Brexit: Business as normal for asset managers, or are they missing an opportunity for audience engagement? 12 July 2016

Last week our team at Living and I took an in-depth look at what the Top 100 Global Law firms are saying in response to Brexit, what they are commenting on and how they are engaging with their audiences.  This week*, we decided to look at the Top 100 global asset management firms (as listed by I&PE) and see if they are doing any better.



Maybe because we are still in the period of uncertainty following the decision to leave the EU, or because it is too early for the full impact of that decision to become apparent - very few economic or investment indicators have reacted enough yet to make predictions - asset managers don't appear to have too much to say, yet.

For the majority, it appears that a brief statement, press release or PDF opinion paper, is considered enough to inform or engage with audiences.  Few appear to be making any concerted effort to provide advice, commentary or re-assurance - at least through their public facing websites.

We reviewed all of the Top 100 firms in the I&PE listing, of these 36 firms don't appear to make any mention of Brexit on their websites at all. Of the remaining 64 firms there were few that really stood out, in terms of the quality of their engagement and content.

Who's doing ok (although there is lots of room for improvement)

Aegon Asset Management (Kames Capital in the UK)
Kames have dedicated a section of its website to Brexit as well as scheduling briefings with its experts.  The site provides analysis and comment on the referendum and the UK's decision to leave the EU - the impact on markets and the outlook for the coming months.  A good variety of written comment, video interviews with analysts and fund managers, key facts and Q&A material.  The site itself is easy to navigate, engaging and has clarity. Content can be shared on social media channels (Twitter and LinkedIn) where users can also find selected content on the firm's own channels.

Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management
Whilst not sophisticated, DAWM's CIO Flash Update sets out the firm's views on Brexit and includes a very useful glossary of related terms to provide clarity and understanding. Interestingly the firm appears to have decided to utilise Facebook as its primary container for Brexit commentary and content, the site has very clear signposts to Facebook posts. Articles are provided in both English and German language. 

Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Goldman Sachs, out of all the firms I looked at, uses the most video content to share its views.  The firm hosted a webcast where portfolio managers discussed the outcome of the referendum as well as the key investment implications.  The panel was filmed and each manager's presentation shared independently, in bite-size chunks. Other written content includes top takeaways, sector commentary, guidance for investors and opinion.  Simply done, but effective comms.

M&G Investments
A wide variety of views from M&G's fund managers on how markets are reacting to Brexit and the impact it is having on investments.  The site contains a video reaction from Anne Richards, CEO of M&G together with the views of M&G teams from equities, fixed income and multi-asset.  I particularly like M&G's use of webcast content to provide a library of engaging and thought-provoking opinion and commentary (you do need to login to get to view). M&G invite the user to keep checking back for updates, setting the site up to be a regularly update go-to-resource.

As a sector, firms and their clients are likely to be at the forefront of experiencing whatever changes Brexit has in store for us, the challenges it will throw up as well as the opportunities it will create.  How firms communicate and engage with their audiences will increase in importance as we progress.  Clients are increasing looking towards their advisers for reassurance and guidance (as we are probably not going to see to much of this from the politicians), and are also looking for commentary that challenges all the negativity and pessimism that is currently being shared - what we do know is that we will, with 99% surety, continue with Brexit, what clients want are views on what happens next. Beyond Brexit.

This is a very subjective analysis, and I am sure that as we near the end of the two year leave period - we are likely to see a lot of content being shared, and a lot of effort being put into audience engagement, keeping clients abreast of changes likely to affect investments.  My plan is, purely out of interest, to monitor how firms are doing.  I am looking forward to seeing some creative and inspiring communications in the coming months.

Here is the compete list of asset management firms I looked at, with links to whatever communications I found.  Those without links are those where I couldn't find anything. Do let me know if we have missed anything, or you have seen anything better.  I hope this is a useful resource for anyone else interested in the sector and Brexit.



* All sites were reviewed on Tuesday, 12th July 2016.




David King
Group Marketing Director