Challenge: Competing for assets as a small firm with the rise of “shadow searching”
“One of the biggest issues we face as an asset manager is the rise of private search. The days of the public outcry RFP are dying very quickly. I recently asked a state fund one of the questions I always ask asset owners: ‘When you identify a need for your portfolio and are screening managers, whether doing it yourself or working with a consultant, are you publicly announcing the search – or searching databases behind the scenes?’ Almost everybody says they’re conducting private, or ‘shadow searches,’ now.”
“At public pensions in particular, if [investment committees] can prove to the pension’s legislature that they have a robust screening and vetting process to secure investment management services, then they no longer have to go through a public RFP process. That’s a big challenge for a lot of asset managers because we really haven’t – until now – known these searches were even happening.”
When this partner of investor relations first joined his firm, it was reporting performance data to eVestment, but it didn’t have an actual database marketing strategy in place to ensure it was visible when investors and consultants were shadow searching.
“I had always worked at a larger publicly-traded investment manager, where we had obviously leveraged eVestment quite heavily. It was something I took for granted.”
One of their first tasks, then, was to expand the use of eVestment to identify opportunities for winning new assets sooner.
“The amount of data and intelligence in eVestment is unbelievable. Nobody else even comes close.”
“This research gives us ideas for ways we can differentiate ourselves and better engage consultants with our unique story. It’s fantastic.”
Solution: eVestment’s intelligence platform for asset managers
As a boutique firm, they are conscientious about costs but, at the same time, strategic about investing in tools and data for raising and retaining assets.
“We’re not as well-resourced as a global firm like BlackRock so this decision was carefully considered. Today, our firm’s founder and president both fully see the power of eVestment. What sealed the deal for us was when I was at an institutional event in Boston, where Aon was presenting on how [it] approaches manager research with eVestment. I was sitting at a table with peers. I asked them, ‘Are you using eVestment?’ They both laughed: ‘We couldn’t do our jobs without it.’”
As a user, the partner finds value for their firm across the eVestment platform:
“I consult the mandates data every day, and I’ve set up email alerts to notify me of relevant screens and searches – which is fantastic because I travel quite a bit. Even with alerts I’m still in the platform on a regular basis to monitor trends in our asset class, global interest in our products, and competitors who are doing well.”
“I read a lot of documents in eVestment Market Lens for self-education – I don’t know a lot about private credit, for instance, but I’m intellectually curious so I go in the platform and to find presentations to consultants by managers on the topic. I love it when I see equity portfolios overviews or updates with state boards and retirement systems. It’s amazing to have access to a trove of documents like that.”
“I love the consultant ratings and recommendations data. I use this to get a feel for the managers consultants are focused on, then dive into their performance history and narratives. This research gives us ideas for ways we can differentiate ourselves and better engage consultants with our unique story. It’s fantastic.”
“In fact, I’m using eVestment right now for my business plan to map the institutional landscape and determine our distribution plan accordingly. I’m identifying the number of global searches for products like ours, along with the consultants leading those.”
Results: Identifying and winning opportunities sooner
“After we first started using eVestment, I ran a screen on our firm and saw us listed as a finalist for an equity mandate. We hadn’t been notified by the consultant and were able to get in front of the opportunity to build our story. We had this advantage because of eVestment, and that’s when I knew firsthand what a really powerful platform it is. I couldn’t imagine trying to market or raise funds without this.”