While fund managers can be forgiven for not prioritising marketing activities when allocating their budgets right now – MiFID II compliance activities are obviously at the top of the list – there is a massive shift that they need to be aware of.

Obviously, all asset managers are looking to increase AUM (assets under management) and to do this, they have to ensure that they are reaching their potential clients in the most effective way. While traditionally this process has involved IFAs, the digital revolution and the need to reach new audience segments dictate that fund managers use a more direct approach.

We have already established that millennials, far from having no money and no interest in accruing a pension pot, actually are a fruitful market segment for fund managers. To some extent, even younger generations such as Generation Z are also making plans for their future. However, if fund managers limit their marketing outreach to IFAs then they could potentially miss out here.

Why? Well, some IFAs are often not interested in advising those with more modest funds, and younger generations are much more used to turning to digital resources for advice, bypassing the IFA altogether. This is why they are going straight to robo-advisors in ever increasing numbers.

This leaves the traditional fund managers with a stark choice – win the hearts and minds of the digital generations, or risk becoming obsolete very quickly. Given that the latter isn’t really an option, how can they achieve the former?

The answer lies in building a consumer-facing brand that appeals to new audiences. Again, we’ve talked before about the importance of using social media to connect with younger clients but there’s more to it than that.

Content marketing is an incredibly effective way of bridging the gap between fund management and millennials. It’s clear that many asset managers already incorporate content marketing into their marketing strategies – in our annual survey, we found that 63% of respondents believed it to be their most effective marketing channel, with 65% expecting to invest more resources into it in the next 12 months. However, fund managers need to ensure that they are creating the kind of content that will resonate with digital natives.

A combination of articles, infographics and videos that resonate with the values and aspirations of younger generations should form the basis of this content marketing strategy. It’s also worth creating a whole new brand under which to do this, reflective of the dynamism of the the target audience and distanced from any negative perceptions they may have of traditional financial institutions.  

And as well as using content marketing tactics to broadcast and amplify their message, fund managers also need to ensure that they are talking in a language that a younger audience understand. The vast majority of asset managers are guilty of using complex language full of acronyms and terms that many people don’t understand, and without IFAs to decipher them younger generations will quickly switch off.  

Fund managers that seek to build their brand around the de-mystification of fund management and becoming a trusted partner to people who may not fully understand the world of investment can put themselves in a strong position. In a sense, they need to fill the role of the IFA – while they won’t actually be independent, as such, they can explain and advise using the digital techniques at their disposal. But gone are the days when fund managers could rely on IFAs to spread the word for them – they need to take a direct approach.

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Mash Patel

Founder & CEO at Kurtosys Systems
Mash Patel is CEO of Kurtosys and founded the online experience platform in 2002 with a view to create a digital vision for the financial services industry through the lens of a platform built for all. Mash has over 15 years experience working in the financial services sector across a diverse range of roles, including consultancy, marketing and technology and has worked at companies such as Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale and Coopers & Lybrand where he was responsible for overseeing strategic technology on projects in over 30 countries.

He is a non-executive board member of a number of Fintech startups and takes a broad interest in how innovative technology is shaping the future of financial services.

Mash holds a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Warwick and a Masters in Finance from London Business School. Away from Kurtosys, Mash is most likely to be found with his family and dog, Bode, or indulging his passion for soccer, supporting Arsenal F.C.
Mash Patel
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