The competitive world of portfolio management companies

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Portfolio management companies are generally directed towards private clients. But in a very competitive environment, they have the need to win over another customer base: the institutional market. The number of portfolio management companies (PMS) has increased significantly in recent years, and they must therefore fight to acquire clients as much as they do for fidéliser This is mainly due to a greater outsourcing of certain functions: the major banks and insurance companies no longer have a monopoly on private management. While partner networks are important channels for distributing funds, such as through life insurance, independent management companies represent an important market share. The “family offices”, intended for wealthy families wishing to make fructifier their assets, constitute a large part of the activity of portfolio management companies. However, these families most of the time already have placements under management mandate. So how do we win new customers? In the very closed world of GSP, it is mainly word of mouth that makes it possible to make oneself known and to attract the attention of investors. Brand visibility is important, both for individual and institutional clients. Performance is often still a criterion of choice, and asset management companies must constantly increase their assets under management. Some do prospecting by phone, contacting potential investors directly, but this is still a little method efficace. Consulting missions are also a bridge to private management, and more specifically asset management on behalf of third parties. Some asset management companies play on transparency, in the face of competitors whose calculation of management fees is more opaque. Also, taking control of the allocation of investments made by others can be complex, as there are as many management methods as there are portfolio management companies. In a competitive market environment, the most modest GSPs must make the most of it, by making the difference against the mastodons of the profession. In addition, insurers, pension funds and companies are prime targets. But are they still accessible? Although it is the same activity, the way of dealing with private clients, or with institutional investors, is not the same. Thus, institutional investors generally have more precise requests concerning the allocation of their assets, but private clients are often more attentive to the performance and costs generated, especially if they feel they have been floués by other institutions. The objective of the SGPs is therefore as much the diversification of their portfolio as that of their customers. However, if they are looking for institutional clients, they may find themselves confronted with ratio limits: for example, institutional investors can only represent 10 to 20% of the assets under management of an open fund. With declining margins and rising costs, it is not easy to find the right balance, and thus maintain the critical size to survive in the markets. Enfin, the ECB’s interest rate policy should have an impact on asset management, with net asset values decreasing as rates rise. Investors, always looking for high

remunerations, gradually withdraw from products with lower yields. The quest for performance no longer exists suffit, and to stay in the race, GSPs will have to be innovative, afin to offer attractive products exposed to moderate risks.

Marion MEYER

Marion MEYER

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