Professional gatekeepers are now a fact of life that investment managers have to live with. This doesn't mean they have stopped trying to get around them, though. The September edition of the Cerulli
"U.S. Asset Management Edge" addresses this problem and offers some tips for stealing the gatekeeper's keys.
Cerulli talked to investment managers to see what was their greatest source of frustration with the pro buyers. Number one on that list was unwillingness to look beyond brand, or the usual suspects, with 70 percent of managers frustrated by this. Each being a concern among 45 percent of investment manager were; closed doors/elusiveness; turnover of contacts; and "bridesmaid syndrome", the constant filling out of RFPs without ever being selected.
One thing Cerulli said really irks managers is the amount of turnover among the gatekeepers, the very people who constantly get on their backs about portfolio manager turnover. The irony here is that many gatekeepers are not compensated very well (no, a well placed bribe is unlikely to work), so they often leave for positions that that are more lucrative, like, say, portfolio manger.
Identifying a back-up and the person to whom the buyer reports may come in handy if your contact suddenly disappears, according to Cerulli. Also recommended is making non-research contacts within the professional buyer, such as the head of client service or even the president of a division.
Now that you know who to talk to, how do you get them to choose the products you have to offer? As many fund have good performance, this may not work as a good distinguishing technique. Cerulli suggests "focusing on why the investment process is superior or is applicable, the firm's history of low turnover."
So what do the pros want from you, the investment manager? Well, you could start with consistency. Seventy-five percent of gatekeepers expect performance to be consistent with the manager's objective and style. Also, 91 percent point to performance as the biggest deliverable.
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