Is asset management about to be disrupted – the way so many other sectors have been in the past few years?
Actually, disruption is nothing new. It may be a current buzzword, but it’s been going on for decades across all sectors.
In the 1940s and 1950s, for example, the mass entertainment sector was disrupted by the rise of TV, at the expense of cinema. Hollywood ignored the threat – declining the chance to embrace and dominate television. And it got left behind as a result.
Fast forward sixty years and you see this pattern repeating itself everywhere – Amazon is leaving high street retail in its wake, streaming services are eating away at traditional TV channels, and AirBnB has almost spelt the end for travel agents.
So, it would be foolish to think that asset management is safe from disruption. In some form or another, it is coming.
We are already seeing the banking sector being disrupted. A new breed of challenger banks – Starling, Atom Bank, Monzo etc – have arrived, and are unencumbered by the bad reputation that’s enveloped the big players since 2008. They are, rightly or wrongly, more trusted – and are appealing to millennials through easy to use, digital banking systems. As a result, they are making serious inroads into a sector once dominated by a handful of major names.
Monzo et al could also be destined to disrupt the investment sector, through their user-friendly business model. Just as with banking, they are free from the distrust that surrounds so many existing providers.
So, how do you face this challenge?
To an extent this comes down to an intangible asset – the power of your brand. Make this stand out in a positive way and you will rise above your new competition.
Brand power is crucial. This is how John Lewis, despite its recent wobbles, continues to hold firm in the rapidly changing retail sector. Because people know and trust the brand.
Similarly, the worth of a huge technology company – such as Apple or Google – is down to its brand. Their value is almost entirely based on the trust the buying public has in them. Obviously the quality of the product is vital to this, but clever marketing builds on this to boost the brand.
And marketing also has massive a role to play in brand building and perception in asset management. Of course you must concentrate on quality and performance But clever messaging, which goes beyond generic emails sent out to all and sundry, is the way to connect with a multi-generational audience with many different beliefs and priorities.
And by using digital platforms to create unique client journeys, where people are receiving useful messages that are both relevant to their own situation and designed to help – rather than just sell – then you can build an investor base that understands and is loyal to your brand.
Paul Das, Founder and Managing Director, ProFundCom
Starting the business in 2003, Paul wanted to fulfil a vision to provide digital engagement analytics that would directly benefit sales and marketing processes in financial institutions. This has lead to ProFundCom being totally focused on helping the financial services industry use digital marketing to raise AuM.