The way in which asset managers engage with their clients is changing, and changing fast. We recently caught up with Scott Burns, Global Head of Asset Management Solutions at Morningstar – whilst at The Summit for Asset Management (TSAM) – who shared some insights on this theme.
There’s a really weird thing happening in asset management and financial services. The digital experience that customers have – going into a customer’s website or dealing in social media – is completely divorced from the in-person experience. It’s really strange.
It’s not the way you’d buy a car. You don’t go to BMW’s website, have an experience and build a car; then go to the showroom and get told a totally different story. But we do that in asset management all the time.
It’s critical to link together those two experiences and bring them together in a way that’s really seamless and holistic, and really start thinking about websites, not just as a place for that brand halo, but a pre-meeting and post-meeting of that in-person meeting that you’re having.
Meanwhile, some of the most critical client issues today are connected with what’s happening in the regulatory space and also the digital marketing revolution that’s happening. The two are very linked. While it’s easy to think about the requirements that are happening due to regulations and all the nitty gritty things you have to do, there is simultaneously a change in how you have to engage with your customers that you have to think about.
Many people are very used to telling the ‘fact sheet story’ or the ‘performance-based story’. But in this new world, you have to tell a portfolio story. And whether you realise it or not, the advisor you’re working with is now no longer saying “show me your fact sheet vs their fact sheet, see whose is better and now switch”.
They’re saying, “I have a goal, I have a need and I have clients who are trying to do something”. You have to be able to weave that into a story and a portfolio lens that says “here’s my product, here’s my strategy and here’s how it helps you meet the solution you’re trying to get to.”
What that means, in a way, is the death of the fact sheet as the primary sales tool. You still need to have them of course, because you still need to meet regulatory requirements, but it isn’t going to be that key tool that you’re going to use. One option is to outsource them, which is something we’re helping clients with so they can focus on other sales channels.
Another key challenge is communication. The way you communicating with institutional investors is migrating down the food chain and you need to be able to do that to scale to effectiveness and make sure your products end up in those portfolios and ultimately helps those advisors help their investors meet their goals.