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Marketing and communications professionals operating in the asset management space are facing a dual challenge: not only is the industry undergoing profound changes, but so is the way in which they communicate with their audiences.

The asset management industry is being reshaped by a series of fundamental shifts spanning regulation (MiFID II, MiFIR et al), geopolitics (yes, Brexit!) and the digital revolution.

Brexit, in particular, is playing on the industry’s collective mind. Many firms are in the process of opening new EU hubs in which to conduct their European business. UK asset managers are having plenty of sleepless nights about the potential loss of talent to rival financial centres.

Whilst the notion of London losing its status as Europe’s financial hub may be a little overblown, the movement of talent is likely to have an impact. There are also widespread concerns about the City’s diminished appeal as a gateway for non-EU investors and lower inward investment as foreign firms cut back on spending plans.

Communication is key

Research conducted for Cognito’s Communications and Marketing Survey 2017-18 highlighted that 80% of marcomms professionals working in the asset management space believe that the new raft of industry regulation and Brexit are increasingly important considerations. And 70% have concerns about the prospects for sustainability and the circular economy in a world impacted by nation-first politics.

This isn’t surprising. Such profound changes require clear and consistent communication to stakeholders. Content and messaging is king in terms of allaying fears and promoting understanding regarding the big issues.

For example, there will be rising costs that need to be fully understood. The costs associated with compliance and relocation are considerable, and cost pressures will further tighten as asset managers grow their distribution networks in response to an evolving world.

Further investment in technology and data will also be crucial to leveraging new opportunities and managing new reporting requirements.

Technology is your friend

Whilst considering what the asset management landscape will look like in 2020, PwC asserted that technology will become ‘mission critical’ to driving customer engagement, data mining for information on clients and prospects, operational efficiency and regulatory reporting. Interestingly, they also stated that by 2020 most global asset managers will have a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) or similar role.

They also predicted full transparency over investment activity and products at all levels. There will be nowhere for non-compliant managers to hide as regulatory and tax reciprocal rights further connect the global community. Regulators will have real-time access to portfolios, cross-referenced to market data. 

The emergence of robo-advisors, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), is also shaking up the asset management industry. Firms around the world are beginning to use machine learning, a subset of AI that focuses on giving computers the ability to learn, to come up with new investment ideas.

Technology, data and analytics will also play an increasingly prominent role in marketing activities moving forward, though the water is being muddied by the demands of GDPR.

Practitioners in the asset management industry are aware of this. According to Cognito’s research, 83% worry about adapting to new technologies whilst 93% believe that marketing automation will have an impact on their work.

LinkedIn steps up to the plate

It’s time for marcomms professionals to harness the latest tools and strategies to get ahead.

The good news is that platforms, such as LinkedIn, are beginning to recognise the unique compliance challenges faced by asset managers. They are offering solutions that align with compliance requirements. So social media is no longer a prohibited area - and social selling is possible.

Cognito’s study showed that 86% saw LinkedIn as now being much more important. Over the last 12 months we have seen an increased appetite for paid LinkedIn campaigns, with more teams looking to capitalise on the channel’s ever-improving targeting capabilities.

By working with the right partner, you can identify opportunities amidst the turmoil.  Let’s cut out those sleepless nights.