Firm Profile: Large Asset Management Firm
Products: Public Plan IQ
Lord Abbett is an independent, privately-held asset management firm located in Jersey City, New Jersey, which has over $140B in AUM (as of March 31, 2017). The firm has been an eVestment client since 2003 and has been using Public Plan IQ since July 2016.
eVestment spoke with Nick Allen, Tim Poulin and Jim Cockerill about their experiences using Public Plan IQ. Poulin and Allen are on the institutional sales team, and Cockerill works with consultant relations.
“Tim and I work with our sales team in their prospecting efforts as they look to book meetings, go to conferences and engage with the institutional investment community,” said Allen. “We help them with any follow-up requests, prospecting and territory management.” Poulin added, “We’re their eyes and ears on the ground.”
“On the consultant relations side, I work with our directors who manage the relationships with our consultants,” Cockerill said. “I’ll help prepare the information we want to have prior to a meeting.”
Challenges Prior to Public Plan IQ
Allen said that finding information used to be a manual, reactive process. “The information was basically inaccessible unless you already knew exactly what you were looking for,” he said. “You might never even know it existed. Public Plan IQ takes all the hassle out of finding any information we need.”
Key Uses of Public Plan IQ
Preparation in Advance of Meetings
“For example, one of our salespeople was at a conference and met the CIO of a certain plan,” Poulin said. “I looked up their current manager lineup, found out what their consultants were saying and researched their recent hires from the past year. That was all really good information that I probably wouldn’t have been able to get without Public Plan IQ.”
Allen added, “We’ll figure out their allocations, any potential changes they’re making, what their consultant is saying, how they’re speaking with their consultant and any pertinent information that comes up in board meetings. It’s a great prep tool. And it’s informed some of the decisions that we’ve made, particularly related to fees or what needs to be addressed in a meeting or in a finals presentation.”
“It’s a great way to learn more about what our competition is doing,” Cockerill said. “We’re trying to get an understanding of our competitors, whether that is through a prospect presentation or seeing how they’re connecting with certain consultants.”
“We’ve also been looking at the presentations and how they’re built,” he continued. “We want to see how they communicate certain messages to see where we might differ. We can see if there’s anything that we would want to evaluate or consider changing to see if we can build a more effective message.”
Asset Allocation Changes and Consultant Recommendations
“I used to think that every single document was relevant, but now I try to see, what does this mean for us going forward?” Poulin said.
“The best is when I see information that a consultant is recommending a plan increase a certain allocation in a coming quarter. Then that information can help guide our process for the next few months instead of just trying to go for everything that’s already out there.”
“It’s great to be able to see what searches are coming up based upon if a consultant is trimming certain asset classes, or adding to certain asset classes,” Cockerill said.
“I like to get an idea of how consultants are thinking, so we can get on the same page. I want to see what their clients’ major concerns are. I’ll see if there is a change in their manager recommendation.”
“Also, if we know a certain plan uses a certain consultant, a big thing for us is being able to identify who the field consultants are so we can make connections with them.”
Using Public Plan IQ in Conjunction with eVestment Analytics
“When there is a meeting coming up and we want to see who a plan is invested with, we will first look that up in Public Plan IQ,” Allen said. “We will then use eVestment Analytics to do analysis of those strategies versus our own, looking at characteristics, performance and risk statistics. We’ll also pull up the firm profile, which is useful for meetings.”
“When we are doing consultant research, we will see there are three or four managers that they’re currently allocated toward, or that are on their short list,” Cockerill said. “It’s definitely helpful to know what type of managers certain consultants prefer. We might not have necessarily known those managers were on the consultant’s list without being able to access the information on Public Plan IQ.”
“We will then run a competitive analysis to see how we could fit in, he said. “We’ll see how many holdings they have, where certain sectors break down, if any portfolio managers have left, and what their assets are.”
Access to Valuable Information
“I feel like if you don’t use Public Plan IQ, you run the risk of missing some pretty important things that come up,” Allen said. “You also risk not having the most up-to-date and pertinent information on hand before you go into meetings or speak to plans. I recommend it.”
“It’s a helpful one-stop-shop in terms of getting the information that you can easily check daily,” Cockerill said.
“It’s a very easy tool to use, and you get access to documents that can really help you build a competitive analysis story or just a story about how you want to market to different clients or consultants,” he said.
“Using Public Plan IQ feels like you’re getting access to information that’s not readily available anywhere else.”
“Public Plan IQ is a great way to learn more about what our competition is doing. We’re trying to get an understanding of our competitors, whether that is through a prospect presentation or seeing how they’re connecting with certain consultants.”
Jim Cockerill, Consultant Relations Analyst