Case Study

The Challenge of Multi-affiliate Branding

Cerulli helps a multi-affiliate asset manager build brand equity across individual companies and at the aggregate level.

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Key Questions

Clarifying Opportunity

How does a multi-affiliate asset manager go about growing its business, developing brand equity, and cultivating the relationship between parent company brand and boutique brands? Do the multi-affiliates retain their unique brands or do they assume the corporate identity of the parent brand?

How do we do it?

The Cerulli Approach

Cerulli built an outside-in and inside-out approach to measuring brand perception—externally and internally—across multi-affiliates and the parent company.

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Approach One


Through qualitative and quantitative assessments with pension insurers, wealth managers, and private banks, Cerulli provided the company with an outside view of the most important criteria investors consider when evaluating brands held within a multi-affiliate model. These include:

  • Best-of-breed product
  • Centralized distribution and middle/back-office resources
  • Access to specialized investment capabilities
  • Quality of client service
  • Access to diverse approaches/products
  • Strength of brand/parent balance sheet
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Approach Two


We also met with business leaders to understand the brand challenges they encounter with the multi-affiliate model, including:

  • Product competition
  • Competition for distribution resources
  • Lack of centralization for client management/disparate resources/processes
  • Lack of centralized risk management
  • Conflicting investment philosophies
  • Conflicting ESG approaches
  • No clear, consistent product or corporate story
  • Regulatory, compliance, risk


Which has a stronger perception? The individual boutiques or the parent company?

Cerulli tested and evaluated the perception of individual boutiques among key allocator audiences—wealth managers, pension funds, consultants, private banks, and insurance companies—across several categories and countries. We found three main brand challenges with the multi-affiliate model:

The Outcome

Cerulli's Strategic Recommendations

Our Subject Matter Experts:

Brendan Powers, CFA

Brendan Powers, CFA


Bio →

Brendan Powers, CFA

Brendan Powers, CFA


Brendan is a member of Cerulli’s Product Development practice, which focuses on trends related to asset managers’ product development and management functions. This broadly includes assessing the opportunity for product development, evaluating emerging product trends, and understanding distribution and product positioning for investment products across retail and institutional channels.

Prior to joining Cerulli, Brendan worked as a Senior Client Associate at Eaton Vance Management, focusing primarily on the firm’s exchange funds.

Full biography here.

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Cerulli Consulting

For 30 years, Cerulli Associates has been offering guidance to financial institutions for strategic positioning and new business development. We are industry's most trusted resource for strategic consulting and custom research, providing clear, actionable outcomes.

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