Welcome to our asset management marketing focus

This week’s round up brings you voice-activated advisory, a six stage fund launch, banking IFTT integration and the start of the World Cup.

Movers & Shakers

Martina Bozzano headshotMartina Bozzano
Is now ➜ Business Development at Capital Group | Europe
Was: Sales Support Manager at Fidelity International


Alexander Heidenfeller headshotAlexander Heidenfelder
Is now ➜ Head of Wholesale Germany & Austria at Lombard Odier Investment Managers
Was: Senior Manager Business Development at Aberdeen Standard Investments


Angel de Molina headshotÁngel de Molina
Is now ➜ Sales at PIMCO
Was: Sales Representative at Nordea Asset Management


David Zerbib headshotDavid Zerbib
Is now ➜ Head of Sales at Amilton AM
Was: Sales Manager – Third Party Distribution France, Monaco & BeLux at Edmond de Rothschild

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

Fund(s) in Focus: BlackRock Advantage Series

The tide has turned in the AMMF fund news world, apparently. Not content with a singular fund launch at this current moment in time, asset managers are going the whole hog with the introduction of many funds for investors to explore.

Last time, we saw a monolithic seven-tiered fund launch. Now, the globe’s largest asset manager BlackRock is delivering (almost as) much of the same, with six funds making up a new range – the Advantage Series –  containing global and regional products, and they are as follows:

  • BlackRock Advantage World Equity Fund
  • BlackRock Advantage US Equity Fund
  • BlackRock Advantage Europe ex-UK Equity Fund
  • BlackRock Advantage Europe Equity Fund
  • BlackRock Advantage Emerging Markets Fund
  • BlackRock Asia ex-Japan Equity Fund

SatelliteMarking out the individuality of this launch is the fact that it will be managed by man and machine. BlackRock’s systematic active equity team – based in San Francisco and London –  will use big data and machine learning to pick stocks, as well as using alternative data sources such as internet traffic and satellite images to help better investment decisions. The Jetsons would be proud of this 80+ strong team, which manages $105 billion.

The six funds will also check the social and environmental footprints of companies that they will invest in. This range is looking to provide investors with long-term capital growth, and is part of four suites in the AMs Active Equities platform: Systematic Alpha; High Conviction; Specialised Outcomes and Thematic.

On this future-thinking fund launch, co-head of the team Raffaelle Savi had this to say:

“The pace of change in the world today is accelerating. The way people interact, transact, work and consume is unrecognisable from even a decade ago.

With our new series, we are building on that change and unlocking the opportunities presented by big data including internet search, the geolocation of smartphones and satellite images.”

2018 has brought out bigger and more broadly covering funds it seems; it’s a trend we’re firmly assessing with each new launch in an exciting time for investors the world over.

Further information: Portfolio Adviser | Citywire Selector | Professional Adviser

Firm in Focus: Goldman Sachs Asset Management


We cover multiple movers and shakers in the AMMF, but this week has seen a welcome return for one of GSAM’s past employees for a further push into the ETF world.

Peter Thompson was a former employee at the firm. In 2015, he spearheaded GSAM’s launch into the US ETF market, with Goldman Sachs then becoming one of the main issuers of ETFs. It has $8 billion in AUM, being the only issuer to exceed the $5 billion AUM mark.

Thompson launched Source ETF in 2009, having served around 17 years in the ETF industry, and spent a decade for Goldman Sachs’ derivative trading divisions in the US, Japan and Europe. He left Source in 2016, just before it was acquired by Invesco. At that time, Source had $20.5 million in client assets and around 4% of the ETF market.

The return of Thompson marks GSAM move into the European ETF space, however, looking to compete with ETF-frontrunners including Franklin Templeton and JP Morgan Asset Management. The first fund is set to launch in early 2019, with Thompson’s experience leading the continental foray.

Further information: Funds Europe | Citywire Wealth Manager | Investment Week

Fintech News: Bit of the old, bit of the new

ATMNow, it’s time for the clash of the banking titans.

Certainly in the US, whilst we’re inundated with news of digitalisation having a chokehold on the more relatable, or traditional, forms of banking, is this all a bit of a red herring?

In a recent article from The Financial Brand – drawing on findings from a study by Samsung, reported by Celent – it seems that consumers are in fact still very much accustomed to, and fans of, bank branches, almost debunking the view of these institutions as obsolete.

The closure of branches have been documented many times recently; customer-facing banks in the UK in particular have experienced a notable cull. But across the pond, 2,500 respondents to the research prefer to engage with their providers, particularly on more complex matters. Around three-quarters of those people also said that they had conducted an in-branch transaction in the past two years, and the majority also still use ATMs to carry out cash withdrawals.

Then again, for quick concerns, most are very much aware of the way digital channels can make transactions occur at a far more rapid pace, and utilise in-app helpers to answer queries. Many, still, would call a branch to answer a query, with a visit to the site for in-depth discussions remaining the preferred option.

So, for now it seems, the loyal branch remains the relationship expert.

But, on the flipside…

…this video below outlines the latest clever tech-based service from UK digital bank Monzo.

Monzo has been drawing in customers in the past few years with its flashy Nintendo-esque peach-coloured touch card. On top of that, it’s marketed itself in other excellent ways, but all that comes from its genuinely innovative functions. There are many digital banks changing and challenging the traditional banking models to provide maximum user experience – Atom or Revolut, for example – but Monzo has become the first to enable IFTTT Integration.

It’s certainly not the snappiest of acronyms. Monzo’s Simon Vans-Colina chats to 11:FS’s David Brear about If This Then That technology – bringing together multiple smart technologies to work in harmony. Home systems, mobile phones, and now your own bank can take user-chosen commands to seamlessly manage finances using automation.

Confused? Well, this pretty much outlines how this revolutionary IFTTT tech works.

What’s more, Monzo seemingly has seen the funny side of what their new integration capabilities provide. Read some entertaining tweets right here, displaying how users are investing their spare cash, with stories about McDonald’s and Nickelback.

Traditional  or digital? You decide.

Industry Insights (on Video)

Alexa-advisorSticking with the home systems theme of the day, Alexa: how can you help my finances?

Well, courtesy of Investment News and presented by their roving reporter Matt Ackermann is this interview with Frank Coates of Evestnet. Frank talks about how advisers are looking for new ways to answer their business questions using any device anywhere, anytime.

Effectively removing the large-scale dashboard that advisors would be so used to, using Alexa as an advisory tool would make information to become much more quickly available (and in smaller packaging), utilising this collaborative IoT technology. Firms and individual wealth managers may perhaps see the benefits of voice-recognition and machine learning much more with such demonstrations. This really is the future of client servicing.

We love video marketing, and in addition, Canada’s PWL Capital are masters of using the medium to show their investment advice in a fun, digestible way.

We’ve featured PWL’s Ben Felix before on AMMF, but this time, here is the latest edition from the No Dumb Questions with Nancy Graham series.

Featuring some excellent animation and presenting, Nancy Graham takes us on a voyage though the conundrum of investing in ‘hot stocks’, using Canada’s legalised cannabis industry as one example of why it may not be a good idea…

There’s certainly some sound advice here, with a simple 5-reason strategy for why safe investing, and not jumping on the bandwagon, can be the best option for certain investors, alongside bright visuals and jazzy music, highlighting how advisory videos can be as entertaining as other vlogging examples.

And finally…

Bitcoin-fiction…once again, we revisit the dark side of cryptocurrency, but in a vastly different from we hadn’t come to expect.

What with its consistent speculation and status as an outlaw of financial digitalisation, Bitcoin.com has interviewed Ken Liu, a science fiction and fantasy writer who has used the topic as a basis for a short story entitled Byzantine Empathy.

As a former coder (before making a stark career change into the literary world), Liu certainly knows his stuff, but is actually in favour of crypto-practices, an industry he finds “beautiful and interesting.”

Plus, it wouldn’t be this seminal week in the 2018 calendar without mention of one of the globe’s widest acclaimed events. If you haven’t just crawled from underneath your rock, it is indeed the second day of the World Cup. For many, that rock may be a safe haven for the next month.

Three-LionsRegardless, it’s time to test the planet’s biggest and best footie stars to galvanise their national teams and lead them to immortal glory. Citywire Wealth Manager, ever the pop-culture referencing financial news experts, have asked three wealth managers to give their opinions on who they back as winners, dark horses, and flops within the World Cup, and investment-wise too.

Football is as much about optimism as investing is; England’s chances are perhaps just about as volatile as they can be, but hey, maybe I’m just a pessimistic investor. Prove me wrong and bring it home, lads.

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.