Local managers are most often recalled by investment professionals in France
French investment professionals are more likely to buy a fund from an asset manager they perceive as qualitative and careful thinking rather than those perceived as quantitative and energetic, according to research by Fundamental IQ, the research arm of Fundamental Media.
For the Global Brand Survey, Fundamental Media surveyed 768 financial intermediaries in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom during the first half of 2021. To understand their perception of asset managers’ brands, we apply our ‘brand equity index’ which was developed in 2016 using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods along five pillars: brand recall, familiarity, perceived quality, propensity to buy and distinctiveness.
The ‘propensity to buy’ score assesses the likelihood to increase the use of funds provided by that particular asset manager. When correlating this score with those from the other four brand factors, we see that French financial intermediaries’ view on a manager’s ability to generate returns is the main consideration when buying a fund, as ‘perceived quality’ has the strongest correlation to ‘propensity to buy’, similarly to findings in the other markets surveyed. The ‘perceived quality’ is the views of respondents regarding the ability of an asset manager to generate above-average returns. This can be influenced by coordinated sales, marketing and branding activity.
Note: the dots show the positioning of
the 34 prompted companies across the two brand factors
Note: the dots show the positioning of the 34 prompted companies across the two brand factors
Brand recall is the second-most correlated factor to propensity to buy in the French market and this correlation has strengthened since 2018.
Investment professionals were asked to mention which asset management companies they associate with fifteen different asset classes and management styles. Among a total of 1916 mentions, local asset managers dominated the brand recall ranking in France. International managers were often mentioned in North American equities, global equities and passive management, but local managers were most often recalled in those asset classes which intermediaries expect to increase their exposure to, such as European, French and emerging market equities, ESG and active management. A few specialised companies (both local and international) were often mentioned for specific asset classes or management styles such as real estate, passive, smart beta and ESG.
French investment professionals have a distinctive view of most asset managers as analytical, tried and tested, careful thinking, qualitative, corporate and slightly broader and a supplier. However, when it comes to preference, companies seen as more qualitative and careful thinking/planning are the favourites, suggesting that investors are seeking cautious companies that are established in their approach to complexities and able to adapt to the current challenging environment.
Respondents were asked to choose from opposing values, which were asked in pairs and as opposites (e.g. broad vs targeted; qualitative vs quantitative). A positive correlation with one value is therefore automatically a negative correlation with the opposite value.
Compared to 2018, qualitative remains the brand value that is the most positively correlated to propensity to buy. However, careful thinking/planning has become more influential, while partner and personable have become less positively correlated to propensity to buy.
Qualitative comments highlighted French financial intermediaries appreciate asset managers with a good reputation, a lot of experience and a strong local presence who were supportive with their updates and follow-ups, shared good reports and established good relationships through their sales teams. Expertise in niche asset classes and a well-established ESG approach were also perceived positively.
On the other hand, negative comments focused mainly on companies that are deemed to be too big, especially if American, and those failing to engage with advisers, along with a lack of transparency and commercial presence.
Compared with the other markets surveyed, French investment professionals have a much stronger preference for qualitative companies, as this value has a high positive correlation with propensity to buy. While financial intermediaries in the other markets also prefer qualitative managers, the correlation with propensity to buy is less strong. Germany is an exception, as German intermediaries have a slight preference for quantitative managers.