discovered this latest report from the financial services research giant that is Deloitte on the digitalization of banks, more specifically in the financial centre of Luxembourg.

This 30-page report is the culmination of a survey involving 248 financial institutions in 38 countries about EMEA’s ‘Digital Banking Maturity’. It highlights gaps and opportunities from the banks’ embracing of, or lack of, digital offerings, particularly when faced with competition from fintechs and the Payments and Services Directive 2 (PSD2), which exert further pressure on the need to boost customer service.

It’s full of beautifully designed graphics to illustrate Deloitte’s findings, all addressing the issue of convergence which we’ve just mentioned.

You can download the whole report here.

A Survey for You

It’s been a while since we’ve looked at the relationship between social media and investors. However, we recently came across this tweet from LRI Group…

Indeed, it’s a form of marketing that shouldn’t be forgotten. The accompanying survey from LRI (which can be found in the Tweet above, or here) is specifically tailored to professional investors to see exactly how they perceive the use of social media, rather than asset managers that have certainly got to grips with it already (as has already been documented greatly).

By anonymously taking part in this survey, you could contribute to some valuable insights in the investment space. It only takes two minutes to complete!

MiFID II Update

Dr-Kay-SwinburneJust when you thought that the serpentine MiFID II issues had slithered away… no chance.

Hey, it’s not MiFID II’s fault – after all, besides it’s many caveats have come a lot of opportunities for fund managers, as we consistently cover. But, it seems like even 4 months later we’re digging up old graves that we thought were put to rest way back in October, when we looked at Dr Kay Swinburne’s fairly abject opinion of Brexit’s impact on MiFID II.

As one of the major curators of the Markets in Financial Directive II, Dr Swinburne should feel pretty annoyed at 10 years of hard work being dragged down, especially after 10 years of trying to regain the power of the European economy after the events of 2007.

In this Financial News article is her assessment of Brexit on financial markets at a key event in London regarding their state 10 years on. Ultimately, she stresses that at this present there is a knife-edge moment of Britain having “a full financial services chapter in a free-trade deal going forwards […] or we have nothing”. The EU has stated that it will look to recognise certain UK financial regulations to be as strong as its own, and will allow some access. However, the UK government is being pushed by the City “to fight for a bespoke Brexit deal which will maintain the status quo”.

When it comes to Brexit and MiFID II, the sagas continue…

…and here it continues.

Just MiFID II, though. News just in: Allianz Global Investors is still looking to pay for research that it used in Q1, having not actually agreed costs with any sell-side firms – a requirement of the directive which dropped in January.

This is due to the firm’s own process of gathering information on hours with analysts to determine exactly how much they should be paying. It seems like this sum is still fairly vague amongst financial companies, but whereas other asset managers agreed prices of research with third parties before the deadline, this is a example of one financial institution going against a status quo. Mike Webb, CEO of Rathbones Unit Trust Management, states that the determining of research prices was all part of the pre-MiFID II process, and hence no ‘invoice shock’ should occur. You can read more about it over at Citywire Wealth Manager.

It was evident from the start date of the directive that more compliance news would follow, and we guess that that’s been made very evident here. Roll on, MiFID II.

Fintech News: Crypto Crypt?

Dragon-CoinAnother knell in crypto’s coffin? It’s the good vs bad debate that continues to rattle and roll.

Besides the global data breach news, courtesy of Facebook’s dealing with Cambridge Analytica, it turns out the latter was in fact involved in the world of cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings during the middle of last year. Rather unsurprisingly is some questionable findings from The New York Times, rather specifically some dodgy dealings and a bit of a U-Turn from virtual currency’s ethos of transparency. It’s an interesting read for certain into the more controversial side of the digital world.

Warren-BuffettElsewhere, crypto-skeptic Warren Buffett got to have lunch with one of his biggest fans,  entrepreneur Sam Ling, who is adamant that his “BB Index” family of 26 cryptocurrency indexes will beat Buffett’s portfolio in the next 10 years. It was covered by CNBC.

It’s another strange digital vs traditional methodology debate, one which has drawn great criticism from such financial experts and bloggers as The Reformed Broker’s Josh Brown, particularly as China (Lin is based in Guangzhou) has banned cryptocurrency exchanges, but we guess we’ll all see how the regulatory map changes in the coming years.

And finally…

Da-Vinci…moving onto all different forms of investment is this big-time infographic from Visual Capitalist, focusing on the big money.

Luxury items can pay dividends over time, and here’s a look at 10 year returns for such items as luxury automobiles, Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi (major art dealership news in 2017), diamonds (are they forever?) and wine. Speaking of which, it’s Friday. Vino anyone?

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

Content Marketing Editor at Kurtosys
Fervently chatting about the future of funds and fintech.