Mood of the month

Fairly optimistic
The European fund buyer’s mood index after having dropped on 60.8 points (in July was navigating on 62.1 points) in August lightly rebounded reaching 61.8 points in September. The general downtrend kept being driven by UK, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium where less of 40% of the interviewed fund selectors declared to be optimistic over the next 12 months. On the other hand Spain and Germany managed to offset the general negative mood with over 65% of optimistic and very optimistic fund buyers in September.

Distributor commentary

For the week ending 5th January 2018
  • “The most important drivers are MiFID, the competition between active and passive products as well as costs and performance. We try to accommodate our customers’ requests and be creative when it comes to products. The share of our own funds will continue to grow where we need to be creative. I am thinking of robotics, total return products or market-neutral strategies for capital preservation, with decent prices at that. Transparency is also becoming increasingly important. I would like to see industry standards which apply to cost breakdowns – ETFs must also become more transparent.”

    Drivers of change
    Switzerland, Private client portfolios - Discretionary
  • “Within three years, there could be a severe stock market correction. Investment firms should therefore protect funds. It would be good to start this now and not wait until the market has slumped. The more the market rises, the more it would be reasonable to find solutions to protect our clients, via very defensive or even completely protected funds.”

    Drivers of change
    France, Private client portfolios - Discretionary
  • “There is currently no way to achieve returns without taking risks. Guaranteed and property funds, which used to cover this segment, got badly burned because they were heading into liquidity traps. No one touches them any longer and regulations put the brakes on property funds even more.”

    Product innovation requirements
    Germany, Independent financial advice / Intermediary services
  • “It seems to me that there is a strengthening of certain product trends including a growing incidence of various types of ethical funds, and products that focus on particular sectors and niche areas (demographic change, on clean energy, and on innovative technologies such as electric cars). At present those, seemingly, are the only fund types that can generate any worthwhile margin of return.”

    Innovative behaviour in fund industry
    Italy, Private client portfolios - Advisory
  • “We are increasingly moving towards illiquid, private equity products. In terms of ETF providers, we are seeing fewer index trackers and more active management but based on, for example, factorial approaches.”

    Innovative behaviour in fund industry
    France, Funds of funds management
  • “There have been some innovations in the guaranteed fund sector. I have noticed Canada Life in a positive light. They offer a guaranteed fund model with 50% equities. In my view, that is innovative as they are the only ones to offer such a product.”

    Innovative behaviour in fund industry
    Germany, Insurance - including unit-linked products

Marketing matters

11 January 2018
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By Fiona Maciver

As the demand for greater transparency has intensified across the fund industry, the role of marketing has become more pivotal to asset managers’ distribution success. Several providers have struck a chord with fund buyers when it comes to marketing and communications competencies, understanding what matters most to distributors, including the growing requirement for a more personalised approach.

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Fund Buyer Focus offers reporting and consulting services which provide third party retail fund suppliers with detailed information about how the major fund distributors perceive them and how this perception translates into business.

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