Welcome to our asset management marketing focus

This week’s round up brings you new funds in China, a digital clone, the UK sandbox’s latest recruits, and an ETF starting XI.

Movers & Shakers

Melanie Aimer headshotMelanie Aimer
Is now ➜ Global Head of Client Experience at BNP Paribas Asset Management
Was: Global Head of Digital for Employees: Corporate and Institutional Bank (CIB) at BNP Paribas Corporate and Institutional Banking

Further information: Funds Europe

Gabriel Babar headshotGabriel Babar
Is now ➜ Client Middle Office Analyst at Goldman Sachs
Was: Operations Analyst at Oz Management


Rajarani Mohapatra
Is now ➜ Senior Manager User Experience Design at Fidelity International
Was: Manager User Experience at Fidelity International

Tim Oddy headshotTim Oddy
Is now ➜ Senior Relationship Manager at Maitland
Was: Managing Director UK at Ballybunion Capital Limited

Further information: Funds Europe

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

Website Spotlight: AQR Capital


At the crossroads of behavioral finance, data and technology is (now) Connecticut-based investment manager AQR Capital. And with this holistic strategy comes an excellent web offering juggling striking design and a content-driven approach. 

Sleek, modern, and refreshing are three adjectives that pertain to this website. It’s clearly been designed by a web expert due to the beautiful touches one experiences when scrolling down the main page. The first hit involves a short and sweet animation, complete with a self-drawing graphic and a sliding colour fade in AQR’s branding colours. The use of white space is exemplary and another design flourish of note is the use of retina graphics for maximum style points. It’s icy colour scheme sends chills down the spines of designers.

We also always appreciate the forward offering of content, and AQR places its investment writing and company news at the forefront of the main page. The company also goes a step further in utilizing video marketing: a tough yet necessary tool for fund marketers to convey information in bitesize chunks.

Elsewhere on the main page is firm-centric content tackling their approach to investing, particularly useful due to AQR’s innovative focus on tackling various aspects to construct client portfolios. And as much as the main page tackles this investment-heavy content, it does so with some excellent use of photography, be it conveying a professional mood as well as a human touch, with black-and-white images of the company’s founders.

One small criticism of AQR’s site is that this meticulous design for the main site has not been carried through to its fund pages. Once a user is led to a separate fund site however, the fund explorer page still makes use of a search ahead function, and the individual fund pages are well laid out, if a little lacking in the bold, striking design of the homepage.

It’s a unique site offering many of the best techniques for making a standout investment professional webpage. For this reason, it has deserved a well-earned place on our recently updated 50 Best-Designed Asset Management Websites gallery. Check it out!

Fund in Focus: China New Era Technology Fund

Lake-BeijingAt this publication, and many others, we’ve been covering the humungous influx in interest in China’s fund and technology sectors. The combination of the two also seems to be high on the financial coverage agenda, and this week is no different.

According to the Financial Times, many Western governments have been concerned by China’s assertive foray into deal making with the tech sector, particularly in the US, but that doesn’t seem to halter the progress here. Instead, China Merchants Group (CMG) and a London-based firm is launching a new investment fund in technology in The Middle Kingdom. It will be worth Rmb100 billion (equivalent to $15 billion). It’s an aim for China to rival the nigh-on $100 billion Vision Fund from Japan’s Softbank, named the China New Era Technology Fund. A New Era indeed, albeit different from CMG’s history tracing back to a shipping and transportation organisation from 1872 in the Qing Dynasty.

The UK firm Centricus is planned to be involved with CMG, the same firm which assisted in the structuring of SoftBank’s monumental tech fund as well as SPF Group, which involves BlackRock founder Larry Fink’s son Joshua as a partner. The whole fund will not be limited to Chinese firms, but instead will join the party to identify and build the next tech behemoths the world over. It’s becoming the new age space race of the investment world; the acceleration of technology has increased the playing field of available funds, with the ability for investors to easily access big markets, as outlined by Dalinc Ariburnu of Centricus.

CMG has also gained approval from Beijing to establish a subsidiary – China Merchants Fund – to set up one of six funds to invest in tech IPOs. And whilst many feel that the tech sector is becoming overblown with the amount of money being thrown at it, investments only look set to continue from all points of the globe.

Who knows what we’ll in the market space across the next year and beyond? You can’t escape the future movie thriller that’s dominating global investment chatter.

Further information: Financial Times | Reuters

Firm(s) in Focus: Bridgewater Associates / Winton

China-roadsignAs just said, it’s not only the tech market gaining traction in China, and fund launches from Western firms within the country are also continuing at light speed. Plus, this double-headed fund approval comes with gravitas. Bridgewater Associates and Winton have $160 billion and $30 billion under management respectively, the former considered the world’s biggest hedge fund.

The Asset Management Association of China has this week granted authorisation for the Shanghai subsidiaries of the two firms to manage institutional funds onshore in the Chinese market, continually opening itself up to foreign firms for trade. According to rules in place, asset managers must launch products within six months of registration.

Not that the two managers have been absent in Chinese affairs, however. Winton has provided advisory services in the country through local partnerships, and is licensed to help people to invest outside of China too. Bridgewater opened its China unit in 2016 and its founder Ray Dalio has been studying Chinese culture and political ideology once given a license to trade in markets there. We covered this in September of 2017.

It is being speculated what type of products these firms will launch; they are both know to use quantitative strategies in foreign markets.

And whilst Chinese regulators have been imposing tight rules (which, presumably, have slowed growth), instead this act shows a clear incentive from the country to establish full-service subsidiaries. The fund world’s opposite ends of the compass seem to be becoming more magnetically drawn by the week.

Further information: FN London | Reuters

Industry Insights

Female Perspectives

Women-Finance-iPadMuch is continuing in the push for the celebration of women in finance, and some money managers are taking the extra step to dedicate whole areas of their marketing towards this cause.

Fidelity International, in one instance, has created a landing page specifically for the championing of the financial world’s most noteworthy female employees, as well as ongoing news about how the issue is both being developed, but also hindered.

At Fidelity’s Women & Money sub-page, you will find interviews offering female perspectives on the investment profession and its implications for women, opinion pieces on such issues as the gender pay gap and differences in spending between the sexes, and a thorough downloadable report on The Financial Power of Women.

If you’d like to read Kurtosys’ features on Women in Finance, please check out our archive here!

The ESG People

Glacier-ESGMany of our features on ESG – the digestible acronym of Environmental, Social and Governance investing – come courtesy of ground-breaking fund launches in the spaces. Many firms, to remain in the game, are realising that seeking the best companies in renewable energy sources, gender equality and other socially responsible actions holds great power. In bettering the world through the investments of forward-thinking investors, it’s a win-win scenario.

There is, hopefully in small doses, a notion that firms simply offer ESG for the sake of it, as covered by Copylab and featured in last week’s edition. Hence, to discover the most active and influential heads of the ESG investment movement is a must, and has been covered by Barron’s, the top 20 in fact.

The list spans around 30 years of ESG investing, from 1982 to the present day, with entries from Europe, the US, and some familiar names including Larry Fink (a double shout-out this week for him) and former vice-President and climate change advocate Al Gore.

The Design People

Black-HorseDesign is a big deal; our asset management website gallery can attest to that. Therefore, the news of Lloyds Banking Group heightening its tech capabilities through the hiring of a design mogul is one we immediately admire.

Previously Walmart’s VP of Design, Dan Makoski is attempting to “advance the mission of Helping Britain Prosper through thoughtful design”, as The Drum reports.

This “human-centred design” will look to increase users’ belief in healthy financial futures, and is considered by Makoski to be his most important work to work to come.

For Lloyds, in terms of customer centric tech, the stallions march on.

The Football People

Football-fanIt seems almost unheard of that we will be lacking the World Cup in just over a week. Masterful football displays have been almost outweighed by a disappointing tournament from some of the globe’s historical winners, and the rise of the underdog.

Bearing that in mind, football influences even the ETF space. So much so that BlackRock iShares has created their own Starting XI of the best performing ETFs, asking the question “if ETFs were football players, what would our line-up look like?”

Giving each fund’s key pros, as well as its main risks, this is an entertaining form of fund marketing for sure.

On a final note: It’s coming home.

Fintech News: AI in the UK

Punk-FCA-AIThere’s been some awfully big news in the UK in terms of fintech this week.

Many followers of fintech regulations will know that the FCA’s sandbox principle is an industry-leading scheme that has since been adopted by many national financial regulatory bodies. And now we see the fourth round of fintechs entering the sandbox to develop irrespective of constricting regulations. It’s also the largest ever, with 29 established firms in the mix, which you can find out here. Many, interesting, lean towards the spaces of crypto and blockchain.

Elsewhere, an alliance for digital advancement has been announced between the UK and its neighbour across the Channel, France. You can read all about it at Banking Tech.

Back in January, the governments of both countries announced plans to work together to advance technological capabilities, now being fully realised to specifically partner in the industries of artificial intelligence and data. Joint workshops, the meeting of politicians, and the establishing of accelerators in each country is due to occur; another green light for development, with cross-border agreements the perfect way to trade expertise in these spheres.

And finally…

Cyborg…we’ve heard about AI robots, and we know all about robo-advisors in wealth management. But, users at a UBS branch in Switzerland will now be able to come face to face with a robotic version of the firm’s Chief Investment Officer, as reported by Finextra.

That’s right, a computerised avatar of Daniel Kalt has been developed through a biometric company to be tested as an “animated digital assistant” alongside non-human advisory blob called Finn for three months in-branch. It’ s a completely novel and futuristic look into advisory services, and is just brilliant.

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.