National and International Events: Fund Boutiques, Skittish Deer, and Hairstylists
“More hunter than game” or “to see and to be seen” –these statements often reflect the more or less derogative verdicts of critics at national and international conferences. Frequently, one of the arguments presented is that the “concentration of investors” at many events is too small. Another claim is that both active and passive participants simply utilize these venues for self-marketing: they seek contact with personnel consultants and competitors. These are the less constructive aspects of this critique. What is typically forgotten though are that these events have existed for years and, despite prophecies of doom, provide benefits for participants. The following discussion point seems noteworthy: What advantages do national and international gatherings of the asset management industry offer? What can and what can’t one expect from these formats?
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National and International Events: Fund Boutiques, Skittish Deer, and Hairstylists
1National and International Events: Fund Boutiques, Skittish Deer,and HairstylistsBy Markus Hill, Independent Asset Management Consultant(Published only in German, www.finanzen.net)“More hunter than game” or “to see and to be seen” –these statements often reflect the more orless derogative verdicts of critics at national and international conferences. Frequently, one of thearguments presented is that the “concentration of investors” at many events is too small. Anotherclaim is that both active and passive participants simply utilize these venues for self-marketing:they seek contact with personnel consultants and competitors. These are the less constructiveaspects of this critique. What is typically forgotten though are that these events have existed foryears and, despite prophecies of doom, provide benefits for participants. The followingdiscussion point seems noteworthy: What advantages do national and international gatherings ofthe asset management industry offer? What can and what can’t one expect from these formats?Selection: National and International EventsExamples of large-scale conferences within German-speaking countries are, among others, theFund Congresses in Mannheim and Vienna or the Fund Congress in Switzerland. Interesting froman international point of view is also the FundForum International in Monaco (ICBI). Event typesoverseas offer even more interesting formats. Terrapinn, Financial News, Marcus Evans, andothers are among the well-known providers for this. All providers, even those in Germany, can becharacterized based on quality, scale, and market penetration. Among a group of experts, thereputation can be perceived quite differently as well. In addition, one can identify a large numberof national and international providers, including “in-house events” of asset management firmsand consultants. IPE, for instance, is an example of a cross-country approach that is sometimeslocally known as IPE Institutional Investment. This is merely a small sample selection and is byno means comprehensive in its nature; but, it does show how seemingly “unnecessary” formatscontinue to thrive.Conference ObjectivesSimilar to scientific and academic conferences, many national and international conferencessimply set out to disseminate knowledge within a particular industry. In addition to media,internet, and the likes, these sorts of events can certainly generate an exchange of ideas,discussion, and knowledge. However, over the years, different objectives have started to emerge
2so that new foci—even combinations of such—become possible: conferences to gain leads for thesale of investment companies. Other objectives could be the maintenance of brand awareness andcustomer retention.Differences in Expectations: “Professional Visitor” versus SalesVisiting events such as the Fundscongress or the FundForum International, one may be able todraw a first conclusion as to why misplaced expectations can lead to hardly justifiable, negativejudgments. If an event organization widely announces that its goal is to bring together nationaland international industry, it is not too surprising that primarily industry representatives attend themeeting. Any plus of investors’ shares should clearly be seen as an added value to the event.Examples: At a national event, industry primarily meets industry. At an international event(FundForum International) similar structures exist, but what stands out is that over the past years,more and more investors attend the event. Every participant and sponsor must decide for himselfor herself what constitutes the optimal mixture of providers and investors. I can only speculatehere, but that one or another critic of this sort of event was not aware of this matter in thebeginning.Fund Boutiques: The Added Value of International Events for Providers andInvestorsWhen one examines, for example, the settings of an international event (“Monaco”), it stands outthat interesting individuals or groups from Germany who wish to participate often come with acertain degree of market significance. If firms have departments or divisions for internationalbusiness development, interest in participation is more likely. (The personal experience of theauthor addressing numerous domestic fund selectors regarding panel discussions in foreigncountries seems to underline this issue.) Companies such as Union Investment, DWS, and Dekaobserve these events and show their interest.Companies like Universal Investment in Germany (private label fund launches and sales) andother investment companies such as Hauck & Aufhäuser or IP Concept could discover, in termsof content, a large network of asset management providers and asset managers who promiseinteresting subject-matter discussions. These specialized investment companies would, in turn,offer foreign asset managers added value in regard to market entry in Germany—administrationor direct sales support. As an alternative to the classical concept of placement agent, thediscussion of market processing strategies certainly seems appropriate. Many providers, even inGermany, are not aware of the potential that Europe or “the globe” can offer; for each excellentniche player, opportunity exists—and not just on a national level. In light of border-crossingsales, good times have come for providers and fund initiators.Excursion: Optimizing Potentials and Similarities: Asset ManagementCompanies, Consulates, and Economic ChambersThe primary goal of conferences or symposiums is the exchange of ideas within the industry, andideally, this includes the chance to make business connections. Yet, this depends on the actualnumber of investors at the event. The typical event structure often reflects the settings found atevents organized by consulates or economic chambers: they bring people together through acommon topic. These institutions also want to foster business connections, but know the format’s
3limitations due to resources. In the end, one can lead a horse to water, but one can’t make it drink.Focused approaches to establish contact typically occur through classic sales activities or throughbringing suitable providers in.OutlookThere are interesting national and international event formats that are credible. Obviously, manyasset management companies evaluate the efficiency of event sponsorship. In addition toconferences, this also holds true for special event formats (road shows, investor conferences).However, what seems really important is that there is no “best conference” format; the productivecompetition among event organizers promises positive change. Valuable though is the clearpositioning of the individual formats: industry meets industry, industry meets investor, or acombination of both. A good event should positively contrast from the sort of event about whichcritics sometimes rightfully say: This event is only about a hairdresser who wants to sell a haircutto another hairdresser!PS:http://de.slideshare.net/MarkusHill/fund-forummonacopanelinputideas10062013http://de.slideshare.net/MarkusHill/asset-managementconferencesmorehunterthangame27052013Feedback, additional thoughts, experience or any kind of dialogue on such context is most welcome; pleasecontact firstname.lastname@example.org or Mary Daute (Asst. Manager). Phone: + 49 17 66 33 66 094Markus HillMarkus Hill (MSc in Economics) is an independent asset management consultant based in Frankfurt, GermanyProfessional experience includes SEB Bank and Credit Suisse Asset Management. In addition, he worked as head ofsales and PR for a German fund boutique. Since 2005 he specialized in the management of mandates, sales,marketing, and PR (consulting, "introducing"). Markus is also involved in selecting themes in the specialist areas oftarget funds with a multi-management aspect, fund boutiques and mutual funds for institutional investors (productscouting, fund selection). Furthermore he is actively engaged in cooperation with the market-leading Private LabelFunds/Master KAG in Germany (Universal-Investment) promoting the idea of independent asset management andwas the Co-Initiator of the first all-German Consultant survey in 2005 and the first "UCITS-survey" in 2003. Marketentry into Germany, behavior of fund selectors and fund providers in German asset management industry are oftendiscussed by him, e.g. in his asset-management-publication MH-Focus. Through many articles, columns andpresentations (national and international) he has become a highly recognized expert in the German asset managementindustry. "Industry multiplier" is a term often used by journalists and clients to describe his style and personality.(Markus Hill/ MH Services assigned in the role of Media Partner for: UCITS Alternatives Conference inZürich, September 2011)Markus Hill MH Servicesemail: email@example.com: www.markus-hill.comphone: 0049 (0) 69 280 714 mobile: 0049 (0) 163 4616 179