Marquette Associates Case Study

Firm Profile: Investment Consultant

Product: Analytics

Marquette Associates is an independent consulting firm that has served the institutional investing space since 1986. Kelli Schrade is the Director of Manager Research, Managing Partner at Marquette and has been a power user of eVestment for over ten years. “I’m in eVestment probably every day. If I get a call or an email from someone, I’ll immediately go to eVestment to look up their details.”

Getting a ‘Sense’ of a Manager

Schrade said she uses eVestment to compare managers against their peers. “A manager’s pitch deck will put themselves
in the best light possible, as it should,” she said. “What I am looking for in eVestment is relative performance and how that ranks against their peers. Very rarely do managers include peer data in their own presentation books.”

“I want to make sure the manager checks a couple boxes before I continue the conversation, primarily because I don’t want to waste their time.” As an example, Schrade said, “Let’s say a manager’s separate account minimum is $100 million. Well, we don’t really get a lot of $100 million searches, so that’s probably not going to fit very well with us as a mid-sized consultant. To get a sense of who a manager is, I’ll go straight to eVestment.”

Schrade said that ownership information and firm structure is very important. “We’re looking for an understanding of a firm’s culture, a firm’s incentives, how they retain their employees. eVestment has very robust information on ownership structures that is very comprehensive and super helpful for us. Our clients like to know who they are investing with. Does the PM have skin in the game? Are they compensated through stock options?”

“Knowing how the business is structured can usually help us understand a firm’s culture right off the bat. eVestment has that information in excruciating detail. A lot of firms are privately held and that information is in eVestment only. Anyone can have performance data – that is not the difficult part. The underlying details is what we like to get.”

Narrowing Down Options

“One of our requirements is that, on the traditional side specifically, a manager has to be in eVestment before we’ll even look at them,” Schrade said. “If they are serious about being a part of this community, they need to be in eVestment. There are certain standards that we want to see and being in eVestment is one of them.”

“eVestment is our resource for a lot of information we don’t collect on our own. For example, when I’m trying to put together search candidates, I’ll use eVestment as my fact checker to make sure I have all the correct information.”

Schrade added that it wasn’t enough for managers to simply fill out performance data. “One time I had a manager that was trying to get our attention. I went into eVestment and all they had filled out was performance. No assets, no narrative, no PM background. I told the manager they had to put this stuff in the database. They had 10 seconds to get my attention and they failed. I think that, for managers in particular, eVestment is a way for them to put their best foot forward and to really think, if I were in front of the consultant, what would I want them to see?”

She continued, “You have to have a solid database to conduct proper research and to sort through the choices. You don’t want to just go on word-of-mouth.”

Marquette continues to use RFIs, but only sends to a targeted list. “A lot of those questions are around compliance issues, full disaster recovery plans, audits, that sort of thing. It’s pretty comprehensive. So if I am going to send that out, it’s to someone who has already passed basic screens in eVestment versus just sending them blindly. We likely already have something in process with that manager.”

Ease of Use

Schrade said she has never had any trouble using eVestment. “It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I think eVestment is very easy to use and is very comprehensive. If I want to know about the institutional investment community, this is where you go.”

She likes that there are certain “prepackaged” options to output information. “Fast Facts is one of my most used items. If I want to print something out, that page is a good snapshot of a product. Also in the reporting section, eVestment has all sorts of pre-populated choices for me. Of course, I can also build whatever I want, because the customization is there, but good template options are included.”

“We’re looking for an understanding of a firm’s culture. eVestment has very robust information on ownership structures that is very comprehensive and super helpful for us. Our clients like to know who they are investing with.”

Kelli Schrade
Director of Manager Research & Managing Partner

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