By Niels E. Andersen, CFA, CAIA, Consultant, JPES Partners. JPES Partners is a specialist consultancy focused on the investment management and real assets sectors.
In recent months there has been much talk in the market about lower re-up rates and more intense competition for new business, so it is becoming increasingly important for asset managers to reassess their fundraising approach, in order to increase the chances of new inflows.
As technology continues to change the way we interact and engage with prospects, the old “tried and true” sales and marketing activities may need updating and fine-tuning. Below I outline four key areas that asset managers should be considering to increase their chance of success.
Raise your profile
What engaging content or messaging related to your firm is searchable, visible, and accessible 24/7? Your company’s website, LinkedIn profile, and media engagements need to go beyond pure facts and data. They have to convey competence, personality, and unique selling propositions.
When was the last time you checked the manager databases to make sure your profile was accurate and up to date? So many manager searches happen behind the curtain, and an unchecked box or a missing data series may be keeping you out of the hunt. Qualitative answers need to inspire confidence and show subject matter expertise.
Leverage your own data
Is your CRM system a repository of information, or does it work hard for you? With current systems or add-ons that are available, you can assess the open rates, forwarding activity, and engagement time with your messaging, and use that to gauge consultant interest, prioritize follow-up on prospects, or determine cross-selling opportunities with existing clients.
Your website can also be a mine of useful information; so are you accumulating data or trends from hits you are getting? What pages get the most traffic, and what does the heat map look like of where your searchers are located? This can help inform your outbound initiatives.
And don’t forget your existing investors. How often are you communicating with them, and not just on their investment with you? Existing clients continue to be one of the best sources of new business, and they need to be included in your ancillary communications. The messaging can be tailored to reflect their current status as investors. This can also draw referrals.
Look beyond your existing universe
Don’t rely just on your current prospects. What additional pools of capital or investor groups could you be engaging with? Many intermediary and wealth platforms are looking to bring alternative investments to their audience, and are looking to work with managers to make it happen. Are you proactively seeking investors outside your home market, or could you be adding additional markets if you are already international? What foreign-domiciled pooled structures are available that lower the marginal cost of bringing in additional investors?
Are your salespeople taking advantage of additional channels for making contacts? There are Analyst Societies, Associations of Sales Executives, and continuing education forums that provide opportunities for building relationships in collegial settings.
Don’t forget culture
There is an increasing emphasis by some allocators and consultants on culture and soft skills; indeed surveys have shown that DEI standards play an increasingly important role in the allocation decisions of institutional investors. With this in mind, how are you communicating your commitment to DEI, from recruitment to retention and advancement? How are you getting across the essence of your firm and employee satisfaction and engagement, where you are more than just the sum of the parts?
Furthermore, how have you articulated your position or strategy with regards to ESG? Has it resonated with your investor audience, or do you need to rethink your approach?
Paying constant attention to your practices and company persona, especially from the perspective of an outsider looking in, can elevate your propensity to increase commitments and inflows and also improve client retention.
[Photo by Monica Kabise on Unsplash]
About the Author:
Niels Andersen, CFA, CAIA is a Consultant with JPES Partners, representing the London-based firm in North America. He has over 30 years of business development experience with investment management firms, inspiring trust and confidence in clients, consultants, and other stakeholders. His capital raising experience spans sovereign wealth funds, public and private pension plans, non-profits, and high net worth investors in EMEA and North America.
In addition to senior roles at Franklin Templeton, American Century, and Altrinsic Global Advisors, Niels has provided leadership and oversight through Board Director appointments in the US, UK, and Ireland. He is a past President of the Association of Investment Management Sales Executives (AIMSE) in the US, and served as a Non-Executive Director of AIMSE Europe during his time living in London. His support of charitable organizations includes serving as Treasurer for New Ways for Africa, which administers projects in East Africa related to healthcare, education, agriculture, and water infrastructure.
JPES Partners is a specialist consultancy focused on the investment management and real assets sectors. Drawing on experienced professionals with business development, investment consulting, pension management, and PR/Communications backgrounds, we provide strategic advice and tailored profile-raising programs to support our clients’ long-term business objectives.