Welcome to our weekly digital spotlight!

This week’s edition of Kurtosys Spotlight features another digital leader from our updated gallery, ESG: friend or foe?, a new edition of our podcast, fintech accelerator partnerships, the changing face of alternative investment and Goldman Sachs’ recent company culture move.

Digital Leader Spotlight: Alexia Barra

Alexia-BarraAlexia Barra acts as the Head of Digital Marketing for the EMEA and LATAM regions of Janus Henderson Investors’ business, where she brings a wealth of knowledge from a sales and marketing perspective.

Having worked at AT&T before joining the asset management world, Alexia has worked on many digital ventures, including the launch of the former’s CRM, and defining commercial strategies for financial advisers. Combining digital and marketing expertise has followed in Alexia’s role at Janus Henderson; in her tenure here so far, she has acted as the lead for the launching of 24 websites for the EMEA and LATAM regions, specifically centred on Spain, LATAM and Benelux, and she also led the design and implementation of content. Since 2018, she acts as a channel marketer too for the Spanish and Latin American markets.

Her leadership skills and knowledge of CRM, CMS, communication and business strategy and website creation and management make Alexia a key digital influencer in the asset management space.

Alexia features in our Most Influential Digital Leaders in Asset Management gallery – check out the full gallery here!

Featured White Paper: Responsible investing: friend or foe?

ESG-white-paper

As 2019 is now well underway, the debate surrounding where ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors fit into an investment strategy is still ongoing, with firms publishing multiple thought leadership speculatory pieces on the subject as much now as before. In fact, around 55% of asset managers within Europe identified last year that ESG considerations were being looked into to add to their portfolios.

In fitting with this trend, the Index team from Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) have decided to take a closer look into ESG to determine whether they can indeed fit within a factor-based portfolio. The two issues that writer David Barron (Head of Index Equity and Factor Based Investing) identifies are whether the methodologies for scoring ESG are valid and/or consistent, and way to integrate ESG concerns into factor portfolios.

The white paper can be found and downloaded over at Savvy Investor.

With so many ways to quantify and characterise responsible investment strategies, all with the aim of managing risk and achieving long-term returns, the paper argues that there are growing inconsistencies. With over 300 indicators used to score a fund, it’s certainly difficult to apply a universally accepted way to weight them. Whilst the paper also includes graphs agreeing that the same companies (out of 500 of the largest firms) should score well or not, there is in a metric which identifies how weak the relationship is between scores, confirming again the inconsistency of scoring different fund providers.

On top of some tangible survey results, the author then goes on to suggest what these different scoring for ESG factors could mean to investors, and furthermore how firms can create portfolios with ESG considerations in place.

A fairly brief summary of one of the most important issues in the fund management world, with both keen proponents for ESGs and naysayers continuing to provide their say on why these environmental and social factors work for investors, or not.

Webinar Replay: Go 1:1 or Go Home

Idio-webinar-2Joined by our Head of Digital Rich Watts, Andrew Flook (Director, Asset Management Practice) leads a discussion on how financial firms can use artificial intelligence-enabled experiences to personalise their digital channels. Basic practices such as marketing automation and segmentation are the very least of what asset managers can do; indeed, 1 to 1 experiences need to be compliant yet also ahead-of-the-curve in a difficult regulatory landscape for the industry. 

We found from our 2018 Digital Marketing in Asset Management survey, personalisation and targeting is the key priority for firms in the coming year, and will now be the main focus for the latest webinar hosted by Idio. The webinar took place earlier this week, but fear not, you can watch a recording of the webinar right here. You can find out pointers in relation to sales and marketing workflows and personalisation tools and platforms across 45 minutes.

Podcast: Connecting the Dots – Blair Abbott

In our latest edition of the Kurtosys Podcast, we chat to Blair Abbott – Head of Global Strategic Marketing & Business Development Division at Mirae Asset Global Investments – about the regulatory differences between South Korea and Europe and North America, personalisation strategies and the country’s advanced digital footprint.

As well as these, we expand on the results from our 2018 Asset Management Digital Marketing Survey, looking into what Blair considers a successful content marketing strategy going forward, and delve into the integration process for Mirae’s recent acquisition of Global X, an ETF provider, to expand the investment capabilities for investors.

With more editions to come very soon, check out our SoundCloud page for all of our podcasts featuring digital professionals in asset management!

Featured Event: AltFi London Summit 2019

FS-Forum-LondonAltFi is a market-leading news agency identifying the biggest trends in alternative finance and in fintech, focusing much of their content around alternative credit, equity, robo-advisors, crowdfunding, and challenger banks.

In its sixth year, AltFi are bringing back their AltFi London Summit, which seems more pertinent than ever in 2019 considering milestones from last year in relation to disruptive technology; platform launches, the sudden influx of successful digital banks and a rise in traditional firms investing far more into their digital capabilities for the future.

This year, the conference will focus on the rise of alternative credit as an asset class, and the digitalisation of banking and investment firms since the introduction of Open Banking. Also on the agenda are core themes including the revolution of SME funding (particularly challenger banks as we have seen here in the past few weeks), the next generation of banking and wealth management and online lending.

There are over 45 expert speakers, including CEOs and COOs from fintechs and financial institutions, technology experts (heads of implementation/heads of mobile) and representatives from venture capital firms.

The one-day event will take place on 18th March 2019 in London’s Liverpool Street at 155 Bishopsgate. You can register for tickets over at the AltFi conference’s main website.

Fintech News: Gaining more Velocity

It’s another milestone for the partnerships between the asset management industry and fintech, with news of the collaboration between two heavy-hitters from each sector.

Velocity, the fintech innovation hub established by the Investment Association which took on its first cohort of companies back in October, has penned a partnership deal with B-Hive, a fintech accelerator based in Brussels. In the past six months Velocity has attracted more than 80 fintech firms, with five companies making up this initial group for the accelerator programme.

We covered B-Hive in our bird’s eye view of Belgium’s fintech ecosystem, as it acts as a key facilitator between banks, insurers, and startups to provide bridges between different sections of the financial world all working together for the digital future.

The alliance is intended to boost innovation for the asset management industry through pan-European relations and collaboration. This is looking to, more widely, achieve a strong fintech ecosystem worldwide and has been reported as a press release on the IA’s website. The two companies will share knowledge about technology trends, and work together at training and events.

Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexander de Croo had this to say about the collaboration:

“I’m very pleased today to witness the Belgian FinTech hub B-Hive partner with the renowned accelerator Velocity. Both hubs’ expertise in RegTech and WealthTech gives the European FinTech ecosystem yet another boost and strengthens the collaboration between Belgium and London based startups.”

The news was also announced by B-Hive themselves via Twitter; a big deal for the fintech future of asset management!

Social Spotlight: D-Sol returns

One of the financial world’s most prevalent news stories this week was perhaps unexpected, but shareable nonetheless, specifically exemplified by Financial Times in the Tweet below, with an informative accompanying article.


Having relaxed the dress code for some of their employees, Goldman Sachs has now expanded its more ‘flexible’ dressing requirements across all of its employees, looking to appeal more to a younger investor base.

Whilst tight t-shirts and ripped jeans still break a workplace fashion faux pas, it’s one introduction from CEO David Solomon that looks to break strict constraints around office etiquette, all the more refreshing coming from one of the faces of the financial industry’s changing attitudes; Goldman’s head is none other than DJ D-Sol, part-time house master of ceremonies, full-time financial juggernaut.

If you’d like to have news, people, a new website or articles featured here, please get in touch via Twitter or email us at marketing@kurtosys.com

Elliot Burr

Content Marketing Editor at Kurtosys
Fervently chatting about the future of funds and fintech.