Research shows they are also more likely to buy a fund from a manager they perceive as a partner
Investment professionals in the UK are more likely to buy a fund from an asset manager who they associate with being personable, energetic and a partner as opposed to corporate, careful thinking and a supplier, according to 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 that an investment professional will 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 UK investment professionals’ 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’. This is in line with the 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
Brand recall is the factor that’s the second-most correlated to propensity to buy in the UK market.
Investment professionals were asked to mention which asset management companies they associate with fifteen different asset classes and management styles. Among a total of 3013 mentions, a mix of major international players and local asset managers dominated the overall brand recall ranking in the UK. Local players were widely mentioned in association with active management, ESG and some asset classes that financial intermediaries are likely to increase their exposure to such as UK equities and global equities. On the other hand, international asset managers tended to be associated with emerging market equities and European equities which are also likely to see increased inflows, along with alternatives, passive management, absolute return and smart beta.
Investment professionals in the UK have a distinctive view of most asset managers, seeing most companies as corporate, a supplier, careful thinking, tried and tested, analytical and slightly broader and more qualitative.
However, when it comes to preferences and the correlation between perceived values and propensity to buy, companies seen as more of a partner, personable and energetic/fast-paced are the favourites in the UK.
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.
Qualitative comments highlighted that investment professionals in the UK appreciate asset managers who were supportive with their updates and material but also via personal contact and good salespeople. On the other hand, a lack of engagement, slow responses and poor websites were among the things intermediaries disliked about some asset managers’ communication.
When it comes to know-how, the most mentioned qualities were good performance and fees, along with solid research and the right products. Companies associated with intermediaries’ favourite values attracted more positive comments compared to the others.
Compared to the other markets surveyed, the UK stands out for favouring asset managers that are perceived as energetic, as financial intermediaries in all the other markets prefer companies that they perceive as careful thinking.