Welcome to our asset management marketing focus

This week’s edition brings you the latest megatrends, an investment world LGBT+ campaign, a cryptocurrency U-turn and Tinder for private banking.

Movers & Shakers

Katherine Haesaerts headshotKatherine Haesaerts
Is now ➜ Sales Director Belgium at Columbia Threadneedle Investments EMEA APAC
Was: Sales Director BeNeLux & Scandinavia at La Financière de l’Echiquier


Thomas Kaelin headshotThomas Kaelin
Is now ➜ Senior Client Relationship Manager at Candriam
Was: Client Director at GAM


Jeff Masom headshotJeff Masom
Is now ➜ Global Head of Institutional Distribution at RBC
Was: Senior Management Director, Head of US Sales at Legg Mason


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

Funds in Focus: BlackRock

Urbanisation-BlackRock2018: It’s the final quarter. Not quite, and also not quite the lyrics from Europe’s megahit. But speaking of ‘mega’, a lot of buzz can be generated around this time of year in relation to what next year’s ‘megatrends’ may be, and over at BlackRock HQ, this certainly seems to be what their fund managers are looking towards.

Such that the asset management giant has rolled out three new actively-managed equity funds that are centred on so-called social and technological megatrends, which are as follows: BGF Future of Transport Fund – managed by Alastair Bishop, Charles Liford and Hannag Gray; BGF Next Generation Technology Fund – managed by Tony Kim; and BGF Fintech Fund – managed by Vasco Moreno.

These strategies will look to give exposure to businesses and countries offering advancements in urbanisation, economic power, financial technology, climate change and technological breakthroughs in AI and robotics.

And whilst these three new funds round off a suite of products that has already begun with the BGF New Energy Fund, there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping the firm’s barrage of product unveilings. In keeping with their $4.4 billion ETF range is the rollout of the iShares Digital Security UCITS ETF, looking to identify growth potential in digital security and IoT, tracking the STOXX Global Digital Security Index.

Co-CIO of BlackRock’s Active Equity Platform, Nigel Bolton, had this to say about the suite:

“Identifying the potential for change is a key driver of investment decision-making, and, as these megatrends continue to shape the world, there is extraordinary opportunity for investors to build portfolios to catch the tailwinds of these changes.”

There you have it, an initial foray into the future’s megatrends. You can also check out a video all about BlackRock’s energy-related strategy and the new Transport Fund from the company’s CIO of natural resources Evy Hambro at the Citywire link below.

Further information: Institutional Asset Manager | Investment Week | Citywire Selector

CEO in Focus: Emmanuel Roman

Microphone-Interview-PimcoIt’s the spotlight on industry stalwart Emmanuel Roman this week, currently the CEO of Pimco as of 2016, as an interview with the Frenchman was broadcast recently on Yahoo! Finance.

Financial News has also broken down a lot of the highlights from the talk with Goldman Sachs’ almost-CEO David Solomon (aka DJ D-Sol), first talking about Roman’s initial foray into finance (at Goldman, coincidentally), and culminating in Pimco’s visions for the future.

Amongst the duo’s mutual love of wine and the fact that Roman has never driven a car in his life, are talks about exactly what these CEOs believe will be the outlook for asset management in ten years’ time – a whole portfolio available “in just two clicks”, the company’s extremely active role in expanding its technological expertise worldwide, and why client servicing is his ultimate passion, alongside his phenomenally astute wine collection.

It’s an informative chat delivered in a well-humoured interview style from two industry heavyweights, and is well worth a worth; check it out!

Further information: FN London | Yahoo! Finance

Important Reports: UKs Annual Checkup

UK-big-ben-IAIt’s been a big week for the UK’s Investment Association, but more on its other news later.

For now though, take a peek at the IA’s annual enquiry into the state of asset management in the UK right here. Every year, the organisation conducts a survey to provide a detailed overview of our favourite financial sector in the country in which it is based, considered the world’s leading financial centre and the second-in-command in asset management, just behind the US.

The survey for this year (its sixteenth edition) gathered responses from 70 member firms of the Investment Association, which it identifies accounts for around £6.5 trillion AUM in the country, around 84% of the total AUM by the IA’s membership firms.

The whole report is a pretty hefty, however it is split into six very specific sections looking at such issues as:

  • The position of UK AM worldwide
  • Patterns of M&A industry-wide
  • Regulatory hurdles (MiFID II, specifically)
  • Asset allocation
  • Trends in fund distribution
  • The retail fund and institutional markets
  • Operations, employment and boutiques

It’s a big-time operation in itself, but should serve as a handy guidebook for the asset management framework fanatics for this year’s end and the upcoming year, too.

Regulatory Matters: An Imminent Exit?

Brexit-starAll UK news watchers will feel inundated with images of Theresa May’s addressing of important Brexit issues this week, and the efforts of chief negotiators in Salzburg and abroad. Yet, that may still provide relief from Theresa’s awkward dance moves that we’ve been graced with recently.

The point is that this week has seen a peak in Brexit coverage on the news, and therefore the asset management’s continual speculation on the topic can over not be overlooked or ignored. We recruited the regulatory expertise of Tim Cooper for our most recent white paper, entitled

How Asset Managers are preparing for Brexit

The restrictions imposed by a drift away from EU regulations prove pivotal to a change in state for the asset management industry here in the UK, as Brexit enactment remains extremely close. Tim looks at how the industry has prepared itself, looking into the ‘equivalence’ argument, passporting arrangements, contingency plans to lower presence in Britain, and he delves into the specific movements from various leading firms looking to move away or at least set up organisational sub-sections on the continent, or in Dublin, for instance.

It’s an incremental time for Britain’s FSI in regulatory terms, and it’s well worth knowing the ins-and-outs, which seems a perfectly apt term for how the landscape is looking.

Crypto News: The U-Turn

Going back on their own opinion this week is Julius Baer Group.

As one of the oldest banking institutions from Switzerland, the news of the firm becoming an issuer for a cryptocurrency product is already strange, yet it seems even the more alien considering their staunch criticism of crypto-assets in late 2017. As seen from the tweet below, housing a blog post about staying away from Bitcoin, they weren’t fans:

It has been reported by Finance Magnates that Julius Baer is now looking to issue up to 20,000 products, becoming the largest asset manager to announce their fandom of cryptocurrencies. It has already announced an issue date of 30th October, with an issue price of $1,000.

One of the biggest U-Turns in the fund space? Likely.

There are those that still really aren’t that compassionate towards crypto, as we return to the opinion of a returning opinion series: FT Alphaville’ ICOmedy. Interestingly, you can check out the 22nd report of the House of Commons Treasury Committee report on digital currencies here, and what follows on the FT blog is a fairly brutal comb-through to highlight their limitations.

Whatever your view on crypto, there’s enough information in there to make your own decisions, besides the fairly entertaining anti-celebratory article.

Industry Insights: Equality Continues

Inclusion-IAIn our second look at activities in the Investment Association camp, this week also saw the showcasing of the organisation’s new board members, which in turn brought its female board representation up from 20% to 40%.

The four new Directors are Caroline Connellan, Michelle Scrimgeour, Hanneke Smits and Dan Watkins. This particular update is welcomed after much criticism of the lack of gender diversity on the boards of financial institutions. CEO of the Investment Association Chris Cummings had this to say:

“The Board of Directors sits at the heart of the IA and it is essential that we have a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives around the table. We know that firms with diverse management teams make better decisions, so I am particularly pleased that we have been able to increase the diversity of our Board with these four new appointments.”

Great work, IA!

The FSI’s further diversity efforts have not gone unnoticed, and also excellent is a new campaign from one of the industry’s main LGBT groups: LGBT Great.

Launching its #hereiam campaign, LGBT Great – which strives for further inclusion of diversity specifically within the investment space – is looking for around 1,000 individuals to become peers and role models for the organisation.

The campaign is able to follow on Twitter using the hashtag, and below is the promotional video featuring excerpts from industry heads as to why they became role models for LGBT Great’s cause.

And finally…

Dating-banking…albeit not quite as outwardly dating-app-esque as first assumed, there’s been an interesting app release that certainly shares similarities with such phenomena as Tinder and Bumble.

New to Umpqua Bank is Go-To, an app which allows users to swipe left or right to personal bankers depending on their faces and profiles, including location, expertise, and professional background.

Following a successful trial, and certainly given the kudos of apps in the modern dating world, is Tinder the future of digital banking?

Elsewhere, if you’re ever in need of a financial chuckle this Friday, Investment News has got you covered with a countdown list of the top 9 financial advisory jokes, covering some sardonic retirement funnies, Biblical references and a classic ‘stranded on a desert island’ number. Why can’t advisors have fun, anyway?

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.