Welcome to our asset management marketing focus

This week’s round up brings you low-cost mutual funds in Canada, a fintech friendship, relocation news, and a fund backed by Nile Rodgers.

Movers & Shakers

Stephan Koschmieder headshotStephan Koschmieder
Is now ➜ Head of Business Development Germany, Austria & CEE at BNY Mellon
Was: Director, Unit Head, Sales & Relationship Management Europe at Euroclear 

Further information: Global Custodian

Philip Piltz
Is now ➜ Sales Director – Austria & Germany at La Financière de l’Echiquier – LFDE
Was: Cross Asset Solution Sales – Austria & Germany at Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking 

Further information: Investment Europe

Sebastian Romer headshotSebastian Römer
Is now ➜ Head of Continental & Eastern Europe at Natixis Investment Managers
Was: Senior Vice President at PIMCO 

Further information: Investment Europe

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

Funds in Focus: Vanguard Mutual Funds


Vanguard remain in the top three largest asset managers on the globe by AUM, and are often set apart from their contemporaries due to their ETF offerings having significantly low management costs.

This week has seen the launch of multiple funds in the same low-cost vein, however this time sees Vanguard entering the mutual fund industry in Canada. Mutual fund providers including Mackenzie Investment Corp. and Manulife Financial Corp. have entered Canada’s ETF space in recent times; seemingly Vanguard have up-ended this trend. The company already offers 36 ETFs in Canada, with over $16 billion in assets, and Canadians hold £12 billion in US-listed Vanguard products. The new suite will aim to complement Vanguard’s ETF range.

The four actively managed mutual funds are as follows:

Vanguard Global Balanced Fund – looking to provide long-term capital growth by investing in a combination of equity and fixed income securities of issuers located anywhere globally. Sub-advised by Wellington Management Canada ULC.

Vanguard Global Dividend Fund – looking to invest primarily in dividend paying equity securities of global companies to give investors an above-average level of current income with long-term capital growth. Sub-advised by Wellington Management Canada ULC and The Vanguard Group Inc.

Vanguard Windsor U.S. Value Fund – investing primarily in large- and mid-cap companies located in the US whose stocks are considered to be undervalued. Sub-advised by Wellington Management Canada ULC and Pzena Investment Management LLC.

Vanguard International Growth Fund – looking to invest primarily in stocks of companies outside Canada and the US. Sub-advised by Baillie Gifford Overseas Limited and Schroder Investment Management North America Inc.

The country, in fact, charges the highest fees in the world to manage equities, but Vanguard are sticking to their guns with this first suite of mutual funds with a maximum management fee of 0.5%, which could be even lower if the funds underperform their benchmarks.

It’s a launch of great interest here; whilst ETFs retain the spotlight in the fund world, the popularity of mutual funds still outweighs their bourgeoning counterparts.

Further information: The Globe and Mail | Financial Post | Bloomberg

Firm in Focus: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Paris-Gargoyle-BAMLTwo stories coming out of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) camp this week, showcasing the firm’s continual efforts to transform themselves for both regulatory and technological matters.

First of all, as no finalised plans or significant signs of progress develop from the Brexit conundrum, BAML are one investment group already preparing themselves for post-Brexit life through relocation. Whilst financial services firms old and new have looked towards such new homes as Berlin, Frankfurt, Lisbon or Amsterdam, BAML has transferred three of its most senior sales and trading execs from London to the City of Love. Paris has been viewed as the main successive hub to London for investment banking operations, with a refurbished office near the Élysée Palace to house hundreds of new staff in the year ahead.

Paris will now serve as the location for Sanaz Zaimi, Vanessa Holtz and Othmane Kabbaj. Zaimi has previously been named as one of the top 100 most influential women in European finance by the Financial News, and is BAML’s head of global fixed income, currencies and commodities sales, assuming the role of head of French operations in 2019.

She will be joined by Vanessa Holtz, who will run FICC trading operations (currently the head of global G10 foreign exchange vanilla options trading), and Othmane Kabbaj. He will become the head of EU FICC sales on top of being head of EMEA emerging markets FICC sales.

It’s a bold move borne out of the continual uncertainty that Brexit poses for financial institutions.

Elsewhere, however Merrill Lynch have also announced a fintech move this week, launching an enhanced mobile app for Bank of America clients to send scanned versions of their documents to advisors. The focus on wealth management on-the-move has certainly been ramped up a notch.

In an innovative fashion, a client’s camera can capture multiple images and convert them into a single PDF file. This follows a budgeting tool launch in March through MyMerrill.com and the mobile app. Clearly, this institution is a pioneer of user-friendly mobile wealth management; a trend we’d certainly love to see spread across the board.

Further information: Financial News London | Financial Times | Financial Planning

Fintech News: All Inclusive

Inclusion-appDigital banking, as wonderful as it is, can indeed have a few pitfalls. JP Morgan Chase’s Finn app, when testing a personalisation feature, in fact came a cropper when trying to juggle fraud protection whilst also meeting the needs of its customer base.

Banks face an identification issue with transgender customers who, as Digiday reports, have brought up the notion of a preferred name strategy to the product owners at JP Morgan Chase before. Hence, in a bid to make the service as authentic and inclusive as possible, the firm has introduced a nickname feature. It seems so simple, yet many banks have not actually stated publicly how to address to needs of customers who would prefer to go by a different name to their birth name, other than Metro Bank in the UK or Amalgamated Bank in the US.

It marks another step in inclusivity from the financial services space, as well as furthered attempts to increase client servicing through digital platforms.

International-currenciesOn the subject of digital banks, where often disruptors look to compete with the world’s largest banking institutions, courtesy of TechCrunch is partnership news between two of the most prominent techs: Monzo and Transferwise.

Monzo has seen repeated requests for an international payments feature, and co-founder Tom Blomfield has always been a fan of Transferwise himself, partnering with the European fintech giant to power payments for the UK bank’s 750,000 customers. Now, customers will be able to send money from their current account to 16 popular currencies, with snappy integration to boot.

As the report also notes, another UK-based digital bank Revolut recently became a unicorn. It’s another win for challenger banks, all companies which financial institutions need to maintain a keen eye on.

Industry Insights

Lack of Love

Facebook-AM-House-clubA title to hint at Charles B & Adonis’ mega acid house classic (take a listen), here’s an excellent guest opinion piece from George Aliferis on The Financial Revolutionist tackling asset management’s problematic relationship with Facebook.

It’s platform with 2.2 billion users, but searches for BlackRock only bring up steakhouses. There’s certainly a problem here. Indeed, the writer offers numerous reasons for why asset managers don’t feel the inclination to boost their marketing efforts on such platforms on Facebook or likewise, but some statistical analysis will also outline the scary prospect of abandoning social media practices overall. Considering four-fifths of the aforementioned startup Transferwise’s followers are on Facebook, and challenger robo-advisor Wealthsimple having a strong presence on Facebook and Instagram alike, that should give asset managers an injection to back their social media options in order to compete.

Good research, and a social media warning sign that needs to be taken seriously indeed.

The Modern Marketer

It’s worth taking the time as marketers to assess SEO tactics – something which chops and changes as time goes by. Our own Alex Dixon has a few excellent pointers on SEO strategy for asset managers here.

That’s certainly the main points raised by Stone Temple’s Mark & Eric, who discuss how SEO has grown up and evolved, not that all marketers are practising it to the best advantage. Featuring the duo’s trademark sketchily acted introduction and green screened office background, it’s an excellent rundown of running trends in SEO and how you can do better. Watch it below!

It’s a Scam!

Blind-faithA wondrously conceived scam works perfectly as fuel for an opinion piece on ethical investing here with this article from CopyLab.

In an embedded video, two Dutch pranksters refashioned several famous McDonald’s treats into canapés to fool ‘food experts’, with surprising results. It’s well worth a look, and shows the notion of blind faith all too well. It’s an issue which James Eagle believes is too apparent within the investment world, with ‘ethical investments’ not given their full attention, rather a “box-ticking exercise”. Instead, firms should do their due diligence to accurately work out which ethically minded companies can indeed be worthy of investment.

And if that was not enough, here was a fairly similar demonstration of falsification from much-loved UK chain bakery Greggs. A clever marketing trick too, it must be said.


London Fintech Week 2018  6-13 JULY 2018 | LONDON

As the disruptive forces in financial services continue their work, so does London’s Fintech Week. It’s the 5th annual addition of the event, taking place in the heart of financial technology: the UK’s capital. Situated mainly in Westminster (with other venues in The City and Canary Wharf – birthplace of Level 39), it’s another action packed 7-day fintech festival filled with conferences, workshops, hackathons, and networking opportunities.

Featuring guest speakers from ‘The Big Four’, VC firms, tech giants, accelerators and startups, it’s one of the premier events in the fintech calendar and not to be missed. You can register for tickets here.

And finally…

Gig-Music-fund…funds really can cover a whole spectrum of interests, and in recent news is a fund offering seeking to raise £200 million on the Stock Exchange. It has been reported by Financial News.

The Hipgnosis Songs Fund gives investors to chance to profit from some of the greatest tunes ever written (in the last 50 years at least), getting exposure to tracks from over 50 artists. High smartphone penetration and a reduction in piracy rates means income from music is more trackable than ever.

Nile Rodgers of Chic fame acts as an adviser to the fund, which was established by Merck Mercuriadis, a past manager for Beyoncé, Guns N’ Rose, Iron Maiden and Elton John. Hold me closer, tiny investor.

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.