Getting mobile – the challenge for Asia’s asset managers 19 October 2017

For the world’s leading asset managers, the latest Living Ratings make sobering reading. Our June 2017 analysis of their digital communications across 50 core criteria revealed that just 11% of the top 100 firms provided exceptional digital content and engaging functionality for financial advisers and intermediaries.

To us, this is a disappointing performance from a sector that should put communication at the heart of its digital strategy. Failure to focus on the audience (not the firm) abounds, and one lesson is clear: positive financial performance does not negate the need for clear and effective communications. When it comes to supporting their audiences in the digital channel, and staying abreast of the remorseless growth of mobile, the school report is in: must try harder.

Connectivity and content are king

In the digital communication sphere, we have identified the dozen key criteria that make a best-in-class asset management website... and it all comes down to a potent fusion of connectivity and content. Focus on your intermediary audience with client logins, geo-targeting, tailored content and personalisation. Generate a raft of relevant, timely, useful content – from webcasts and productivity tools to alerts, learning materials, thought leadership pieces and blogs. And because the devil is always in the detail – put it somewhere easily accessible: with a document library and carefully crafted and highly legible fund and strategy information.

Today’s focus

The regional picture is equally mixed. While many of the larger Asian asset management brands’ websites already offer a level of built-in responsiveness (that’s the ability to scale and flex the display of content depending on the device or platform being used), some of the smaller firms are still busy playing catch-up. They should get a move on, and join the 56% of the top 100 who have invested in a responsive website. From our perspective, responsive digital comms are a must-have, not a nice-to-have.

To make this happen, the leading brands are focused on what we might call a ‘mobile first’ approach, optimising their digital communications to take account of the paradigm shifts away from desktop-based consumption and towards smaller portable devices.

Making it mobile

An ever more mobile audience deserves more mobile-friendly user experience. Just 10% of our global top 100 have developed a mobile app for advisers and intermediaries – a ‘quick win’ if ever there was one. So the challenge for Asia’s asset managers is to create relevant and compelling content that can scale down gracefully to look its best on smaller mobile displays, and use it to stimulate and sustain a new dialogue with intermediaries. 

This means getting the basics right: giving careful consideration to layout, while striking the right balance between images and text. The essentials need to be immediately accessible, too, with fund facts and performance data that can fit neatly onto small screens, all brought to life with digital tricks including scrolling tabular data and interactive touch-enabled performance charts.

The tools and expertise are out there. Asia’s asset managers now need to put audience first – and get mobile.

How we can help

Here at Living, we apply our data to enhance digital strategies above and beyond best practice. Working across digital platforms and channels, we drive business performance with strategic thinking, brand creation and cut-through campaigns – creating effective communications that get tangible results.

To find out how please contact Greg Hobden in London, Aliena Lai in Hong Kong, or Kate Shaw in New York.

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