Welcome to our asset management marketing focus

This week’s round up brings you a Silicon Valley-worthy bank website, Alibaba vs Tencent, a sustainable investment focus, and asset management at AC Milan.

Movers & Shakers

Daniel D'Souza headshotDaniel D’Souza
Is now ➜ Marketing Manager at Octopus Investments
Was: Marketing Executive at Octopus Investments


Steven Hewlett-Light headshotSteven Hewlett-Light
Is now ➜ Senior Programme Manager (Digital) at Brewin Dolphin
Was: Digital Product Owner at C. Saver Ltd.


Victoria Morrison headshotVictoria Morrison
Is now ➜ Deputy Head of RFP – Asia Pacific at Aberdeen Standard Investments
Was: Senior RFP Manager at Aberdeen Asset Management


F. Saddiki headshotF. Saddiki
Is now ➜ Digital & CRM Manager at Unigestion
Was: CRM Product Owner, Business Analyst at Unigestion


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

Website Spotlight: Arion Banki


Hwæt! A tenuous nod to my Beowulf study days, and some Old English which bears resemblance to the modern Icelandic language which pervades another new addition to our 50 best-designed asset management sites: Icelandic retail bank Arion Banki. The saying holds true here, too. Listen up!

You don’t need to be an Icelandic speaker to appreciate the excellent design on show here. Using some extremely striking colours (we love the blues and pinks), it’s funky as can be, and looks far more like the carefully constructed offerings from fintech startups rather than a bank. In keeping with a trademark Nordic style, the display is colourful, minimalist and makes use of some great photography with the main carousel feature. The graphics are razor sharp and look just as good on mobile screens.

The content on the main page comprises of clear icons and calls to action, an interactive currency converter and links to download the Arion app for iOS and Android. Clearly this innovative bank is heavily into its digital, which we love.

Users can navigate through the site using a fun top toolbar, pages appearing in a clutterless drop-down menu. The trademark design that you see on the main page also makes its way to the fund pages; it’s great to see that these sub-pages are given as much attention as the homepage. Once you’ve drawn in the site visitor, you still have to keep their interest with high UX as they surf through the rest of the site.

The fund explorer looks as neat as expected, with the ability to segment the funds by ‘nominal return’, ‘real return’ and ‘exchange’. The individual fund pages offer factsheets, and interactive graphs made up of the same bold colours that underlines Arion Banki’s whole offering.

It’s a striking and refreshingly different look from a retail banking site. As traditional financial firms look to adopt the technological prowess of Silicon Valley with their services, others could do what has been done here and take some Bay Area web design tricks.

Fund in Focus: 3B Ventures Frontier Fund II

We’re looking at a different type of firm for this week’s Fund in Focus. A venture capital firm to be exact: 3B Ventures from Denmark, in keeping with this week’s apparent Nordic theme.

Kuala-LumpurThe fund – Frontier Fund II – is looking to further ‘impact investing’, to fund startups at seed, bridge and Series A stages that are working in the following sectors: energy; water; agriculture; education; and health.

It will also not be very limited geographically either, looking to invest in Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. The fund will be managed by Andrew Tan from TinkBig Venture, a Malaysian VC firm, and will operate out of Kuala Lumpur. This firm invested around $2.4 million in eight companies since early 2017.

Of course, the name indicates a sequel fund of sorts; 3B Ventures’ Frontier Fund I was a $500,000 vehicle, and the firm was set up only last year. It aims to focus on companies that are attempting to solve one of 17 social or environmental issues in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The countries it mainly invests in are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Investing in 60 ventures is the proposed plan, with the financials secured but under wraps. Asset management firms and venture capital firms in tandem are clearly investing heavily in world-bettering technologies.

Further information: Deal Street Asia | E27

Firm in Focus: BNP Paribas Group

France-street-BNP ParibasSpeaking of lending, in partnership news is the link up between a French asset manager and an alternative finance platform.

BNP Paribas’ Asset Management arm is looking to boost its ability to invest in loans for SMEs, and this will be achieved through the partnering with CODE Investing. It is the UK’s institutional marketplace for SME debt, and will expand the BNPP AM’s on the island as well as mainland Europe; the group plans to lend over a billion Euros per year across the continent. CODE Investing focuses on institutional lenders rather than retail and has facilitated £47 million in lending through its platform.

The platform will provide lending opportunities for SME loans between £500,000 and £5 million.

And the big news doesn’t end there for BNP Paribas; publication Euromoney has awarded the firm with 4 prestigious awards for this year:

  • World’s Best Bank for Sustainable Finance
  • Western Europe Best Bank for Sustainable Finance
  • Best Investment Bank – France
  • Best Bank – Luxembourg

Euromoney has awarded these for over 25 years, and this certainly highlights BNP Paribas Group’s sustained effort towards social responsibility and diversity. Congratulations!

Further information: IPE | The Paypers | BNP Paribas

Important Report


The Investment Association has released an excellent report entitled Bringing Our Whole Selves to Work: The LGBT+ experience in asset management, and it has unsurprisingly been shared around the asset management social media space to great effect.

This succinct report looks into survey results pertaining to how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees feel in their workplace, and if the asset management sector is doing enough in their efforts to achieve openness, diversity and inclusion. It’s certainly a step in the positive direction, yet still the paper goes on to suggest how businesses can go further to support their LGBT+ employees and clients. You can view the full report here.

Given that last week marked London’s Pride parade in the city, we also took a look at how financial services firms embraced the LGBT+ community at the event and online in this article!

Industry Insights


Cognitive-biasWe’ve been keeping our ear to the investment ground, with a growing number of financial firms utilising the podcast format to great effect. You can check out a selection of our favourites here.

Recently we’ve been checking out the AIQ publication from Aviva Investors – a collection of insight from the firm’s teams around the world. The most recent issue – the 6th in the series – is entitled Beyond the Cave and features a thorough article, video, and podcast to share views on how data science is changing the views of behavioural finance and investing. The podcast, featuring guest features, is an insightful 20 minutes looking into cognitive bias and how technology can identify “bias at a macro level” to prevent future financial crises and on a micro level for individual investment decisions. Take a listen!


The-Modern-CFODigitalisation is affecting every single business, and despite firms hiring tech heads to handle digital properties like the best of the globe’s tech startups, there is a need for the C-level to be clued-up on everything digital too. In this video from Bloomberg, tackling the issue The Modern CFO is David Rogers, a Professor from Columbia Business School, Helen Shan – CFO at Mercer – and more. If a CEO has no digital strategy in place, regulatory matters will become increasingly difficult and growth will be lacking in this pacy, tech-fuelled business world.


London-CityEven before the stoic England squad finally had their strong World Cup dream quashed by Croatia (amazing effort from Southgate and the lads though, brilliant stuff), home news in the UK went into a bit of a frenzy with the resignation of Brexit secretary David Davis, swiftly followed by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The issue of Brexit has been a volatile subject with little clarification, but it’s repercussions on the financial industry are certainly something firms we need to assess.

Financial News just as swiftly gathered the thoughts of some City workers from investment managers, fintechs, global banks and law firms about how they have reacted to the news. And so we shall see how this plays out…

Fintech News: China’s Big Battle

Tencent Alibaba BattleOver in China, Alibaba’s finance arm Ant Financial has recently launched a blockchain-based service which allows Hong Kong’s Filipino workers to send funds safely and securely to their families, in as little as 3 seconds. Despite the eccentric Jack Ma’s publicised scepticism over Bitcoin, blockchain however remains a firm tech-of-choice for many financial institutions. This large news was covered by Fortune, and given the gravitas of such a mighty tech colossus as Alibaba, the continual growth of blockchain in financial services will surely grow.

Elsewhere over at Fortune is an extremely thorough overview of the battle between the aforementioned Jack Ma of Alibaba fame and his tech business rival – the more hermitic Huateng “Pony” Ma of Tencent. Despite the two firms having separate strategies – the former buying controlling stakes in companies that fit to its platform, whilst the latter takes minority stakes in a wide array of businesses for their tech partnership – they are considered arch-nemeses in the battle for China’s tech crown. The article takes a look into the rise and rise of both companies and their founders, once similar starling entrepreneurs that have now turned slightly bitter towards each other’s business as they jostle for supremacy in similar spaces. An entertaining read about one of the tech world’s most notable face-offs, and check out that incredible illustration from Alexander Wells featuring steely glares from the two Mas and a battle-ready Colonel Sanders.

And finally…

Aperol-AC-Milan…it may come as no surprise here that the UK are huge football fans, and what with the World Cup shenanigans, other fund world footballing news has also manifested.

As reported here by ESPN, UK-based asset management group Elliott Advisors Limited has official been announced as the owners of AC Milan, taking over from club president Li Yonghong. In a statement this Tuesday, the firm clarified that they intend to supply €50 million to stabilise finances and will continue to inject capital to fund the transformation of the club.

AC Milan are currently hoping to overturn their UEFA suspension from the Europa League in 2018/19 regarding financial fair play, and this dubious financial time is also hoping to be overturned by Elliott’s challenge to make the club well-capitalised.

Forza Milan!

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.