Asset Managers Build Global Distribution Channels

Terry Flanagan

Fund managers that want to expand globally are utilizing specialized marketing and distribution firms with knowledge of the local market, including regulations.

“If you’re running a global business, there are numerous local regulations that need to be complied with,” said Geoff Blake, director and head of business development at Kleinwort Benson Investors. “Those regulatory requirements are key factors in deciding whether to enter a new market.”

Kleinwort Benson Investors, a Dublin-based institutional asset manager with $4.3 billion in assets under management, has been utilizing Max.xs as a marketing and sales partner in German-speaking markets.

“Max.xs has local knowledge, expertise and a wide network that enables asset management product manufacturers to access markets in a targeted fashion,” said Blake. “There are nuances in each market, so it’s useful to have someone on the ground with local expertise.”

Max.xs provides asset managers with market-entry representation to institutional and retail investors throughout German-speaking Europe, which comprises mainly of Germany and Austria.

“The idea is to provide asset management firms with a fully-fledged branch office in German-speaking Europe,” said Dr. Oliver Roll, managing director at Max.xs, where he is responsible for the company’s portfolio management and institutional business and works with clients, including Rothschild as well as Kleinwort Benson Investors.

“There isn’t a direct correlation between the success of a fund in a company’s home market and whether that will be successful in a different market,” said Roll. “In Europe, there are 45,000 funds available, so it’s necessary to find something that European investors will see as valuable.”

Kleinwort Benson Investors manages specialist strategies for public and corporate pension schemes, sub-advisory investors and foundations/endowments. Investment services are offered on both a segregated and unitized basis.

It has particular expertise in dividend investing and environmental equity investing.
Each strategy is managed by specialist teams with investment autonomy and operational independence.

“The way that we manage the dividend strategy is quite unique in that we look for characteristics in terms of total return, with income being a key component,” said Blake at Kleinwort Benson Investors.

Kleinwort Benson Investors was one of the first investment firms globally to launch separate water and renewable energy funds, a product line-up that now includes agribusiness and cleaner solutions.

“Our environmental strategy is built around the belief that we will see an increased demand for food, energy and water over the next 20 years,” Blake said.

Using Max.xs as a marketing and sales partner in the German and Austrian market allows Kleinwort Benson Investors to gain access to these markets in a cost-efficient and effective manner.

“When we look at the asset management industry, there is a dire need to secure growth in new markets, said Roll at Max.xs. “Sales distribution is costly. Even though it’s an investment industry, asset managers have never invested in sales and support, or business development. We are providing and inexpensive way of designing a market entry strategy.”

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