when I opened Google Earth and ran the cursor over my home town/county/country , I could see
Housing stock being built
Brownfield sites being redeveloped
Start ups igniting into action
Listed companies adapting to a new cleaner greener cheaper world.
with my money?
It would make me ask these questions..
Why should I have to wait till a 200 page report was stuffed into a letterbox of junk mail, when I could tab my phone and see what my pension savings were doing to improve things?
What if I , and all the people who chose to invest with an asset manager, could ask that asset manager how the investments were doing as we viewed them?
What if all the people who swan around investment markets were put to work answering the calls of the people engaged by google earth or however this might work?
And I’d want pome answers
If , as I do, we saw the business of asset managers as managing assets , rather than compete to out-manage each other in the trading of these assets-
If , as I do, we saw the new business function of an asset manager as finding new opportunities into which the asset manager might invest, rather than attend endless beauty parades competing for new money from old customers.
If we see the business of investment reporting as a matter of interaction with those using funds to get their money into the right places at the right time, rather than rows of numbers designed to convince new people to buy and old people not to sell.
Then I need some answers.
Not some marketing gimmick
Every so often, some asset manager tries to convince themselves they are changing the world by adopting some marketing gimmick. They call themselves something disruptive and then set out to win the same awards at the same award shows so they can cram glass cabinets, fill a powerpoint slide and send each other congratulatory tweets.
This is doing nothing except re-spinning the wheel. Change will not happen this way.
Change driven by customers with the means to ask..
Change will happen when people are allowed to see what their money is doing and interact with those doing the work in a meaningful way. I see investor relations as the growth industry for asset managers in the next 25 years, not because asset managers want to communicate with the people whose money they invest….
But because, if we can get the people like me, who are busy saving for later years, to wake up and tap their phones, then they might start asking the awkward questions posed in this blog.
- Like what are asset manager doing to make Britain a cleaner, greener and cheaper place to live?
- Just how are asset managers going about helping small companies become global leaders?
- How are they helping redress the imbalances in gender, race and age in the boardrooms that govern the companies we work in?
- How do we monitor and manage the spending of the public sector?
I know I can ask these questions on my blog, there will come a time when people will be asking these questions of those who manage their money on their phones.
The difference between dreaming and delivering
Yesterday, I spent 45 minutes in the company of a man whose company manages several trillion pounds of our wealth. By “our”, I mean the wealth of people like you as well as overseas sovereign wealth funds and the money of the Monte-Carlo billionaires.
We discussed these questions in an urgent and excited way. I realised that this man, the CEO of one of the largest investment management firms in the world, thought about the same things as everyone else (how Newcastle beat Tottenham last week). He told me that he had over a million interactions on his google hang out last year- I asked him if he was any the wiser for it – we laughed.
It was “clear and vivid and real” – as it should be. And I did feel privileged, because there was nothing this person could gain from meeting me, other than to share what he thought he should be doing to make the things we talked about happen.
The difference between him and me is that I dream about these things, he can make them happen.
He asked me what I wanted of him- I said I wanted him to make these things happen.