The tale is an oft-told one: In the months before and during The Crash, capital fled markets en masse; liquidity became
a central concern for the buy- and sell-side;
any business which relied on external
capital realized the drawback of “hot money”
and, in turn, sought institutional—and, by
extension, stable—assets and customers.
Thus, the recent proliferation of pension (and
endowment) units housed with the world’s largest banks.
and endowments that are now viewed as the stable capital required to
endure future bumps in the road. Asset managers have finally come
around to the idea that asset owning capital—for years the uncool
and unwanted step-child of the high-net worth crowd—is often, by
definition, calm capital. The power dynamic has shifted, and this shift
is only a positive one for global asset owners.
Their organizational structures are varied, their nomenclature often
vague. Yet, a common trend has emerged: an effort within large banks
to bring together various units to service the asset-owning space,
often with a clear team leader that navigates both the external world
of pension asset procurement and the internal world of bank politics.
The best-of-the-best include Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Goldman
Sachs, BlackRock, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Northern Trust,
Credit Suisse, JP Morgan Chase, State Street, and more. These units are
the new aides-de-camp of the asset-owning world.
aiCIO invites you to the Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
In our last issue, we asked you to help us rebrand ourselves (with a
phenomenal response rate, we must add, for which we thank you).
Our goal was and is clear: We want to redefine our audience not solely
by size, but by job responsibilities. It matters not so much whether
the pool of capital you work for is $500 million or $1.5 billion in size.
What matters more, it’s clear, is whether you can effect change in how
that money is managed. If you can, then we want to help you do that
as best you can.
Will all these units be here five years from now? No. The competition
to service pension and endowment funds is fierce, and Schopenhauer’s
creative destruction surely will cause some firms to back out of the
business, just as it has in the past (Putnam’s late-1990s effort being a
prime example). To predict which individual firms will survive would
be pure folly, but, having spoken to parties from both sides of the
asset management equation, I say with confidence that the firms that
provide resource-strapped asset-owners with the most comprehensive
support, clear lines of communication, risk measurement and
management, and, above all, top-quartile performance will be the ones
left standing in 2015.
With all that in mind, our new brand is this: aiCIO, with a tagline of
For Institutional Chief Investment Officers. We know that no one job title
can encompass every target reader, but we also know that Directors
of Investment, Executive Directors, and people in similar jobs will
realize that Chief Investment Officer is a proxy for the true targets of the
information we publish: the men and women who make decisions that
affect capital at the world’s largest pensions, endowments, foundations,
insurance accounts, and sovereign wealth funds.
December 2, 2010
Chelsea Piers, Pier 61
New York City
Click here to learn more.
While the eventual winners on the asset management side are unclear,
not so on the flip side. Here, invariably, the winner will be the pensions
Foster Wright | 203.595.3280 | email@example.com
Carol Popkins | 203.595.3282 | firstname.lastname@example.org
5 | ai-CIO.com | October 2010