Asset Management Consultants often evaluate, select, monitor, and “advise” group-bound asset managers and fund boutiques. Markus Hill spoke on behalf of FONDSBOUTIQUEN.DE with Alexander Scholz, Managing Director of TELOS GmbH, about the breadth of the field of activity in his own company as well as the topics at the upcoming “Wiesbadener Investorentag” (20.8.2020) and the “Alternative Conference” (5.11.2020). Additional topics such as special studies and investment companies, ESG, investor education, and personal publication interests with “question marks” will also be discussed.
Hill: What does TELOS do? What are the topics your company deals with within Wiesbaden?
Scholz: The fields of activity of TELOS are manifold, but in the end, almost everything revolves around the analysis. Within the scope of TELOS Ratings, we analyse and evaluate asset management companies, master investment companies, custodians, investment processes as well as funds. Qualitative criteria are always in the foreground, although we always take quantitative factors into account, especially in the TELOS Fund Ratings. In our function as consultants, we support institutional investors of all kinds in the selection of suitable partners in the field of asset management and administration (master investment companies and custodians). Here our clients benefit from our more than 20 years of experience in the ratings outlined above. In contrast to rating processes, which tend to be standardized, our analyses in the context of our consulting activities are carried out individually according to the requirements and needs of the respective investor. Our third “mainstay” are various studies and publications. The TELOS Special Fund Market Study or the TELOS Master-investment companies Study are examples. Besides, we have been conducting an annual analysis of institutional investors’ satisfaction with their asset managers for almost two decades. We address current topics in our “TELOS Compendium” series and various short surveys and analyses. We are currently compiling a compendium on the topic of sustainability / ESG, in which various aspects and solutions are discussed and presented. The only thing that does not revolve around analyses is our events. This year, we are organizing the 11th TELOS Wiesbadener Investorentag on August 20. We are responding to the increased interest of institutional investors in alternative investments such as real estate, infrastructure, private debt, or private equity with our TELOS “Alternative Conference”. The conference will take place on November 5th, 2020. Ultimately, with all our services we would like to build the (information) bridge between investors and providers.
Hill: Which specialist areas do you personally supervise?
Scholz: In principle, I cover the entire spectrum of our services. I also take care of our website and our information portal for investors “IMI”. As a shareholder and managing director, the further development of the company and the development of new services is of course also an important element of my work. Especially in the area of sustainability / ESG services, we at TELOS have made a lot of progress in the last few years, for example, the TELOS Sustainability Rating or the TELOS ESG Check. Currently, we are working on a quantitative rating, which is geared to the needs of institutional investors and which will go live in Q4 2020. All in all, I have a very varied and multi-dimensional field of activity here at TELOS, where I can contribute my experience from all my previous jobs. In any case, I will never get bored.
Hill: What is the background of the event “Wiesbadener Investorentag”?
Scholz: Our events are an essential element of our bridging function. Both the Wiesbaden Investors’ Day and the “Alternative Conference” offer institutional investors a platform to inform themselves about current capital market topics and to exchange information with other market participants in a familiar atmosphere. Asset managers and administration providers address various investment topics in presentations lasting around half an hour each. The event is rounded off by an investor lecture or, as this year, a specialist panel. We always make sure that there is a good mix of both the topics and the lecturing companies. Thus, each topic should not be dealt with more than once. Domestic and foreign suppliers, full-range stores and specialized boutiques, long-standing and newcomers to the German market will have their say. The overall result is an entertaining and varied program.
Hill: What is special this time, what topics are discussed there?
Scholz: In addition to the specialist presentations by the suppliers, this year’s program of the Wiesbaden Investors’ Day will include a panel of top-class experts on the topic of sustainability / ESG. Participants of the panel are Dr. Kuper from BVI, who will present the current developments from the association’s point of view, Mr. Helfberend from ERK Darmstadt, who will contribute his practical experience as an investor, and Professor Dr. Schäfer, who will cover both the scientific and the advisory side. In this respect, the topic of sustainability will be examined from all angles. We also have various fund boutiques with specialist presentations on-site, such as Carmignac, Fisch Asset Management, MAINFIRST, Rothschild Asset Management, and SIA Strategic Investment Advisors Group. Worth mentioning this year is a special situation due to COVID-19. The Wiesbaden Investors’ Day is one of the first presence events after the shutdown. From discussions with vendors and investors we have learned that despite the active use of webinars and other online formats, there is still a great interest in “real” meetings and personal exchange. In close cooperation with Nassauer Hof, we have taken all necessary measures to ensure that the event is a success and a safe one.
Hill: If it’s not about asset management – what other topics are you concerned with?
Scholz: I admit that I am not exactly a bookworm. Now I could argue that I have to read vast amounts of specialist literature and documents while I’m working, but that would only be a lazy excuse. When I read a book, the light fare is usually like regional or business crime novels. But, I don’t want to give too much away yet – there will be a short commentary on a topic I don’t want to talk about at this point. It could be asset management, but also something that could go in another direction. My spare time activities are mainly focused on race biking and cooking. Both help me to clear my head and relax.
Hill: Thank you very much for the interview.
Alexander Scholz has been a shareholder and managing director of TELOS GmbH since June 2016. He has more than 25 years of financial market and investment experience.
Before joining TELOS, he held management positions at various banks and asset management companies with responsibilities in the areas of asset management consulting, investment process and fund analysis, portfolio management, product development, investment controlling and reporting, customer service, and trade auditing.
Mr. Scholz holds a degree in business administration from the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz.
TELOS, “WIESBADENER INVESTORENTAG” & “ALTERNATIVE CONFERENCE” (information & registration): https://www.telos-rating.de
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PS – “Mini-Project with TELOS in 2005” – Additional Info – Study “Consultants for institutional investors in Germany”:
“With about 28 questions, some of them very detailed, Telos GmbH, a sister company of the rating agency RCP GmbH, conducted an extensive survey among consultants for institutional investors in Germany with the support of the Frankfurt asset management consultant Markus Hill and his team. Telos GmbH was founded in April 2005 and conducts qualitative ratings of investment funds as well as investment companies and investment processes in the areas of securities, hedge funds, and real estate fund management. Besides, the company carries out studies and evaluations on various topics of the asset management industry based on its surveys”. (Quote: THE MAKERS OF THE STUDY – FRANK WEHLMANN & MARKUS HILL – https://www.fondsprofessionell.com/upload/attach/272493.pdf)