Can Asset Managers Compete Globally With a US-Based Brand?

The emergence of a new breed of global managers means that, for many, success is no longer local or even continental.
american flag in a sphere

What will asset management look like in five years? With business and technology becoming global at a more rapid pace than ever before, this is an increasingly ominous question. PwC, in a recent report titled “Asset Management 2020: A Brave New World,” put forth their predictions after two years of research. With our particular interest in brand’s role during industry inflection points, we were fascinated by PwC’s take on asset management’s increasing need for global brands in coming years.

One key trend the report points out is that “2020 will see the emergence of a new breed of global managers, one that will have highly streamlined platforms, targeted solutions for the customer and stronger and more trusted brand.” Success is no longer local or national or even continental: technology has created a truly interconnected world, and these global managers will have “a foot in all geographies and channels.” But key to achieving greater scale, PwC indicates, is brand: “The mega-managers of 2020 and beyond, as well as those firms that aspire to be mega-managers, will need to regularly tap capital markets to fund their expansion. In order to do this, they will need brands that are recognized in all the major markets.”

Developing a brand that resonates across cultures requires overcoming several challenges: differences in culture and language are the first to come to mind, but we’ve even found that for companies that grow out of and beyond the United States, a key issue is combatting the global perception of being too “US-centric.”

Challenges, though, are also opportunities. As PwC points out, “few if any asset managers have created brands that are well-known in both developed markets and SAAAME [South American, African, Asian, and Middle Eastern] markets.” Asset managers can convert brand into a strategic asset by deploying it consistently across borders, building on the brand’s “equity” in the home market to create a compelling value proposition that resonates locally – on a global scale.

As a strategic asset, brand can act as a stable framework for company decisions and ideologies, especially as it grows larger and moves farther away from home. Firms that are able to clearly define and differentiate themselves with a global brand – especially in an increasingly more commoditized marketplace – are in a better position to achieve their business goals.

In all, PwC pinpoints six so-called “mega-trends.” In the video below, Barry Benjamin, global leader of PwC’s Asset Management practice reflects and explains these trends:

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