Unlocking Real Value Blog

Getting The Edge On Other Managers

I am speaking this week at the Investment Management Institute’s Consultants Congress in San Francisco. The topic is “Getting The Edge On Other Managers.” With so many thousands of investment managers to choose from, it’s important for managers to develop trusting relationships with consultants – as they are often the gatekeepers who control access to institutional clients. In many ways, developing a relationship with a manager is similar to trying to get new clients – just like you try and find out as much as you can about prospects, and tailor your presentations to them, the same is true for consultants.

I have broken the process into two pieces – when you are reaching out to the consultant to introduce yourself and your firm, and what to do when you have actually been able to get a meeting with them.

Reaching Out

  • Do your research upfront and find out as much about the consultant as possible. Tailor your approach to match.
  • Highlight your Value Proposition/Mission Statement. Answer the question: All things being equal, why should your firm be considered?
  • Focus on your firm’s strengths and don’t compare yourself to the competition. That’s not your job, and will make you look bad.
  • Highlight your capabilities above and beyond managing money – educational programs, thought leadership, etc.
  • Ask about their preferred method and frequency of contact.

Meeting With The Consultant

  • Bring the right people to the presentation, including those people that will be interacting with prospects/clients.
  • Describe your overall business philosophy– talk about profitability, resource prioritization, distribution, etc.  How are you retaining key talent? What changes have you made over the past 12 months?
  • Describe any process adjustments that you made in reaction to the 2008 financial crisis. Were these changes permanent or temporary?
  • Explain any unusual fluctuation in AUM. Differentiate between market losses and client terminations. Explain how you’re adapting to the uncertain and changing regulatory environment. Focus on transparency.
  • Be humble – but confidently ask for the business!

You probably what was missing in the bullet points – a discussion of your performance. There are lots of great performing managers out there – in every asset class. It is often the intangibles that will help you stick out more.

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