“Unprecedented demand” for innovative investment funds has seen smaller groups close the distance with industry behemoths, according to rankings of Europe’s best cross-border fund brands.
The fastest riser in the annual Fund Brand 50 was €7 billion French active-management boutique Sycomore, which jumped into the rankings for the first time, advancing 23 points to 29th place. Pictet consolidated its fourth position with an increase in the brand score that determines the rankings. M&G advanced three places, ousting Invesco from sixth position.
The rankings by fund research company, Mackay Williams, are based on measures of asset managers’ relative brand attractiveness across ten brand drivers, including appealing investment strategy, client-orientated thinking, innovation and solidity.
Managers in the so-called ‘squeezed middle’ flourished, with appealing investment strategies and communications that were crafted to engage fund selectors and their clients. Robeco, Carmignac and Pimco were all able to advance their brands in this way.
Also advancing were cross-border stalwarts, T. Rowe Price, Capital Group and Polar Capital, and the recently re-branded multi-affiliate group, Natixis. All had a common feature – a distinct offer and a connection with fund buyers linked to their commitment to investment excellence through an identifiable process, purpose or positioning, MackayWilliams said.
Although its total brand score declined for the second year in a row, BlackRock stayed comfortably ahead of its nearest rivals, with JP Morgan and Fidelity in second and third place respectively.
Diana Mackay, joint chief executive of MackayWilliams, said: “The ability to tell a compelling story has become a key differentiator but it’s not just a matter of dispensing a good investment story. Those groups that made the most brand progress used their stories to reveal a purpose or conviction beyond the simple delivery of performance.”
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