Thought Leadership

Amid Massive Change, the Fundamentals of Trust in Financial Services Remain

April 14, 2020
Author: Linda York
Amid Massive Change, the Fundamentals of Trust in Financial Services Remain

Last month, our Cogent Syndicated Financial Services team released their first report of the year, US Institutional Investor Brandscape. Check out the introduction of the report below and contact us for more information on the full report and it’s implications. 

At the end of 2019 and into the beginning of 2020, financial markets around the globe were at record highs and investors were enjoying prosperous portfolio returns. Sitting on a comfortable cushion, investors could afford to be a bit more opportunistic in their investment selection decisions, and many were seeking new approaches to generate alpha and outperform the market. Flash-forward to mid-March 2020, when the world is reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthcare systems are stressed; financial markets are extremely volatile; schools, businesses, sporting events and entertainment venues are closed; and millions of Americans are living in near isolation in an attempt to limit person-to-person contact. While the economic implications, particularly the declines of the equity and bond markets, are not unprecedented, the societal implications are uncharted and unsettling to say the least.

During the data collection period for this report, which is prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, institutional investors were seeking partnerships with asset managers that embody the attributes of being “a company I trust,” exceptional financial strength, best-in-class risk management practices, and superior thought leadership. All of the aspects that were important then are still important, if not vital, in the current environment. The firms that established themselves as trustworthy, financially strong and skilled in helping clients manage risk pre-crisis will be the firms investors turn to for perspective and guidance in the tumultuous times ahead.

With this dramatic backdrop, we present our annual review of the US institutional market in the US Institutional Investor Brandscape report. The report provides a comprehensive view of key trends among investors managing defined benefit pensions, endowments, foundations and tax-exempt organizations. We offer a unique view of the competitive environment through an in-depth exploration of the perceptions of and experience with the 49 leading institutional asset management firms. Through a detailed analysis of the perceptions and behaviors of institutional investors, we identify important shifts in behaviors and beliefs that are likely to be amplified as the market, along with the rest of the world, navigates this current crisis and plots the course ahead.


Click below to learn more about the report.

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Linda York
Linda York
Senior Vice President, Cogent Syndicated

Linda York is a senior vice president in the Cogent Syndicated division where she leads the Wealth Management Syndicated Research & Consulting practice. She has over 20 years of experience in financial services spanning responsibilities in finance, marketing and business strategy. Before joining Escalent, Linda was the practice director of Syndicated Research at Cogent Research, where she managed the product development and execution process for syndicated research projects and consulted with dozens of clients in the retail and institutional wealth management space. She earned an MBA in marketing from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Mount Holyoke College. Linda is an avid equestrian and a two-time finisher of the Boston Marathon.