The asset managers most recognized by advisors for their thought leadership stand out for having a well-known investment authority and for addressing current topics of concern for advisors and their clients. New data from Cogent Syndicated find that advisors are most likely to have read thought leadership and attended webinars from First Trust, J.P. Morgan and American Funds. First Trust and American Funds uphold their thought leadership engagement from last year, while J.P. Morgan achieves a significant increase in the consumption of its materials since the pandemic took hold. In addition, advisors say they are most likely to have shared materials from First Trust and ARK with colleagues or clients. These and other findings are from Cogent Syndicated’s Advisor Brandscape® study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm.
Featuring established authorities at the helm of thought leadership efforts at First Trust and J.P. Morgan, advisors specifically mention Brian Wesbury and Dr. David Kelly as influential. Wesbury is commended for having a strong opinion and for presenting information in a way that’s not overwhelming to read. Dr. Kelly is commended for providing immediately usable information that can be shared with clients. ARK CEO Cathie Wood is praised for pieces that are informative, interesting and not mainstream.
In addition, the firms gaining traction are addressing current concerns of advisors and their clients. In particular, advisors have mentioned pieces related to political and regulatory changes and their economic influence, the economic and market impact of COVID-19, emerging future trends, and market volatility. Materials addressing concerns related to increasing inflation in the US and rising interest rates have also become relevant subjects for thought leadership, as advisors reveal an increased appetite for actively managed equities (US and non-US) and alternative investments.
“Asset managers need to recognize changes in advisor expectations and adjust their strategies accordingly. This includes ramping up digital communication that is responsive to business and financial news and market events,” said Meredith Lloyd Rice, vice president at Escalent. “It helps to have a well-known spokesperson voicing their own point of view on what lies ahead.”
Cogent Syndicated conducted an online survey with 1,460 registered financial advisors from January to March of 2021. In order to qualify, respondents were required to have an active book of business of at least $5 million and offer investment advice or planning services to individual investors on a fee or transactional basis. Cogent sets quota targets and weights the data to be representative of the overall advisor universe using the Discovery Data Financial Services Industry database as a sample source. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.
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