Building global brand awareness
According to Steven Luk, a partner at FountainCap, the firm turned to eVestment in 2019 in an effort to build its brand globally. “Our product had delivered consistent and competitive performance in the China Equity universe, but it was a challenge to get our brand extensively known in international market. We wanted to invest in building our brand and get our product seen and searched by institutional investors globally. With eVestment Omni, we know our strategy is included in the databases investors and allocators rely on to source managers.”
Through the process of reporting data and then analyzing Omni’s Screening Summary, which tracks the activity of investors and consultants, FountainCap was able to understand what data was most important to provide, which in turn increased the number of screens the firm was included in. “Really understanding what investors and allocators are screening when they research managers helped us improve our database marketing strategy and ensure we’re providing the data that’s most important. The Omni team was very helpful in pointing out data that was missing from our profile and how it was affecting viewership of our product,” explained Luk. “Before we engaged eVestment, we were a boutique manager, but now we are consistently among the top 10 most screened managers in the China Equity universe. This is a strong validation of our global brand visibility.”
FountainCap Research and Investment is a single-strategy manager with USD $1.7B in AUM. The firm’s All Cap All China long-only strategy predominately invests in Chinese publicly traded companies and to a lesser extent, non-Chinese publicly traded companies whose main business benefits significantly from China. The fund was incepted in 2015, and it has a master-feeder structure for onshore (US taxable investors) and offshore investors. With consistent performance and recognition from organizations like The Asset, one of Asia’s most influential financial magazines, FountainCap has been well positioned to compete for institutional assets globally.
“Before we engaged eVestment, we were a boutique manager, but now we are consistently among the top 10 most screened managers in the China Equity universe. This is a strong validation of our global brand visibility.”
Conducting competitive research
In addition to establishing a database presence and getting insight into what investors are looking for, FountainCap was also determined to understand emerging trends in the markets the firm operates in. “Whether that’s asset flows or holdings in the wider universe or details on our peers, we wanted a data source that would support our business development efforts,” said Luk. “As a globally trusted name in the institutional space that could provide all of this, eVestment was the obvious choice for us.” Importantly, FountainCap sees competitive research as an ongoing process, what Luk describes as “a journey that any manager needs to go through, if they’re serious about establishing themselves in front of institutional investors. The way I look at it is, the sooner you do it, the more it will pay off down the road.”
For FountainCap, Market Lens has been especially helpful, providing insights into how public plans in the U.S., U.K. and Australia view China and what they’re looking for in a China-focused manager, in addition to the peer benchmarking the firm conducts with eVestment Analytics.
FountainCap first learned of the mandate opportunity with the Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, one of the largest public pension pools in the U.K. with over GBP 45B, from the Market Lens team at eVestment.
“During the RFP and pitch process, we extensively used eVestment to benchmark our performance and conduct peer comparisons to position our product. Obviously, the consistent performance of our equity strategy was fundamental to winning this mandate, but data and analytics from eVestment were very important to our success,” said Luk. “The fact that I had been using eVestment for the past year meant that I had an accumulation of data that helped us respond to this mandate and ultimately win it.”
FountainCap competed with 50 China-focused managers for this public tender, many of which were large and long-established firms. Its success is more evidence that even single-product managers can compete for assets globally with strong performance and competitive intelligence from eVestment.