BlackRock crowned top brand for third year running. BlackRock continues its reign as European asset management’s leading brand for the third consecutive year, according to cross-border brand analysis in the latest Fund Buyer Focus “Fund Brand 50” report. The brand rankings are based on interviews with 920 wholesale fund buyers across 10 European markets.
Rising up the rankings to take second and third positions are JPMorgan and Fidelity. The presence of these three giants at the top of the leader-board coincides with the early signs of recovery amongst mainstream retail investors who are clients of the large guided architecture banks. Fund selectors who define the buy lists for their organisations often have global or pan-European reach. They require huge commitment from their suppliers, not only to deliver product breadth and depth but also high standards of sales and marketing support in all the countries in which they operate.
“In an environment of shrinking preferred-partner relationships these large retail fund selectors are looking for one-stop shops that offer both convenience and the comfort of scale” commented Diana Mackay, Publisher of Fund Brand 50. But, she added, “It is a fiercely competitive arena where everyone is fighting hard for distributors’ attention. It is also one where innovation and skilful marketing solutions can allow smaller groups to find room at the top”.
Rising fast in the top ten are M&G and Aberdeen, as predicted in last year’s report. Both groups invested in raising brand awareness across key European markets and, although changing product appetite affected these groups in different ways, they both moved up three places in the rankings.
It was also a good year for boutiques with two of them leaping straight into the main FB50 rankings from last year’s positioning in the boutique tables. French specialist Financière de l’Echiquier (ranked 26th), and US bond house, Muzinich (ranked 44th), were both voted into the main cross-border brand table having developed a product range and cross-border recognition that brought them into the mainstream. Amongst those groups that qualified as boutique brands, Alken was the top ranked group, followed by the popular German manager, Ethenea.
This year’s FB50 rankings additionally offered proof of the attractions of the multi-boutique approach; Legg Mason was the fastest mover in the table, jumping 12 places. “With regulatory pressures building, these multi-layered propositions give fund buyers access to specialist investment capability but with the stable infrastructure of a large provider”, explains Mackay. “Today’s selectors are placing much greater emphasis on stability in terms of investment process as well as at the corporate level, and this applies to boutiques as well as the larger generalist providers”.