European asset managers embrace new tools amid pandemic
Content, tech and partnerships dominate sales, marketing strategies
17 Nov 2020 | The Asset

Asset managers throughout Europe are increasing their communication with clients in response to the Covid-19 pandemic with many providing more educational content for clients and prospects, and increasing their use of technology across their sales and marketing functions, according to a recent report.

The report by Cerulli Associates found that over half (52%) of the managers surveyed have substantially increased their communication with banks and wealth managers in response to Covid-19. In addition, 38% have increased their communication with pension schemes during the crisis – only 6% of respondents had previously contacted the latter group daily. Of the managers surveyed, 44% have significantly increased the production of written content such as blogs, and 40% have substantially increased the number of video conferences they conduct for client.

“Nearly three-quarters of respondents expect to increase their use of video,” says Fabrizio Zumbo, associate director in Cerulli’s European asset and wealth management research team. “Managers intend to increase their production of video more than any other form of social media content over the next two years.”

Many managers see technology as key to their future progress – 68% expect to increase their spending on sales-related technology over the next 12 months. Respondents expect big data to be an important enabler of enhanced sales generation (60%) and also to recruit more people with data science and information technology expertise (58%).

“Forming partnerships with distributors is also becoming an important way of enabling new sales,” Zumbo adds. “This approach is especially crucial in Germany and the UK, where 56% and 54% of the asset managers respectively said it has become very important.”

Fee pressure is still the most significant problem that the managers face  – 50% of respondents identified it as a challenge. However, only 4% plan to modify their fees in response to the pandemic. Other major challenges include increased investment screening/due diligence by fund selectors (46%) and product differentiation (42%).

Looking ahead to 2021, 56% of the asset managers expect their marketing budgets to remain unchanged and 21% anticipate a decline of between 1% and 5%. Although asset managers’ total marketing budgets may not change too much in 2021, the mix is likely to evolve. For example, 29% of the managers surveyed expect their budget for social media marketing to increase. In addition, 21% of the managers expect to allocate more budget to design and branding; 8% believe that the available spend in this area will increase by more than 10%.