Asset Managers Across Europe Are Pouring Resources into Sales and Marketing

November 9, 2021 — London

Managers plan to resume hiring in their sales and marketing departments after a lull caused by the coronavirus pandemic

Cerulli Associates’ latest report, European Marketing and Sales Organizations 2021: Recalibrating for Growth, shows that asset management sales departments across Europe are set to increase their hiring activity—41% of the managers plan to substantially increase their sales headcount in the U.K., 34% plan to substantially increase their headcount in Spain, and 32% plan to substantially increase their headcount in France.

Asset managers are poised to make changes to their sales and marketing operations to increase their chances of winning business from investors. Almost half (46%) believe that improving their responsiveness to client requests is an important goal. A similar number (48%) aim to increase the specialization of their sales staff and 38% plan to increase the number of investment and product specialists in their sales teams. In addition, respondents are keen to meet clients’ requests for time with portfolio managers: 42% will focus on this target over the coming 12 to 24 months.

“Three-quarters of asset managers expect to increase their marketing headcount in Europe over the coming 12 to 24 months,” says Fabrizio Zumbo, associate director. “In addition, 20% expect to increase their annual marketing spend by at least 10% in 2022. We believe this is a clear sign of increased optimism and certainty when it comes to future planning.”

Video is one area that asset managers are devoting more time and resources to in their promotional communications. Nearly half (46%) of the managers Cerulli surveyed throughout Europe plan to increase their production of video marketing content over the next 12 to 24 months and 60% expect to increase their production of video thought leadership content. In addition, social media content is becoming more important: 44% of the managers expect to increase their production of such content substantially over the next two years and 42% identified social media specialists as their top priority in terms of recruitment.

The research also finds managers operating in markets across Europe strategically prioritizing brand—46% of the managers Cerulli surveyed in the region consider brand a very important element of sales. However, the importance of brand varies by market: 58% of respondents consider it a key element of sales in Germany but only 22% consider it a key element of sales in the Nordic region. The components of asset manager brands most valuable to fund selectors are the products offered, value for money, stability of performance, stability of the investment team, and quality of client service.

“Brand is becoming a clear differentiator for institutional and retail fund selectors in Europe,” adds Zumbo. “Managers across Europe should focus on offering a high level of client service and meaningful relationship management if they want to build a recognizable and effective band.”

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