Greenwich Associates has released the first in a series of reports dedicated to helping asset management organisations increase operational effectiveness and efficiency.
The recommendations presented in the competitive challenges best practice series are based on the results of the annual competitive challenges benchmarking survey and Greenwich Associates' annual research among thousands of institutional investment management clients around the world. Through its annual study, competitive challenges compiles the industry's most detailed and comprehensive information on the operations and performance of asset management organisations. Through Greenwich Associates' annual research programs, institutional investors identify and evaluate the performance of their asset managers.
By comparing these two data sets, the competitive challenges team is able to identify best in class asset managers that deliver superior performance and service quality to their clients while spending less than their peers. As Greenwich Associates consultant Rodger Smith explains, "The competitive challenges best practices represent the operational structures and techniques common to these best in class firms that allow them to achieve superior levels of productivity and efficiency."
The first instalment of the competitive challenges best practice series is dedicated to asset management client service. Subsequent reports will focus on sales, marketing and other functions.
The inaugural report presents a series of best practices centred on the principle that, as the investment management industry enters into a period of slower asset growth, asset retention and cross-selling capabilities are becoming critical competencies for managers. Since client service sits at the centre of both efforts, asset management organisations must elevate the quality of their client service functions. The report presents eight best practices, the first being that best in class asset management firms should adopt client-focused business models geared to generating innovative ideas across products and functions.
Secondly, best in class firms would support client service professionals with IT systems that capture relevant client data across all products, functions and interactions. Thirdly, best in class firms should hire young people who are passionate about investing and groom them into client service professionals.
The fourth point is that best in class firms must regard client service professionals as equals with their peers in investment and sales and fifth, best in class firms would directly reward employees throughout the organisation for collaboration across products and functions. Sixth, best in class firms should provide client service professionals with a clear career path and prospects for advancement into the ranks of senior management.
The seventh point states that best in class firms ought to challenge client service professionals regularly to raise internal standards to a higher and increasingly strategic level. Point eight denotes that best in class firms must realise that the success of cross-selling efforts is determined by the quality and preparedness of client service staff.
"Organisations that elevate client services to a strategic level through these best practices and other steps derive a clear competitive advantage," says Greenwich Associates consultant Andrew Klebanow. "They keep clients close even when they are not in the process of selling a specific product."