BRUIN’s Sales and Marketing team have had an interesting start to the year, as firms began to implement their Brexit changes, substantial team restructuring took place and a number of new trends emerged in the industry.
One trend that has gathered increasing momentum over the past quarter is maintaining trust amidst digital growth in AI, particularly around consumer demand for personalised products and services in exchange for their data when it comes to investment advice. The most common AI uses in the sector are sentiment analysis for marketing, personal finance virtual agents and financial and advisory virtual agents. But the next-generation or machine-learning bots are algorithms that can learn from customer data without relying on rules-based programming; and the larger banks are now starting to explore integrated biometrics on a much wider scale.
There has also been a lot of change within the European market over the last quarter. With the imminent approach of Brexit, there has been notable growth in distribution focused roles, as well as an increased demand for European language skills and familiarity with the European regulatory environment.
In addition, The European Commission have proposed new rules to promote alternative sources of finance and remove barriers to cross-border investments. This will affect all asset managers regulated in Europe and aims to ensure better monitoring of investment funds. In turn, we anticipate that this will increase distribution within the UK and mainland Europe.
ETF products are growing substantially and we are increasingly seeing roles specialising in these asset classes. A recent article in the FT reported that ETFs are growing 40% year on year, with more than 30 companies launching their ETFs in 2017. The growth of this product means there is an increasing need for distribution efforts, with marketing and sales working together for promotion and distribution.
As asset managers focus more on the mainland European market, French, German, Dutch and Italian speakers are becoming highly sought after in the UK to support European teams and manage those internal and external relationships.
Asset Managers are also hiring more in the content production and editorial space, and are increasingly open to candidates from backgrounds outside of financial services, with previous experience in journalism or from agency among the most common.
Linking back to the current developments within the technology space, candidates with CMS, CRM and email automation experience highly sought after. Another area of demand is UX and UI within the direct and retail markets, in a bid to boost employee engagement.
We are continuing to see a rise in roles in Dublin, Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg City along with newer European markets such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Malta and Milan which we anticipate will continue. Our expectation is that we will see a growing number of marketing and distribution hires across these broader European markets, and a corresponding need for candidates who speak relevant languages such as Dutch or Danish.
In 2017 the level of mergers and acquisitions hit its highest in eight years with the total amount of deals reaching nearly $50bn. Now, over 40% of asset managers are planning M&A or strategic alliances for 2018 in a bid to offer a more diverse product range, enter new markets and increase scale.
M&As is happening on a larger scale, with big groups taking stakes in various boutiques. This is with an aim to increase their operations resources and distribution channels, whilst continuing to specialise in niche areas. This could have a direct impact on marketing teams who will need to build the new brand and on sales teams with responsibility for growing revenue for the combined business.
Last year we saw a growth in senior marketing hires within asset management firms, which should have an impact on 2018’s capital raising efforts. We expect the industry will continue to build out their marketing teams to support distribution staff and increase revenue. Closer collaboration between Sales & Marketing teams are expected to become a focus over the next few months to ensure they have the strength to grow.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
There have been a number of senior hires within both Sales and Marketing this quarter. Within the distribution space Caroline Baron has moved from Invesco PowerShares to Franklin Templeton as their new Head of ETF Sales for the EMEA region. Stephanie Carbonneil moved from Schroders to Amundi as their Head of Third Party Distribution for the UK, Ireland and Greece. Lochiel Crafter, has been promoted to head up SSGA’s Global Institutional Group and is now in charge of distribution efforts worldwide.
In the marketing space, Elisa Magistrali has moved to Unigestion from Goldman Sachs and become their new Marketing Director. John Rugg, most known for his previous role at Blackrock, has moved to GAM as their new Head of UK Wholesale Marketing. Finally, Erika Arevuo has moved from Blackrock to Franklin Templeton and become the Senior Vice President of Institutional Marketing.