Welcome to our asset management marketing focus

This week’s edition brings you the 20 biggest wealth firms, an awards ceremony, Brexit breakthroughs and advisory horror stories.

Movers & Shakers

Margaux Del Valle headshotMargaux Del Valle
Is now ➜ Senior Marketing Executive at BNY Mellon
Was: Marketing Executive at BNY Mellon


Darren Jones headshotDarren Jones
Is now ➜ Digital Marketing – Email Marketing Specialist at Wellington Management
Was: Digital Marketing Manager at AB Bernstein


Edouard Legrand headshotEdouard Legrand
Is now ➜ Global Head of Digital at BNP Paribas Asset Management
Was: Co-Head of Digital at BNP Paribas Asset Management


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

Funds in Focus: MitonOptimal

GuernseyAn interesting story from one of asset management’s newcomers: MitonOptimal. Coming from much-larger name Miton PLC, the offshoot was introduced a few years ago away from its UK-domiciled predecessor, managing multi-asset products for financial advisers across the globe. The new addition to the MitonOptimal family was Coram Asset Management back in 2016, which was a Bath-based firm already founded by past employees of Miton PLC.

MitonOptimal however is based in the Channel Islands, and announced this week that it plans to launch a new DFM (discretionary fund management) fund range, which will offer international IFAs access to the firm’s asset allocation and manager selection. The fund range will be domiciled in the popular post-Brexit financial base of Dublin.

The range of unitised DFM funds will have three portfolios based on risk (cautious, moderate, and growth), with share classes available in both US dollar and pound sterling. The assets offered by these portfolios will have a broad reach in terms of strategy, including hedge funds, traditional fixed income, equities, property and more.

MitonOptimals’ joint MD and head of international portfolio management and lead fund manager to these funds, Shaun McDade had this to say about the launch:

“The new DFM funds provide investors with the investment benefits of a DFM solution with the convenience and simplicity of using a unitised fund. True DFM services have traditionally been available only to professional investors with large lump sums to invest – these funds provide access to DFM expertise for retail investors”.

He also adds that the firm’s independence means that “we are not constrained when selecting managers to populate our portfolios”. Along with the wide ranging asset selection, the firm’s ability to marry a top-down asset allocation with a bottom-up “best of breed” manager selection is possible.

The MitonOptimal group offers domiciled investment fund options in the aforementioned Dublin, home-town Guernsey and South Africa, with offices within these countries, as well as Singapore.

Further information: International Investment | FT Adviser

Firms in Focus: Top Dogs

Thanksgiving-TurkeyIt’s now the first of November, and time for all those fireworks, bonfires, turkey dinners and pumpkin pies depending on your geographical location. It’s also almost the end of 2018, which seems to have flashed before our eyes, and time to not focus on just one of the asset management world’s smorgasbord of firms, but 20. The big two-zero.

Citywire Wealth Manager has done all the hard work on our behalf, looking into which 20 of these asset managers are definitively the world’s largest by AUM at the end of 2017, according to the Willis Towers Watson’s sector-specific annual study.

As outlined by this study, 58.1% of all global assets are managed in the US, with 31.8% in Europe and 7.4% specifically in the UK. The rate of growth was also identified as being the largest since 2009, with asset management’s top 500 companies growing their funds to $93.8 trillion, which is up by 15.6%.

In fitting with the ‘big name’ theme, Bob Collie (head of research at Thinking Ahead Institute) identifies that these top firms are dominated by “familiar names”; clearly the tops of the financial tree are maintaining their positions.

Check out the list at the link above, in a swish slideshow format to rank the firms’ locations and AUMs. Expect to see such big-hitters as Goldman Sachs, Natixis, UBS and more (17 to be precise).

Regulatory Matters: New Frameworks


Dominating much of the financial chat in the UK specifically throughout the year was, of course, Brexit.

Brexit chief Dominic Raab hinted this week that a deal is close, and more specifically in the financial sphere, Financial News has also reported something similar a few days past. Well, a deal is “tentative”, much in line with a lot of the Brexit-based news we’ve become so used to in 2017.

According to a piece unveiled by The Times, the so-called ‘equivalence’ factor (outlined in our white paper from Tim Cooper) appears to have been achieved by the UK. What this means is that the EU recognises that the UK’s regulatory efforts for the financial services industry is as robust as those that currently exist on the mainland. Many publications expected the UK and the EU to come to this agreement. If this goes ahead therefore, firms in the City will still have access to European markets.

That being said, this newscast outlines how the deal can be withdrawn at short notice and is able to be swayed for political purposes. Theresa May intended in July to try and negotiate a Brexit whereby the UK’s financial services will comply with an ‘improved’ version of EU regulations that applies to non-members.

Now that this apparent groundwork has been set, the UK government is now looking to build on the arrangements for an ever better deal, reportedly. Then again, whether this will bear any fruit may not be found out for a while, with the next window to agree exit terms not being until next month. Remember that ‘The Final Brexit Moment’ is due to occur in March 2019; a no-deal scenario would mean negotiations on behalf of financial services would not come into effect.

We look forward to any relatable updates on the future for UK finance.

On another side of regulatory frameworks: cryptoassets.

Detectives CryptoThe UK Government is back in the spotlight here again, as they are hoping to bring cryptocurrencies into the regulatory fold. And how are they hoping to achieve this? Simple: by setting up its own crack team, comprising of the Bank of England, the FCA and the Treasury. It was established in March to look into the regulatory hurdles for DLT and cryptocurrencies which, whilst initially promising for the former, has since found more problems with the latter, considered to have “no intrinsic value” by the FCA.

However, now it seems like the trinity is looking to finally clamp down on a way to regulate cryptoassets as best it can. Here’s a rundown of the actions it is undertaking, as outlined by Finextra:

  • Identifying by the end of the year which cryptoassets fall into the existing regulatory measures, and which don’t
  • Deciding whether these regulatory parameters need extending to include cryptoassets that share features with specified investments
  • Having a separate consultation by Q1 next year on the prohibition of sales of derivatives to retail consumers, referring to certain types of cryptoassets
  • Issuing a further consultation to explore how to exchange tokens such as Bitcoin and how to regulate affiliated firms (exchanges, wallet providers etc.)
  • Implementing a stringent global response to illicit crypto-activity, applying more than the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive

Whilst investors awaiting ICOs may be perturbed by these intended measures, it’s still promising to see a nationwide body looking to do its upmost to research such commodities for regulated use in the near future.

Fintech News: Bitcoin’s Birthday!

bitcoinMuch of the world would have welcomed October 31st as Halloween Day, but for crypto-nerds and investment professionals alike, this spooktacular day also identifies as the birthday of Bitcoin, now in its 10th year.

Starting out as an internet fad in the midst of the financial crisis in 2008, Bitcoin has since become one of the most talked-about phenomena on the planet, stirring interest from the largest banks all the way down to the casual non-investor.

From its dubious ‘Satoshi’ beginnings, to its status as a pizza payment, and now its chance at breaking into the ETF world (a tough one: see our edition a fortnight ago), everything Bitcoin past to present has been broken down by CNBC, acting as a homage and danger manual.

Indeed, it’s been a rocky road for the past 10 years since the unveiling of the Bitcoin white paper. In fact, you can read the pivotal document right here.

Bloomberg’s Opinion section has chosen the birthday celebrations to specifically reflect on the shortcomings of the currency, which has seen a worse head-to-toe downturn than the dotcom bubble itself, with the digital asset finding itself amongst a swathe of fads, hacks and scams in equal measure. Poor Bitcoin.

Give the article a read; it’s a cynical view at how the positive view of technology’s impact can be reduced due to the hard, statistical evidence. But yet, hope still remains in this most volatile of environments. The rise can come just as quickly as the fall. 10 years on, we all still monitor Bitcoin’s movements, validity and importance to the financial world. Happy birthday, Bitcoin.

Industry Insights

The Results Are In 

AwardThat’s right: the end of year awards thing is all starting to kick off now in the breeziest of months.

One event that’s of particular interest to the industry is the Financial News Asset Management Awards Europe, whose 17th edition took place this week at the esteemed V&A Museum in London.

Most notably, Vanguard’s founder and investment mogul Jack Bogle was given the Lifetime Achievement award, and received his award via a pre-recorded message in front of a 250-strong house of guests.

You can check out a full list of each category’s winners over at Financial News, with some of the most pertinent winners being Pimco as the large-scale Asset Manager of the Year award, and Hermes Investment Management as the ESG Initiative of the Year award.

Walking the Walk

There’s heavy featuring of ‘AI in FinServ’ amongst thought leadership pieces, but many can leave readers in the dark about what’s really happening in the world of financial AI, and rather just be a blob of meaningless bunkum.

Thankfully, the World Economic Form has recently come up with the goods: a fully-loaded 168 page report on the practical uses of the futuristic technology for financial firms, particularly in relation to customer loyalty and experience, operational risk, data regulation and so much more.

Expect charts, graphs, facts, figures and detailed analysis right here, in perhaps one of the financial world’s most thorough and impactful presentations going.


Global Wealthtech Summit 2018  7 NOVEMBER | LONDON


The ‘leading wealthtech event’ in Europe is coming to London. More specifically to Kings Place in King’s Cross, next Wednesday.

The day event will cover multiple topics that are most pertinent to the wealth management industry. Talks include such areas as AI and machine learning, distribution processes, retail digital investing, robo-advisors, digital-only banks, and regulatory matters.

As well as this, we will have representatives from Kurtosys there as exhibitors, so come and say hello!

You can register for the event here.

And finally…

Pufferfish…Halloween may have already been and gone (hey, it’s only been two days), but it’s still fun and frightening in equal measure to check out the gruesome, spookiest and downright strange stories from the advisory world over at Wealthmanagement.com. And whilst you may be thinking about the terrors of overcharging clients (the horror! The horror!), this is actually far more up Elm Street, featuring nightmarish tales of hitmen, hoodoo spells, pufferfish and frying pans. 

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.