Asset Managers 'Struggle to Meet Client Service Needs'

Asset management staff admit that client service is in need of improvement in a survey by BackBay Communications and OsneyMedia.

Asset managers don’t focus enough on the needs of their investors—according to a survey of senior asset management employees.

Respondents gave a damning review to their own firms and sector and called for a more client-centric approach across the board, a study conducted by BackBay Communications and OsneyMedia found.

Currently, 20% of senior employees surveyed said their firm often misses out on or loses business because their products don’t meet investor needs. For example, 15% said client reports are not very well tailored to investor needs. Only 22% said client reports met the needs of investors “very well.” Marketing materials also lacked sufficient relevance to clients, according to 20% of respondents.

As one respondent explained, “client service is at the heart of everything” asset managers do—and therefore should be emphasized more at asset management firms.

Many of those surveyed believed better use of data and technology could improve their firm’s overall performance. Nearly one in five said they frequently miss out on or lose business because their firm’s technology didn’t meet investor demands. Insufficient use of data was cited by 27% as a reason for often losing or missing out on business.

According to one respondent, technological disruption in asset management is “definitely a strategic opportunity for the visionaries”—but they admitted their own firm was “absolutely not” ready for technological change.

As for data, 31% said it was not being used well, if at all. Though 91% of firms surveyed had introduced, or planned to introduce, a data governance framework to improve the availability and use of data across the organization, 26% of respondents said they didn’t believe senior management sufficiently recognized the value of data as an asset.

“This survey highlights some good practices but there’s room for improvement through closer collaboration and communication between departments, a great client focus, and better use of data throughout the organization,” said Bill Haynes, Backbay’s CEO and founder. “There’s a feeling among a significant number of respondents that senior management could do a better job of effecting that change and that they really need to lead by example.”

Related: A Five-Year Plan For Asset Managers & PwC: Returns Not Enough for Success In Asset Management