Welcome to our asset management marketing focus
This week’s round up brings you a Brexit and MiFID II conundrum, the return of website spotlight, a seven-tier fund launch and a Bitcoin rap.
Movers & Shakers
Is now ➜ Director Institutional Sales at Hamburg Trust REIM Real State Investment Management GmbH
Was: Head of Sales Real Estate Practice at Willis Towers Watson
Further information: Investment Europe
Is now ➜ Senior Vice President, Head of Sales – Asia Pacific at Northern Trust Corporation
Was: Managing Director, Service Executive at BNY Mellon
Further information: Asset Servicing Times
Is now ➜ Head of Business Development & Marketing at Avanda Investment Management
Was: Vice President, Client Portfolio Management, Hedge Fund Solutions at J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Further information: Finews.asia
Kurtosys expresses their best wishes to all starting in their new positions.
Website Spotlight: EdenTree Investment Management
Back in fashion: the investment management website spotlight, with this week’s entry being this colourful site from responsible investing award winners EdenTree Investment Management, based in the United Kingdom.
Its homepage is a glossy yet minimalist affair, beautifully presented with greenish hues to match their foliage-friendly logo. EdenTree are certainly brand aware, showcasing their illuminated tree multiple times across the site, from its bold header image, to a professional ‘About Us’ style video housed on the home page.
Aside from this are immediate links to their funds; they align their products as the most important factor alongside their content too, which is a winner for us. The top toolbar is useful to reach the site’s multiple pages, with their ‘insights’ tab featuring fairly regular content from reports, to opinion pieces, news articles, and fund updates in the form of video.
One key feature pertaining to the financial side of the website is the funds overview page. It’s a one-page showcase for their variety of funds to give the investor a quick run-through before delving into the details of the individual products.
Each fund page is also highly presentable, with page visitors able to toggle between asset classes using the interactive graph, and all of the fund’s information is succinctly housed in an interactive table at the bottom of the page. The page is completed with its tapestry of green branding, and good use of white space, but our main takeaways from the fund pages are the insights from the fund manager in video (capturing a more ‘human’ feel to a text-and-numbers page) and also a section supplying relevant insight features for each fund.
EdenTree Investment Management have completed the basics perfectly for an AM site: applying their ‘responsible investing’ tagline at the forefront in a highly usable and modest site, complete with video content, interactive fund pages, and digestible written pieces.
Fund(s) in Focus: Empire Life
Previous fund launches at AMMF have shown the idea of ‘pushing the boat out’ with a firm releasing up to four funds at one time, but this week has seen a further boost from this even.
Empire Life Insurance Company have introduced SEVEN new global funds, as well as a fee for service option, and a pricing program to bring clients to lower-cost investment options in their product line of segregated funds – the Guaranteed Investment Fund (GIF)
Let’s get right into what each of these new offerings are, starting with the four new global portfolio options being added to the Empire Life Emblem GIF Portfolio:
Emblem Global Conservative Portfolio GIF
Emblem Global Balanced Portfolio GIF
Emblem Global Moderate Growth Portfolio GIF
Emblem Global Aggressive Growth Portfolio GIF
These are fairly self explanatory in their strategies, attempting to provide high return and lower volatility by taking advantage of global markets. These portfolios are managed by Empire Life Investments Inc. Emblem Oversight Team, led by Ian Hardacre (Chief Investment Officer).
The three remaining funds are:
Empire Life Global Asset Allocation GIF – providing access to a globally diversified portfolio of fixed income and equity investments. Managed for changing market conditions.
Empire Life Global Smaller Companies GIF – reopened to GIF clients, investing in small to mid-cap companies in North America, Europe and Asia.
Empire Life Strategic Corporate Bond GIF – a diversified, fixed income portfolio helping to protect from rising interest rates and enhanced long-term returns. Provides exposure to corporate fixed income investments: investment grade corporate bonds; high yield bonds; floating rate loans; convertible bonds; and preferred shares.
The two new options are Preferred Pricing and Fee For Service. The former is for clients with $500,000 in household assets already invested in Empire Life GIF products, and lowers the fund’s cost by reinvesting the management fee credit. The latter provides competitive fees for advisors using nominee accounts for their clients, and provides access to all Empire Life Guaranteed Investment Funds.
A fairly hefty launch, I think you’ll agree, so certainly a worthy contribution to investors looking for a range of opportunities.
Firm in Focus: Scalable Capital
Scalable by name…
Indeed, this online investment firm, which only launched two years ago, is certainly living up to its name and has already managed to hit €1 billion (£873 million) in assets under management, making it an AM version of a unicorn.
A company which operates from the UK and Germany, its robo-advisory platform is available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. It certainly seems to have hit the ground running in central Europe, with these countries being particularly advantageous financial centres on the continent. It is said to be the market leader in Germany. But the proof is in the pudding, and Scalable’s 30,000 customers, with an average investment of £28,000, has made 2018 a pretty decadent gateau for the company.
We’ve been following the rapid rise of digital wealth managers through our robotic friends, a main challenger to traditional money managers. However, the age of the average investor has risen since its launch (currently 50 years old), highlighting that such technologies are certainly not reserved for so-called ‘millennial’ investors.
Then again, much of the younger generation looks for cheapness when it comes to digital wealth managers (like Nutmeg, or Wealthify) but instead Scalable asks for a minimum investment of £10,000, which is fairly hefty. That doesn’t seem to have diminished demand for the service of course. Last year, BlackRock took a minority stake in the company in a €30 million funding round.
It’s a significant step for the digitalisation of wealth management, proving Director Adam French correct that the space is growing at an even faster rate than the initial burst of ETF offerings.
Brexit Bites Back
To unfortunately misquote the wonderful song title by The Whispers, And the Brexit Goes On…
With really not much longer to go until its launch date, the negotiations that are still continuing still have the likelihood of failing, and that is now looking to cast major shadows over MiFID II regulation due to market upheaval.
The City of London in particular is worried that the directive (enforced back in January of this year) will give the UK a competitive disadvantage to other trading centres within the EU. If changes were to be made to MiFID II because of Brexit, there are worries that the EU will attempt to protect its own interests.
All of this has been reported by the Financial News, featuring opinions from ESMA chair Steven Maijoor and Dr Kay Swinburne, one of the main drafters of the MiFID II process, who believes any changes to the existing rules will spell less transparency for trading.
It’s been a long route to achieving compliance for financial firms, and as markets endure further turbulence due to Britain’s exit from the EU, what was meant to be made fairly resolute in January has been opened up to ambiguity once more. We continue…
The Fun Side of GDPR
Believe it or not, there can be one.
It’s very much what you’d expect, all of us having to read a tirade of email pleas from companies. Whilst we recently took a look at companies who succeeded with their GDPR template use here, this week covers the dark side – those that missed the mark.
And fitting with this Tumblr-esque post, expect humorous captions, memes, and GDPR emails displayed on fridges.
Fintech News: Blockchain Yay or Nay?
Blockchain’s connection to cryptocurrencies may make things a little problematic, as we’ve explained before, and that’s particularly relevant in relation to China.
China is still looking to impose bans on ICOs, but then again, it seems that China’s President Xi Jinping is instead concerned with the increased economic competition that new technological infrastructures can achieve, as a result of implementing blockchain.
Specifically, Ji highlighted at an annual academic conference hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences that blockchain is being seen as instrumental in the country’s continued technological revolution.
“Since the 21st century began, global scientific and technological innovation has entered an unprecedented period of intensive activity. A new round of scientific and technological revolutions and industrial changes is reconstructing the global innovation map and reshaping the global economic structure […] The new generation of information technology represented by artificial intelligence, quantum information, mobile communication, internet of things, and blockchain is accelerating breakthroughs in its range of applications.”
Apparently, the official government rating for projects pertaining to blockchain are in progress, so it seems like one of the world’s super powers is really growing to the DLT.
“Wall Street Star System”
What’s really happening in the hedge fund world?
It is, in fact, brand new hedge fund launches that are taking more of the glory, compared to traditional firms, according to the Financial Times. In fact, the four biggest launches this year (and we’re only just in June…) have attracted over $17 billion. Investors have only placed $13.7 billion into existing funds, however.
Hedge funds have received a general amount of flack and bad attention due to diminishing performance of late; hedge fund closures have reportedly overtaken startups in the last 3 years, for example. But it is the past trading stars of the world’s biggest hedge funds that have gone on to establish their own firms, and it’s paying dividends. These include names such as Michael Gelband of Millennium Management fame, Daniel Sondheim from Viking Capital, and previously mentioned ‘Wizard of Oz’ Greg Coffey.
The next generation of hedge funds are taking the world by storm, all created from the old players but with a new lease of life, it seems.
Brexit is not the ongoing problem for European financial markets however, with this week honing in on Italy’s political crisis as a major talking point.
This is certainly of note for the asset management space, and Citywire Wealth Manager has interviewed eight managers to give their thoughts on what they expect to happen politically, and how this will have an effect on stocks and bonds. Possibly a troubling time.
…some more Bitcoin weirdness, as per usual. This time around – as reported by Vice’s Motherboard – is billionaire Tim Draper singing, or “rapping” about the cryptocurrency at The Next Web conference last year. It has to be seen and heard to be believed.
— Kevin | 李大仁 (@kevinvdveer) May 25, 2018
That’s all for this week, but be sure to check back soon for more asset management marketing highlights and fintech snippets from Kurtosys.