Welcome to our asset management marketing focus
In AMMF’s 50th round up, we bring you a new crypto-asset fund launch, open and closing doors for digital platforms, and celebrations for the 10-year bull market run.
Movers & Shakers
Is now ➜ Marketing Manager at Santander Asset Management
Was: Marketing Communications Manager at J. P. Morgan Asset Management
Is now ➜ Managing Director Nordic Region at AllianceBernstein
Was: Head of Nordics and Benelux at OppenheimerFunds
Paul van Olst
Is now ➜ Head of Netherlands at Jupiter Asset Management
Was: Head of Sales – Distribution Netherlands at Fidelity International
Kurtosys expresses their best wishes to all starting in their new positions.
Fund in Focus: Morgan Creek Digital Asset Index Fund
A welcome return now from the world of digital tokens, backed by the people at Morgan Creek Capital. It has become the latest hedge fund to do more than express its interest in the world of cryptocurrencies, rolling out its new Digital Asset Index Fund, also as a partnership with Bitwise Asset Management.
Morgan Creek Digital is the subsidiary, with Bitwise Asset Management already owning its HOLD10 Index Fund, and hoping to launch a digi-coin ETF in the near future. Much like the pre-existing fund, it will aim to target institutional investors hoping to gain a foothold in the cryptocurrency market. They can gain indirect exposure to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Zcash, Monero, DASH, Ethereum Classic and Omisego.
It will not, however, include popular crypto assets Ripple and Stellar, due to them being developed through a so-called “pre-mine”, whereby a percentage of the tokens were allocated to the project’s developers before their sale was made public. Due to restrictions on these sorts of tokens, plus considerations into custody and trade limitations and risk, other coins have also been left off the list for investment opportunities.
The Digital Asset Index Fund’s website states this…
“The fund tracks the Morgan Creek Bitwise Digital Asset Index, overseen by an advisory committee comprised of the experts behind Morgan Creek’s asset allocation and Bitwise’s comprehensive, rules-based digital asset index methodology.”
…so a thoroughly regulated co-operative effort then, and the fund will be overseen by Bitwise auditor Cohen & Company.
It seems like the landscape for crypto-investing is becoming ever the more developed with such rollouts as this, hoping to justify the investment pros of digital assets to potential, yet sceptical, investors.
Firms in Focus: JPMorgan / UBS
Digital offerings are, fittingly, today’s specials at the AMMF 50th anniversary, but it looks like the courses are either being welcomed or rejected from different firms.
Making particularly big waves in the wealth management world is JPMorgan Chase, who next week are poised to roll out their You Invest trading platform. It’s a low-cost offering, which gives investors the opportunity to try 100 free trades in stocks and ETFs for the first year, and depending on their future activity, they can earn an unlimited amount of free trading.
Providing much competition to their contemporaries in online brokerage, Charles Schwab’s shares fell 3.4% on Tuesday, with TD Ameritrade suffering a 5.8% share loss after the news was broken by CNBC. Subsequently, shares in JPMorgan rose 1.3%.
CEO of You Invest Jed Laskowitz describes that 90% of clients that have signed up to the platform have never invested with them before, its launch hoping to pull in a whole swathe of new customers, particularly those in the millennial age bracket. Of course, free trading may then provide a gateway to further investments for first-time investors, given this chance to try out strategies for a low-cost.
Elsewhere however, in an opposing move, UBS are looking to close off their robo-advisor business to new customers.
SmartWealth was a UK robo-advisory service set up two years ago, becoming one of the first in the market offering regulated advice and pre-packaged portfolios to investors based on their financial situations and risk. The Lang Cat found that UBS placed top of the direct-to-consumer platform market for their low costs, as well as their human-to-human active management strategy too.
This may sound like this is a final farewell to the robotic advisor, but instead UBS is selling the intellectual property of the platform to SigFig. The fintech company has worked with the firm in the US for the past two years, with UBS having an equity stake in them, too. Partnerships.
It all comes about due to a lack or “near-term potential” despite the rise of wealth management platforms in the UK. Clearly, due to the more concentrated market of robo-advisory services, and facing stiff competition from such fintechs as Nutmeg, it was always going to be a struggle.
Still, the fight for the biggest foothold in the UK wealth management space goes on, and positive to see incumbent institutions making an effort to go fully digital to best service new and existing customers.
Important Reports: Against the current
On the exact subject, global consultancy and financial services company PwC has looked into the digitalisation of wealth management on a mass scale in this bumper report, nautically entitled:
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of such institutions noted above, the FSI is still one of the least digitalised industries, and within it wealth management is considered one of its main laggards.
According to PwC’s research, only a quarter of wealth managers use digital channels beyond the Jurassic-era email, clearly not equipped to best service the 69% of consumers (particularly in the high net worth individual segment) using online or mobile banking services, with around 47% of HNWIs under the age of 45 considering using robo-advisor services in the near future. Best get on board right now.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg for the digital problems pervading wealth managers and their current services. This downloadable booklet offers thorough reporting from their own surveys, full of graphs, viewpoints and statistical research to enhance the point that full digitalisation is still ongoing, and that wealth managers are far from done to keep up with new players on the block.
As always, a useful landing page to accompany the report is available here, full of the select findings, infographics, and relevant videos from wealth management leaders.
Regulatory Matters: Wave Upon Wave Upon Wave
The marine metaphors are in abundance in this week’s reports, and touching once again on the Open Banking revolution is McKinsey&Company, looking at how fintech leaders see its potential.
Three CEOs from major fintech companies: Zach Perret of Plaid; Andre Durand of Ping Identity; and Daniel Kjellen of Tink, all vary in their services to customers, but are all brought together in the fact that customer focus is just one of the main aims of their products.
Regulatory hurdles and customer trust are two things which financial institutions have to constantly juggle, with fintechs looking more and more to assist in these areas. With Open Banking monitoring the sharing and transparency of customer data, it’s an important part going forward for any company in the FSI, since its rollout in January of this year.
These three interviews look into each CEOs’ view of the benefits of banking API, the future of banking, as well as the inceptions of each company, and musings on Dogecoin.
Bulls on Parade
It’s true: the US stock market has finally marked itself as experiencing the longest bull-run in history, the extended Pamplona of the financial world.
Almost 10 years old now, Citywire Wealth Manager has picked out 5 charts courtesy of Schroders which best chronicles the health of this historical event, now 3,461 days in.
The five charts looks at the following:
Chart 1: The S&P 500 success in the 90s
Chart 2: A step-by-step of the past 50 years
Chart 3: The state of international stocks
Chart 4: The gains and losses per sector (tech on top!)
Chart 5: ‘What’s happened to valuations?’
For such a historic moment for investment professional, these individual graphs provide a research gem to best string together how the landscape has changed, and why stocks seem to be in such a good place. Just as celebratory, the title for this segment also shares its name with one of the greatest songs ever made – check it out.
Similarly, Old Mutual Global Investors have provided another excellent infographic on the bull run topic. As above, so below:
The US equity market is on its longest bull run. But how does it match up to the previous record? pic.twitter.com/VBvRmfjzwz
— OMGI (@OMGI) August 30, 2018
This moment in time also marks around 10 years on from the financial crisis, so what has the financial services world learned in terms of the industry’s culture? Will we be able to survive a different crisis?
That’s exactly what the FT’s Gillian Tett sets to find out in this short-and-sweet 15 minute documentary, especially considering that “culture is the single most important thing in any organisation”. With Tett’s prior experience as an anthropologist, the term “culture” rings particularly loudly for this journalist, going so far as to call loan culture back in the day more as a “cult”.
The financial crisis features flaws on both sides of the Atlantic, another issue which Tett discusses with central banker Alan Greenspan, and what has now become apparent is how culture within financial services helps to better the security of the system and a more responsible approach to risk-taking.
Nowadays, there’s a lot of talk of populism running the economic environment, mainly for the worse. Trust, which ultimately underlines ‘credit’ in its Latin sense, is what is the ultimate goal for financial matters, and can only come through by understanding human culture.
An interesting, spot-on quarter of an hour, which you can view here.
We blab on about fund websites over at our blog – a whole selection of which you can view right at this link – but one of the main points is that having a mobile-first presence will get you extra kudos from consumers further switching to the smaller digital screen, on the move.
Therefore, all the complex components of a fund website – feature carousels, calls to action, subscription forms, mega menus – all need to render down well for great user experience, as well as even more nifty features such as biometric authorisation and error displays.
With a helping hand in this extremely long-form user guide to mobile form design from the experts over at Smashing Magazine.
Whilst it goes into great detail about every component you can think of, mastering just a few of these steps to improve your functionality will align your website’s mobile offering with the stars.
…”and that’s the real quiz”.
Ever wondered how financially literate you are? Well, the infographic masters over at Visual Capitalist have devised their latest illustration with a simple test to see how much you know about the investment sphere, a simple four questions, plus answers and cheat sheet (but no peeking at those, of course). Give it a go!
Plus, recently catching our attention is Citywire Wealth Manager’s latest video series entitled On the Road Challenge. Essentially interviewing a different asset management spokesperson about their career and views of the industry, in this week’s edition is MCM’s Nick Welsh, who takes on an escape room with the WM team. It’s a little bit like a financial Crystal Maze to brighten up your Friday. Do please enjoy.
That’s all for this week, but be sure to check back soon for more asset management marketing highlights and fintech snippets from Kurtosys.