Business Effectiveness category

Spotlight Series: Suzanne Duncan, IBM Institute for Business Value on the Customer Trust Gap.

September 1, 2020

Suzanne Duncan, Financial Markets Industry Leader, IBM INSTITUTE FOR BUSINESS VALUE presented new research on the “Plugging the Customer Trust Gap” for the NEW FUNDFORUM 2010 KEYNOTE RESEARCH PAPER OF THE YEAR.

In an interview for the Spotlight Series, she explains the key findings of the report and recommends advice over product as a key differentiator.

Change essential for asset management industry

July 1, 2020

Suzanne Duncan speaking at FundForum International 2010

In a scary but inspiring report, Suzanne Duncan, financial markets leader for the IBM Institute for Business Value, presented the results of the largest global survey on the investor trust gap. A banking crisis is four times as bad as any other financial crisis, she said. It’s twice as deep and twice as long. Five key findings from the research were that sophistication in the fund management industry has outstripped our ability to handle it; together governments and the industry must balance stability and innovation; firms must deliver on brand promises and in order to thrive, the industry must solve its identity crisis.

Findings showed that the industry has very powerful brands and three key strengths: client centricity, flexibility and stability. However, 57 per cent of those surveyed felt that they failed to deliver. Turning to confidence, Duncan said that 70 per cent of clients interviewed felt that providers had their own interests at heart and worked at the investors’ expense and shockingly, roughly the same proportion of providers agreed with this finding. The industry is capable of change said Duncan. “Imagine if it applied the innovation and rigour it applies to its products to the clients” she said. What keeps you awake at night was the final question asked by IBM and 80 per cent reported that it was business model uncertainty. This, said Duncan, was a good thing.

She closed with two predictions. Consolidation lies in the future for the asset management industry she believes. “It is the single most fragmented part of the financial system” she said. Secondly, there would also be unbundling and the creation of more boutiques and specialist firms. “More specialised firms have superior performance” she said.

Further questioning from the audience found that clients want clear unbiased advice and there was some degree of support for performance fees being charged where possible. “One thing we really like about hedge funds is that they have skin in the game. There is a better alignment of incentives in that model” Duncan said and also reported that there is a severe trust gap between governments and the fund management industry with governments generally believing that the asset management industry was only in it for its own advancement while the asset management industry wanted to work with governments to improve its offerings.

People come first in post crisis world

June 28, 2020

Hans Jürgen Schmolke speaking at FundForum International 2010

Post credit crunch, it’s the firms that think of the people who use them who are winning business, according to Hans Jurgen Schmolke, managing director of Metrinomics. His firm research the mindsets and preferences of clients and prospect behaviour across Europe, conducting interviews with 900 third party supplier selectors who represented 80 per cent of the market volume. The drivers of business success are product quality but client service is snapping at the heels of the quality of product. “2008 showed the importance of client service” said Schmolke. “The people side of the business has come to the top. The product is only the ticket to the market” said Schmolke “the whole experience is what counts.”

Getting your hands on the cash

June 28, 2020

Daniel Enskat speaking at FundForum International 2010.

Daniel Enskat, head of global consulting at Strategic Insight, opened the Distribution Summit at Fund Forum 2010 with a swift summary of his latest research into the new rules in the post-crisis landscape. The global investment management industry is worth US$ 100 trillion and the largest piece at US$ 27 trillion is represented by mutual funds. “There have been flows of US$2 bn a day into the fund management industry” he said, but banks hold US$ 60 trillion in cash. “How do you get your hands on the cash?” he asked.

The money is coming from the high net worth client base, and a growing global middle class that is now increasingly coming from the emerging markets. As a sign of the times, Enskat told the audience that Bank of China has recently opened a new Chinese private bank in Geneva, staffed by the Swiss and offering a Swiss equity fund in Renimbi.

Never forget the importance of a good story, said Enskat. “Intermediaries love a good story and increasingly service levels are what matter to distributors. Post crisis, fund selectors want more power, more complexity, more concentration and they have a need for more tailored information delivery. The quality of the marketing material available is most important, said Enskat.

FundForum International 2010 - an overview

June 24, 2020

An Article by Beverly Chandler.

Beverly Chandler will be covering FundForum International 2010, 28 June - 2 July in Monaco

The European asset management industry had just earned a brief moment to draw breath and evaluate where it was at the end of the prolonged period of upheaval caused by the sub-prime crisis when, lo and behold, along came violent volatility caused by continuing fears of credit risk across Europe.

These spread from Greece, but panic is, as we have seen, contagious, and fears have threatened to spread through the Euro zones in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and into the Sterling-led UK to any European country that has a cripplingly high level of national debt.

The sub-prime crisis sparked off other dramas. We appear to have forgotten Dubai and its many financial problems which have been swept under the UAE carpet but played its part in rocking financial markets earlier this year.

Against the backdrop of loss and indebtedness, we have our perennial Western problem of an ageing population.  The question of who will fund the retirement years of a population dominated by people retired, not working, has been at the heart of a push to achieve above average investment returns for at least 20 years. Our original pension model of today’s workers funding today’s retired was predicated on a healthy balance of the two, the current and ex-workforce.  Demographics have put paid to that.

And where perhaps before, saving a portion of your income as a matter of course was embedded in a national psyche that had come through two world wars and a great depression, saving went right out of fashion.  Particularly in the UK where there always seemed to be another easier source of capital available to give you that money in the bank feeling which fuelled the ‘I’m worth it’ generations into spending more than they earned, often borrowed at easy  interest rates.

Within the UK, that money came from the UK’s flourishing property market where everyone it seemed could buy a house, make a quick return on it and move on. In an even more extraordinary extension of that pattern, ordinary people with no background in property development or property investment could build up a portfolio of properties and let them at a profit to others who were just waiting to get onto the same cycle.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that savings rates need to go up, in every sense of the phrase – we need to save more but we also need to earn a greater reward for saving. While interest rates remain dismally low for savers, they need to look elsewhere for returns on their money.  Across Europe, despite the shock and awe and the volatility experienced by those invested in equities over recent years who experienced a massive loss, a massive rally and then quite a bit of both, many traditional fund groups have experienced net inflows over the last year.

We live now in a financial world where neither banks nor governments have the appetite or the resources to lend money any more. Net inflows into funds suggest that investors are choosing investment in funds to secure their futures.  Actively managed funds, achieving better returns than those available on deposit, are what is needed to encourage investors to save and to offer them returns that are worthy of that effort.  The investment industry in its widest definition is at a crucial point in this process and must step up and produce the returns that will secure the financial security of future generations.

About Beverly Chandler

Beverly Chandler has been a specialist financial writer for a number of years, writing for most of the trade press, a number of national newspapers and publishing a couple of books on the Hedge Fund industry.  She will be covering the FundForum International 2010 conference, producing a daily digest of the key outtakes from the event, and interviewing speakers & delegates about prevailing industry trends, their views of the future and why FundForum International is the “must attend” conference in the annual calendar.

Who will you meet next week at FundForum International 2010 in Monaco?

June 21, 2020

The who’s who of the asset management industry will be in Monaco from 28th June - 2nd July attending the 20th Annual FundForum International 2010

PLUS: joining the unbeatable line-up of over 160+ senior expert speakers are:


Lord Myners, CBE, former UK Financial Services Secretary


“The Myners Interview with Paul Marshall, Marshall Wace will focus on the Hedge Fund view of the future of the Funds Space and the role of alternatives in the Retail World “


Jamie Broderick, J.P. Morgan Asset Management Europe


“An Insider’s perspective on how Asset Management can become a vibrant , useful and profitable industry”


Juan Alcaraz, Santander Asset Management


“participating in an expert panel discussion on the ‘Path to regaining Investor trust in Asset Management’ “


Massimo Tosato, Schroders


“speaking on the challenges of building a customer-centric business to sustain future profits”

Over 1000+ Senior Asset Managers, Fund Selectors and Advisers are confirmed including

SEB Wealth Management * Erste-Sparinvest KAG * Alter Capital * martInvestments * LV Asset Management * Citi Private Bank * Danske Bank * Caja Ingenieros Gestion * Vantis Financial Management * DWS Investments * AXA MPS Financial Limited * Finance-Doc Multimanagement * Calastone Limited * Coeli AB * Skandia Fonder AB * Societe Generale Private Banking * GDP AM Sim S.p.A * Godvig Capital * LGT Capital Management * Christian Philippsen * Allfunds Bank * max.xs Financial Services AG * Quantis Investment Management * Ålandsbanken Sverige AB * Santander Asset Management * Barclays Wealth * Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie * Invesco * Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management * Thames River Capital * Citi * F&C Investments * A.A.Advisors * Standard Life Group plc * Legal & General * Banco Inversis * Towry Law * Nextam Partners * Nordea Investment Funds * HSBC Multi-Manager Investments * Unicredit Private Bank * LGT Capital Management * PFA Pension * Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank * FundQuest UK * Carrington Wealth Management * Lansforsakringar Asset Management * Architas * Pioneer Investments * Deutsche Bank Private Wealth * London Pension Fund Authority * Deutsche Bank AG * London Pension Fund Authority * ABN AMRO Private Bank * Skandia Investment Group * Citi Global Consumer Group EMEA and many more…


Make Contact & Set Up Meetings Now on FundForum e-Networker

♦ Now Live! Investor Search Criteria now live on – find the investors interested in your strategies, contact them and set up meetings! Now Blackberry and iPhone enabled to help you find investors and set up meetings while at the event too.

♦ Now Live! FundForum International  e-Networker delegate list: See who is attending, update your profile and schedule meetings ahead of the event!

Fund Selection and the Art of Communication

June 9, 2020

An article by Niklas Tell, Tell Media Group.

Niklas Tell, will be speaking at FundForum International 2010 (28 June - 2 July) in Monaco

Do you think fund- and manager selection is as much about understanding people and their choices – past and present as well as future choices – as it is about strict financial research? I do and that is why I believe that communication is such a crucial factor for fund groups to get right.

The importance of communication is one of the things highlighted in our latest research on the Nordic fund selection market. Some 62 percent of respondents to our survey say they think high quality investment writers (i.e. investment writers producing high quality Request for Proposals (RFPs)) are either important or very important. One selector highlights “Short, precise but still thorough answers in RFPs” as one of the three most important topics right now.

The importance of communication is also reflected in the answers to a question on the importance of local presence. Most say it is not important, reflecting the fact that fund selectors can communicate effectively with fund companies anyway. But, local presence is important for those selectors who are looking for new managers to unit linked platforms and other retail focused vehicles. There it comes down to the ability to engage and communicate with the end client.

Conclusion? You cannot satisfy everyone, but I am sure you can satisfy most by having a structured and solid communication strategy. In essence it is about making sure that company history, strategy and in-house capabilities match the overall market- and communication strategy. Too many company profiles and fund presentations are too similar today. Or as recently stated by Seth Godin;

“Most people work hard to find artful ways to say very little…..  why not work harder to think of something remarkable or important to say in the first place?”

Snapshot of other findings in our Nordic fund selection research:

  • A majority of selectors in our survey are focusing only on fund- and manager selection, while some 46 % also do asset allocation.
  • A clear majority of selectors in the Nordic region think of their profession in terms of finding alpha, rather than finding the right beta.
  • Some 69 percent of selectors spend more than half of their time on qualitative analysis and of those 15 percent spend more than 75 percent of their time on this.
  • Thanks to an early mover advantage and strong local presence Morningstar have attracted most clients among the selectors in this survey. Other favoured services are Bloomberg and Mercer (GIMD).


About Niklas Tell, Head of Research, TELL MEDIA GROUP.

Niklas Tell is Partner and Head of Research for Tell Media Group, the Swedish based research and publishing company.  Follow his blog at

The complete findings from this research, which is based a survey compiled by Tell Media Group, will be published in the Nordic Fund Selection Journal, which will be distributed at the FundForum International 2010 in Monaco. It will also serve as input for a panel debate with Nordic fund selectors moderated by Niklas at the conference on June 29 at 4.30pm.

Maintaining relevance for the Intermediary & Future End Customer

June 1, 2020

An Interview with Philip Warland, Fidelity International

Philip Warland will be speaking at FundForum International 2010, 28 June - 2 July in Monaco


Special Focus Thursday boardroom member, Philip Warland, Head of Public Policy at Fidelity International, is joining and moderating a panel of industry figureheads commenting on how to stay relevant for the intermediary and the end consumer of the future.  Warland has the advantage of over 30 years in the financial services industry, having spent 20 years with the Bank of England and 10 years as Director General of the UK’s asset management trade association, now the Investment Management Association.

He approaches the role of the intermediary, from the perspective of the investor. “I am particularly interested in the treatment that the customer gets” he says, “and I almost always think that the intermediary comes first in that situation.”

“We are particularly keen on giving the intermediary a good service in terms of understanding what the product is and what it does ” says Warland.

Support is important at every stage for Warland, from giving the intermediary the initial information and material and back up to the next stage of managing and handling all transactions efficiently and helping the intermediary to build a long and satisfactory relationship with the client. “We like to make it as smooth as possible once they have given their advice” he says. Read more »

New Directions: Building Trust and Growing Wealth in the New Economy

May 20, 2020

An Article by Suzanne Duncan, IBM Institute for Business Value.

Suzanne Duncan will be speaking at FundForum International 2010; 28 June - 2 July in Monaco

What does the fund management industry have to do to maximize returns in a heightened regulatory environment? To start, the industry must reform some of its core attitudes and practices. The majority of investment providers today have brands that promise to provide manager value, flexibility, stability, and ultimately to focus on the interests of their clients.  In practice, however, the opposite is often true.  IBM’s analysis of more than 2,700 industry participants has found that three quarters (76%) of executives believe they fail to deliver on their brand promises.  This number has grown from (67%) in late 2009 when executives were similarly polled for IBM’s study last year.

This failure to deliver brand promises has further accentuated growing levels of distrust and disconnects between investment providers (asset managers and distributors) and their clients. IBM’s research also has found that a majority of clients (nearly 70%) felt that firms are likely to offer products and services in the firm’s own best interest versus those of their clients. More disturbingly, over 60% of providers also agreed.

What are the implications of these disconnects? Trust gaps between investors and providers are hurting the provider’s bottom line, and taking away from opportunities for future innovation. These disconnects can be closed if firms start paying closer attention to investors’ shifting behaviors, attitudes and needs. IBM’s research has also found that any firm that can deliver what investors truly want will be able to charge a premium of 5% above their competitors - a significant opportunity for the industry if it can broaden their definition of innovation to focus on not only product forms - but also client forms of innovation. That is where much of the money will be made. Read more »

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