Welcome to our asset management marketing focus
This week’s edition brings you an ESG fund overhaul, irresponsible investing, a multiple ETF launch and an inflatable Bitcoin rat.
Movers & Shakers
Is now ➜ Head of Sales at Smith & Williamson Investment Funds ICVC
Was: Executive Sales Director at JPMorgan Asset Management
Marcel van Ostaden
Is now ➜ Branch Manager Netherlands at Lazard Asset Management
Was: Country Head Benelux at Lombard Odier Investment Managers
Is now ➜ Head of UK Adviser & Strategic Partners at Investec Asset Management
Was: Director, London Wholesale Sales at Aviva Investors
Kurtosys expresses their best wishes to all starting in their new positions.
Funds in Focus: Invesco BulletShares Emerging Markets ETFs
It’s all about ETFs nowadays, isn’t it? Just one of the largest asset managers continuing to release the trendy funds is Invesco, which already has a suite comprising of 22 ETFs, and counting.
Alongside 10 corporate bond ETFs, 8 high-yield corporate bond ETFs, and 4 emerging markets debt ETFs are four new entries, all of the same ilk as this latter example. Invesco is hoping to increase its offering of fixed income ETFs, releasing these new ‘year branded’ funds:
- Invesco BulletShares 2021 USD Emerging Markets Debt ETF
- Invesco BulletShares 2022 USD Emerging Markets Debt ETF
- Invesco BulletShares 2023 USD Emerging Markets Debt ETF
- Invesco BulletShares 2024 USD Emerging Markets Debt ETF
These funds will offer investors the chance to control emerging markets duration exposure through targeting an exclusive entry point on the emerging markets debt yield curve, and is a potential way to build a laddered income. As the names accentuate, the strategies will focus on USD-denominated bonds issued by governments, companies and sovereign entities, which intends to reduce local currency exposure. They will track the Nasdaq BulletShares USD Emerging Markets Debt Indexes.
The launch comes due to a heightened interest from investors in the emerging markets debt space, as outlined by Invesco’s Director of Global Macro ETF Strategy:
“An increasing number of investors are seeking opportunities in emerging markets debt, which offers relatively attractive yields based on comparable credit ratings […] using BulletShares as a means of holding bonds to maturity may help to insulate investors from the risk of rising rates while offering overall portfolio diversification.”
The aforementioned ladder strategy can also be built using the handy BulletShares ETF Bond Ladder Tool, which allows investors to customise their own portfolio based on maturity profile, risk preference and investment goal.
More and more ETF opportunities are springing up all over the asset management field, covering just about every blade of grass an investor could ever want, regardless of the changing season.
Firm in Focus: Amundi
Desperate times, desperate measures.
The sway towards environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) analysis is a move being made industry-wide in an increasingly volatile world. But one asset manager making more than just a simple ‘sway’ is Paris-based Amundi, who are looking to implement ESG analysis across all of its funds, whether active or passive, by the end of 2021.
This drastic move comes after the appointment of Stanislas Pottier as Amundi’s first ever chief responsible investment officer in May. He formerly served as an advisor to past French Prime Minister Michel Rocard.
Currently, Amundi applies ESG criteria to €270 billion of AUM, which accounts for less than a fifth of total assets, which stands at €1.4 trillion. In a statement made by the company, the actively managed funds will have to offer “ESG performance” above the ESG rating of their benchmark indices. Passively managed ESG assets would double to €70 billion at the least. Amundi currently has a dedicated team to assign ESG ratings to companies and therefore promote or exclude stocks from portfolios depending on if they are over-or under-weighted. Pottier notes that Amundi’s clear vision for ESG analysis is exemplary through the use of its rigid system, recognised by the industry. He adds, in his new role, that “we now aim to make ESG criteria mainstream in investment processes and voting policies.”
Amundi also has €10 billion of funds dedicated to try and tackle climate change, and a €2 billion emerging market green bond fund.
The so-called ‘three year plan’ also includes an ESG advisory service for institutional clients, and will increase thematic funds to €20 billion which pertain to initiatives related to environmental and social issues.
It’s a bold, forward-thinking plan which will hopefully prevail in its bettering of climate change and societal matters, and places its own benchmark for the rest of the industry to recognise.
Fintech News: Fintech Chic
Whilst the ‘partnership’ side of things in is dominated by fintechs and banks (which we still hope to see even more of), instead we occasionally see financial technology worming its way into many other industries, and in this week’s news, it’s fashion, as reported by Financial Times.
High-street fashion to be specific; Swedish institution Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has just bought a stake in Klarna, one of the highest-ranked fintech companies according to the KPMG Fintech 100 list. It is a payment solution for e-commerce, founded in 2005.
So, in keeping with the Swedish nation’s expertise in clothing and fintech in tandem, here’s a teaming up of the titans of each industry. The deal is reportedly worth $20 million for a stake of less than 1%, making it the fintech’s largest partnership deal, even after similar deals have been sparked with ASOS – a UK based online clothing retailer – and IKEA, perhaps one of Sweden’s largest exports to the world.
Clearly the e-payment solutions space is gathering momentum, as we discovered throughout our Fintech World Series. And with this deal, it is in fact H&M looking to regain the loyalty of its customers through online and offline payment solutions from Klarna. The company’s shares have halved since 2015, with customers annoyed by its poor integration between online and physical stores for returns.
Fintech solutions: there seems to be no niche area that they can’t find themselves.
Being more responsible…
ESG is high on the agenda here at AMMF, and following on from Amundi’s brash ESG fund overhaul, here’s a list courtesy of Investment News of the top performers in this particular fund corner.
All those on the list qualify as having a “high” rating on sustainability by Morningstar, and each section of the list gives the fund’s current return to date and its fund assets. Included in the list are such industry heavyweights as Vanguard and Morgan Stanley and the ESG topics up for investing in include technology, small company growth and venture capital.
…but not responsible enough
The last months have seen a dramatic increase in the efforts made by the financial services industry to boost gender equality, from graduate programmes to the C-suite.
This is welcome news of course, and perhaps overdue, but another negative aspect of the FSI also unfortunately lingers in the wake of the past year’s #MeToo campaign, which began with the shaming of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and has gone on to spark investigations into other areas of business.
Financial News has reflected on what the world of finance has learned from the stories, allegations, condemnations etc. that has stemmed from the campaign to discover cases of sexual harassment, particularly as the issue is still ongoing in daily news from the realms of US politics to elite sports.
Looking back to the infamous Presidents’ Club at the start of this year, where questionable actions were made public by an undercover journalist, to other allegations of assault in high-profile companies, it seems that new cases are coming up constantly, as well as investigations into past actions which are now resurfacing due to the social media-promoted movement.
As the publication notes, it’s a concern that has been prevalent for banks and asset managers since the late ‘90s, where harassment was first thrust into the spotlight, with a U-turn of industry culture very much needed. Has that changed however? Given this year’s more public response to incidents, it seems not. But, the article does give an insight into the fact that financial firms, now far more aware of their own policies, are taking a far more hard-line approach and assessing the issues far more seriously than ever before.
Finally, the conversation is ready to be had after a long time of silence, but there’s still plenty more that needs to be changed going forward.
As is made extremely by the creators over at Visual Capitalist, the thought of humans being their own worst enemy is certainly applicable to matters of personal finance. And we’re not just talking about that impulse buy of a new games console or a steak dinner (cough), but more the investing side of things.
Human psychology comes into play massively when looking to save aside a little moolah for the future, and all of the most common mistakes we make (avoiding risk to fulfil our pleasure principle, for instance) are outlined by the infographic linked above.
As can be expected, there are a few illustrative Venn diagrams to attempt to show how our brain works, graphs, Warren Buffett quotes and remarkable graphics, all in a long-form journey through the biggest booby traps we all find ourselves falling into due to cognitive biases or risk aversion.
*Webinar klaxon* Here’s another chance to sign up for our most recent webinar:
Kim Bell from Bdifferent – a financial services market research group – looks into the effect of millennials’ spending and investment habits on the industry, the role influencers play in the scene, and trends in the millennial financial journey.
Rich Watts, Global Head of Digital here at Kurtosys, will also be speaking about how asset and wealth managers can adapt their digital transformation efforts to best service Millennials.
There’s not much time longer to sign up for this webinar, so don’t miss a place by registering at the link above!
…irresponsible financing is often what comes a cropper for sport stars in the news, from tax problems and difficulties from taking an early retirement. But the silver lining can be found over at Wealthmanagement.com, which takes a look at twelve professional athletes that have gone on to become financial advisors.
With a certain lean on US sports, there’s stories of wide receivers, basketball players et al that have gone on to be partners at wealth management firms, or sports and entertainment associates at some of America’s largest banks. Who says that all sport stars squander millions?
Meanwhile, on Wall Street…
…there’s a giant inflatable rat, in protest about the economy and money management. It was unveiled by former hedge fund manager and artist Nelson Saiers, set up outside the US’s most powerful bank, and emblazoned with bitcoin references. Intrigued? There’s more over at CoinDesk, but who’s the rat? It’s all a bit vague, but I guess that’s art for ya.
That’s all for this week, but be sure to check back soon for more asset management marketing highlights and fintech snippets from Kurtosys.