Expert: Jasper Berens, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Facilitator: Ralph Jackson


Key message

It is no longer about the quantity more about the quality of relationship. Understanding your end customers and what makes them tick is now a critical component to your success.

How well do you understand the end customer and their motivations? Are you connecting with your customers beyond transactions and building true engagement?


  • Retail value chain - issue we all face together. Where are we in this value chain: If you lose sight of the end consumer, the price is only going to go down because perceived value will become less and less and less.
  • When we say collective engagement with whom are we engaging, what is it and what is our value. Asset managers need to look at how we describe our value. 
  • Real question is who should we engage with? Is it equipping the advisers to better engage with the end investor? Huge challenges in going D2C.
  • Increasingly more retail focused.  Direct investors targeted either directly or indirectly – can buy our product themselves on platforms.
  • Increasing consolidation and fewer decision makers. Large IFAs becoming discretionary, informal networks and morphing into Wealth Managers. Process for due diligence is key i.e. use of 3rd party influencers.
  • UK investment market is incredibly competitive. Manufacturers increasingly looking at how they can control value as fee pressure increases.
  • As an industry we don’t hold ourselves to a high enough standard.
  • Terminology and language around investment needs to change. The industry is elitist.
  • Asset Management can benefit from learning and delivering better outcomes.
  • People don’t dare to innovate e.g. banks have all the consumer data but they don’t dare to tell them what to do.
  • Overall it was felt there was a bigger problem around FS products simply being intangible to most people to be able to connect/build engagement.
  • Need to carefully consider the customer journey and the touch points they have with ‘us’ and others.
  • While language needs to change there needs to be a bigger shift around product innovation and designing products that customers understand and which will meet their needs.

Challenges and opportunities:

  • What drives client engagement?
  • Vertical integration of the large platforms is a real threat to the market.  They have been buying IFA distribution and in some cases networks. The platforms are manufacturers and control the message at point of sale.
  • What do we mean by engagement? - Is engagement being involved, participating and/or sharing?
  • We need to better understand how people want to engage – intermediaries or end investor e.g. Millennial’s use social media to research investment decisions.
  • MIFID II teething problems - will present challenges for the industry.
  • Investors are more confident when they have an adviser. What does this mean for companies?
  • Hargreaves Lansdown is a good example of how to engage effectively. Their proactive engagement means their clients know what they think, their views and see them as experts. They are expensive but people don’t care as they are perceived to be worth it.
  • Companies have issues over providing content for the end investors - do consumers see content as guidance? 
  • Pressure from passive on active is changing the active industry - low risk funds are going to disappear, really high conviction products are going to be the way forward.
  • Know your customer – how are you using data?
  • Millennial community - technology could enable engagement with them. What is the benefit of engaging for the consumer? How much engagement do you want?
  • Blame is the biggest problem stopping companies from innovating and revolutionising product development. Investors need a sand box to play in to test innovation. Need more flexibility to engage product. 
  • Collective action! No point creating something for 2018 – create for 2020/22.