Webinars and digital trade fairs are currently attracting increasing interest from investors in the fund sector. Markus Hill spoke on behalf of FONDSBOUTIQUEN.DE with Andreas Hausladen, HANSAINVEST, about success factors for fund boutiques, “full-service KVGen” and about the personal reasons for his fascination for this market segment, for the hidden champions of the fund industry. Additional topics of discussion were the challenges for the asset management industry in the field of digital communication, as well as the concept and content of the new event format FONDSTIQUE (event, 15.10.2020).
Hill: You observe the industry intensively and attentively. How do you think the fund boutique market segment has developed over time?
Hausladen: The market for fund boutiques has been developing in Germany for more than 30 years now in the third generation. Firm changes such as the ever-increasing density of regulation and the narrowing of distribution channels have not slowed down the market thus the industry has steadily and intelligently developed its solutions. Operational quality no longer has to hide behind large fund houses. On the contrary: At least with the bank-independent, neutral service CVGs with open architecture, an individually optimized set-up is possible. An ecosystem of its own has emerged from various providers, with solid concentration tendencies on the part of the service providers. But vice versa, due to the continually evolving depth of service, it has never been easier than today to launch an “own fund”. The organizational professionalism comes from the Service-KVG and its partners, an asset manager focuses on the quality of the concept so that the products are often “outstanding” in quality and flexibility. As a side note: Due to the manifold support of the fund initiators, these service providers should somewhat be called “full-service KVG” by now.
Hill: Who will the future belong to here?
Hausladen: The fund initiators have become remarkably professionalized and are increasingly asking the right questions: The success factors are a clear customer focus, innovative strength, an appropriate size that still allows flexibility and customer proximity, an open architecture, a state-of-the-art IT platform, and specialist know-how, also concerning ESG. Recently – not least driven by the systemic risks that continue to develop in a crisis-like manner – completely new aspects have also come to the fore. For example, the counterparty risk of a KVG, which many people seem to have been unaware of until now. For this reason, the more professional fund initiators, in particular, are increasingly subjecting aspects of substance and risk to meticulous scrutiny. Sustainability and credibility are also trumped on the material level. However, this new “critical thinking” has not yet arrived everywhere. In contrast to the private label fund market, we recently started to take a closer look at the exclusive fund’s sector with its landscape shaped by consultants. To the size of the business, the fund initiators see a clear advantage here for equity-strong institutions with low complexity risks and a stable, long-term ownership structure, such as HANSAINVEST with Signal Iduna as its strong reliable parent and partner.
Hill: You have been active in the service KVG sector for about 20 years. How do you personally see your role in this area? Where does your enthusiasm exist for the “small houses”?
Hausladen: Even before my time at Service-KVGen, I was able, as a pioneer in the banking sector for more than ten years, to give the first boutique funds on the market their well-deserved recognition in fund selection and by opening up conventional distribution channels. In this respect, I have had a great passion for independent thinkers and creative entrepreneurship for more than 30 years. And it doesn’t look as if it will get boring in the next few years: The private label fund market is in a founder’s time mood. In phases of financial and economic crises, as is the case again now, new innovative approaches are constantly emerging that do not fit into any conventional product range in the conventional fund world or simply do not meet the profitability expectations of the big houses as a niche strategy. We are happy to be obstetricians. Many special and successful concepts have meanwhile added up to an enormous and indispensable enrichment of the investment world.
Hill: How did you get the idea for a digital trade fair? Aren’t the analog formats enough anymore to make the fund initiators visible in the market?
Hausladen: My work of many years with banks and KVGen always stood under the sign to be a strong voice and platform for the independent ones as well as to unite and bundle the forces. KVGen such as HANSAINVEST can help small houses to reach a critical mass in terms of fund volume more quickly through support in sales and marketing. These advantages are also recognized on the investor side. Furthermore, a large field of self-decision-makers is growing up in a world in which professional information is available online virtually free of charge. So how do both sides come together in the digital parallel universe? The old world worked well, but will that also be possible in the digital world? The investor matrix is not only shifting horizontally as a result of the digital possibilities of new reach, but completely new opportunities are also opening up vertically in the B2C market. Covid-19 will probably posthumously write the history of turbo-digitization as a major achievement in the Wikipedia logbook. Of course, new digital formats do not replace personal contact. But they are a more than useful addition, so to speak the digital format as a “warm-up phase” for the direct contact of investor and fund initiator that may follow later. For existing contacts, these formats are a welcome change in communication. If there is no time for a personal reunion, then our digital fund fair www.FONDSTIQUE.de offers a pleasant, uncomplicated opportunity to stay in contact and to deepen it.
Hill: What is so special about your FONDSTIQUE?
Hausladen: The FONDSTIQUE is another step to expand the field of possibilities excitingly, another experimental meadow with high learning curves. It enables investors and providers to contact and inform themselves with high efficiency. Elimination of travel times, precise information, and significant cost savings are unbeatable and plausible arguments for both sides. The path is marked out: The current sales world is currently undergoing disruptive changes and will continue to surprise us. Here too, HANSAINVEST will be one of the leading platforms for digitalization. Another key point is certainly that many fund boutiques, some of which are still relatively unknown, will provide valuable professional suggestions at the event in presentations and panel discussions. This input will certainly be very exciting, as fund boutiques live from the independent thought leaders who make them so successful. There will also be an interesting opening lecture by Kai Diekmann on Germany’s future viability in the field of digitization. The panel discussions will also feature top-class speakers such as Lenny Fischer, Marc Friedrich, Dimitri Speck, Robert Halver, and other renowned investment experts.
Hill: I have participated in similar formats before. Log in, enter your data, and start – and you are ready. The technology is one thing, but it also has its pitfalls. Where do you see the opportunities and risks of these formats in the future?
Hausladen: It remains to be seen whether the acceptance of digital formats will increase and whether there will be consistency in audience attention. I have also been observing the “hybrid” formats in this area for some time now. Of course, it is also important to note that the generations differ in their information behavior. It is often ascribed to the “young” that everything has to be as digital as possible, the “old” are sometimes accused of refusing technology. In my opinion, this is not necessarily true. Will the corona situation now bring acceptance for new approaches to a new level in a leap and on a sustained basis? Will hybrid formats become established or continue to be difficult? At least that is what can be determined: It is often the case that golf courses and soccer are no longer used as socializers. These contact channels are less and less influencing business life. Digital formats, on the other hand, are still suffering from a lack of reach and communicability. After Covid-19, is it possible that neither one nor the other suddenly no longer functions properly because the habits of the industry, which have become so dear to us, were put under such a massive “damper”? That would be fatal. It is also unclear to what extent institutional investors are increasingly discovering the digital possibilities for themselves – not least because of limited travel budgets and the enormous efficiency gains. These numerous questions are countered by the impressive opportunities and benefits. Many digital formats are currently being tested, and we too want to use them to provide additional support for the independent fund boutique segment. But one thing is clear: all of us in our industry are currently still humble learners here.
Hill: Thank you very much for the interview.
Andreas Hausladen is managing director at Service-KVG HANSAINVEST. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, he is responsible for the Sales & Relationship Management and Administration departments for the Financial Assets division.
EVENT NOTE (15.10.2020). “FONDSTIQUE is one of the first virtual trade fairs in the fund sector for the entire investment industry, which anyone can attend without spending a lot of time. Fund boutiques and their service providers present their products. Whether you are a private investor or an institutional investor, take the opportunity and inform yourself as a visitor about interesting concepts. In addition to a keynote speaker and three rounds of experts, you can expect a trade fair rally and almost 50 presentations from 36 different exhibitors. The lectures can be attended throughout the day and will be available for about 4 weeks afterward.” Further information and registration for the FONDSTIQUE: https://fondstique.de
“FRANKFURT – On October 15th, HANSAINVEST will organize a virtual fund fair called FONDSTIQUE. The aim is to bring together fund boutiques, asset managers, asset managers, institutional and private investors – “just without shaking hands and corona,” said Andreas Hausladen in an interview with HEDGEWORK.” The aim is to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and information.