Considerations for Managers During Covid-19
While economies begin to reopen around the globe, the world post-COVID-19 will no doubt be different in many ways – and the investment management industry is no exception.
The foundation upon how relationships are built with investors, prospects, recruits and portfolio company management teams may never be the same, at least in the near and not-so-near future. As a result, the way firms communicate to each of these constituents, and to the public, will need to reflect the new dynamics that guide the way we travel and interact with one another. Specifically, effectively utilizing technology to connect virtually has quickly become essential.
ASC has worked closely with our clients to help navigate crises and market cycles in the past. We remain committed to partnering with our clients and to providing in-depth strategic counsel as we enter this next phase of the pandemic into what is hopefully a period of recovery.
There are a few things that we believe will be major topics of discussion within the investment management space that we, along with our Senior Advisors, are well suited to help investment managers address, including:
Virtual Branded Investor Days: In-person investor days have always been a valuable tool for managers to connect with investors and for investors to connect with each other. With restrictions on gatherings in place and uncertainty around general willingness to attend in-person events, managers and investors have turned to virtual meetings and video technology to connect with investors. Moving forward, utilizing this technology and structuring virtual events effectively will be important for investor retention and growth.
Investor Communications: We are just beginning to see the long-term economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, and uncertainty and volatility will likely persist over the coming quarters – perhaps years. With that uncertainty, communicating clearly and effectively about developments within the strategy and the business will be critical.
ESG: ESG will remain a major focus of allocators moving forward, arguably even more-so than it was pre-pandemic. The ESG landscape is constantly shifting, and there is no set of standards that applies to every strategy, mandate or approach. Developing and communicating an ESG policy that is tailored to a manager’s strategy and approach can help accelerate the diligence and onboarding process with both allocators and consultants.
Digital Fund Raising and Relationship Building: How allocators and investors will approach the diligence process is evolving, but travel restrictions and hesitancy around holding in-person meetings will make a firm’s ability to differentiate itself in initial calls and written materials all the more important. Developing process, strategy and messaging to connect with prospective investors and build relationships virtually will be required to grow AUM and expand investor bases.
Recruiting: Leveraging social media and digital resources to reach top recruits will take on additional importance, beginning with the establishment of a strong and consistent online and digital profile. Like investors, recruits will look initially online for information on a potential employer, and having consistent messaging that effectively demonstrates the opportunities associated with the business can strengthen your brand and improve the quality of new employees.
Distressed, Activism and Litigation Support: As companies and countries face unprecedented disruption, there will likely be situations where engagement is called for or required to drive change. Working with key constituents to demonstrate the value and vision for each investment will take carefully crafted messaging and a strategic approach to ensure that managers are positioned accurately and constructively.
Media: One thing we can be certain of is that media focus and scrutiny of the alternative investment industry will rise as the pandemic plays out and economies are opened and closed accordingly. As managers capitalize on distressed opportunities and disruption, navigating how firms’ roles in those situations are portrayed can impact the success of that and future investments and alter the path of relationships with key constituents. Additionally, business developments, such as fund launches and new hires, will be of special interest to reporters, and effective media relations will help position a firm in the public.