Finding the time to meet

The Lens recently visited the fund management industry’s largest annual conference, FundForum International, which took place in Copenhagen.

A highlight was when a panel of investors was pitted against a panel of asset managers, both explaining their experiences with each other.

Here’s what the Lens noted.

Investors said that the reporting they received from fund managers is not “fluid” enough. As for data, they’d prefer to get it quicker rather than prettier. Managers spend too much time faffing around with it. Don’t waste time with aesthetics, they say.

A source of frustration for investors is with firms failing to provide a single point of contact, and investors also felt disappointed at times when they were met with product specialists and not by the portfolio managers.

A multi-national pension scheme on the panel said they saw value in video updates and in half-page quarterlies. But these would ideally be in various languages so that end users of the scheme could understand the communications.

The investors had a message for pushy managers, too. When a manager is turned down for a visit, please understand that no means no and don’t continue to bombard the scheme with emails!

So, what did managers say about dealing with investors? Just one main thing took our attention.

Investors need to be transparent with their needs because sometimes when a manager has excellent performance and fees are fair, the asset manager may nevertheless be turned down for a brief on the basis that they are not quite the right fit.

A panellist said this could be down to complementarity – i.e., the client already has a manager on the roster doing something similar.

Perhaps if investors were more specific in their requirement, or so the Lens feels, it would cut down on the onerous amount of time that asset managers spend in RFP-ing and beauty parading.

And what could this mean in turn?

It’d mean portfolio managers might find more time to meet with investors. So there’s a nice solution, then.