Fund selectors want “no surprises” from asset managers

Proper information delivery is of rising importance for fund management firms when working with distributors, who themselves could receive a barrage of emails each day, the FundForum conference heard.

A panel heard that smart delivery of information is a key way for asset managers to raise their profile among distribution partners.

“When something goes wrong, be the first to communicate bad news, don’t wait for the [fund] selector or distributor to ring you, as you give the impression of not being in control,” said Mauro Baratta, joint chief executive officer of Mackay Williams, a mutual fund research and analysis firm.

Mackay Williams surveyed 1,000 third-party distributors with around €2.4 trillion in assets under management, around 70-75% of the non-captive market.

Fund management firms must ensure that “no surprises” are given to fund selectors. If a star manager has left a firm, this needs to be communicated immediately to show control over the situation. The loss of a big name manager will have more dire consequences for a boutique fund house than a larger firm, but it would be detrimental to the relationship for all firms if they just sat on this information.

The amount of information delivered and the manner of delivery is also key to keeping up a good dialogue with fund selectors. The results from Mackay Williams survey showed that distributors did not want to receive hundreds of emails as they would simply discard them. Information needs to be tailored to a specific client, distinguishing them and making it relevant to their needs.

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