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Chairman's foreword

In 2024, the asset management industry faces huge challenges. With global AUM decreasing by $18 trillion, consolidation growing apace and both market and media sentiment worsening, it's clear that managers are operating in a particularly difficult environment. Nevertheless, adversity creates a diversity of outcomes. In this, our fifth annual study into the marketing effectiveness of asset management firms, it is clear that the winners are category-defining.

This is less about size and more about conviction and a clarity of purpose. The clear takeaway is that it is more important than ever for managers to double down in areas of meaningful differentiation, or through high-quality value-adds like partnership and firm culture. On the flipside, we expect managers to exercise caution when it comes to heavily-scrutinized hot buttons like ESG, sustainability, private markets, and digital assets.

In 2024 firms will need to prioritize their digital presence. CEO comms is also increasingly digital-first, offering a personal touch to corporate stories. However, being personal doesn't mean emulating high-profile figures; it's about finding a unique voice.

As we look into 2024 it has never been more important to double down on effective (and increasingly visual) storytelling, finding ways to demonstrate the value (and values) your firm brings and ensuring you create pockets of category authority. We hope you find this report a useful aid.

Anthony Payne

Executive Chairman

Key Findings

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Key Findings
Insight
Global AUM down
$18 trillion*
*WTW & P&I, The World's Largest Asset Managers - 2023
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Context

But there are winners. Bigger private markets firms continue to grow - Blackstone passes $1 trillion AUM. Meanwhile, hedge fund assets are at an all time high ($5 trillion). Real estate investment hits $4 trillion. We also saw the largest ever infrastructure fund launch from Brookfield.

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Action

The firms that win are category defining.

That's less about size and more about conviction and a clear proposition to be the best at something and tell a good story about it.

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Insight
Asset managers' brand diagnostic scores in 2023 were
25 %
lower compared with 2022
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Context

Firm and fund proliferation means many are essentially fungible. So, firms either need to double down on areas of meaningful differentiation or focus on those all-important intangibles, such as culture, that make them better partners.

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Action

Look around your peer group.

Who are you competing with for category authority? Who has a better presence? Don't be the weak one in your peer group.

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Insight
Share of voice has dropped
15 %
across the board, albeit with some pockets of real interest (namely Private Equity getting more scrutiny)
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Context

Asset managers are keeping a lower profile. As the market has become more unfavourable, there is far greater scrutiny of hot button issues within ESG, sustainability, private markets and digital assets.

We've seen many managers pull back from anything even remotely controversial.

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Action

Many asset managers may try to keep a low profile in 2024 given geopolitical tensions, the US and UK election cycles and controversy around ESG.

If you want to do more with less, focus on the highest impact corporate (and leadership) profiling opportunities with tier 1 media.

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Insight
Only
25 %
of asset managers have positive brand momentum
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Context

There are winners. And there are losers. Standing out (for the right reason) is getting harder than ever.

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Action

Be disciplined and focus on core capabilities.

And if you don't want to be among those being left behind, devote some energy and care to telling your corporate story in 2024.

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Insight
Media sentiment scores are down
31 %
year on year
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Context

As AUM has declined across the industry, so has the reputational challenges for managers have grown. But even with the decline in media sentiment, there are outliers. Some - notably Macquarie - have managed to curate a relatively healthy media sentiment, in spite of their continued involvement in challenging narratives around the role of private investment firms in public-private infrastructure partnerships.

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Action
  • Keep your head down, keep your comms controlled.*
  • Go on the front foot. Tell a compelling corporate story through journalists you have a trusted relationship with.

* if you are a big firm - or a small one that defines its category - this option doesn't apply to you because you will be written about anyway. Go for option 2.

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Insight
Over one-third of investment firms
37 %
have poor Google page 1 (GP1)
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Context

About one-in-six (16%) even have links to stories with negative sentiment on their GP1. More positively, GP1 scores averaged 20% higher over the last year.

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Action

Take control of your Google Page 1 in 2024.

  • Make sure you have the obvious assets (social media channels, well optimised website, etc).
  • Create video content. Google Search privileges video and it also takes up more space. If hosted on YouTube then it is privileged even further.
  • Drive down negative coverage through positive news flow. Ideally from publications with higher Domain Authority.
  • Press releases distributed through Businesswire or PRNewswire usually achieve a top spot in Google Search rankings (thereby pushing other coverage further down the rankings).
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Insight
How do private markets firms fare? Private markets firms only make up
6 %
of the overall list, but 20% of the highest Brand Awareness
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Context

While 2023 was more of a mixed story, private markets have still had an incredible decade. Some firms in particular have really made hay while the sun shines. Blackstone, Apollo and KKR have been not just category-defining but industry-defining.

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Action

Be category-defining.

If your firm has an undisputed edge in something and thereby delivers real value to investors then you need to make sure this is evidenced (and evidenced regularly) for your key audiences.

  • Content is key, but it doesn't have to be a white paper. Think bigger (and smaller) about ways to showcase your intellectual capital. Big, thoughtful work is underutilised, but so is short, sharp “snack” content.
  • Leverage social media. The average asset manager has more than 140,000 followers on LinkedIn. That's a lot of people. Treat yourself like a publishing house.
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Insight
Private markets firms' media sentiment is very low, with the average firm scoring
3
in our media sentiment analysis
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Context

But with prominence has come scrutiny. Media sentiment scores among private markets firms is very low. A generational move away from a low interest rate environment and the slow-burn fallout from Covid-19 has created challenges, in particular for some areas of commercial real estate. And as finance continues to be politicised, so do household names like Blackstone.

You don't want to be this decade's “Vampire Squid”.

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Action

If your firm is in danger of being politicised, remember you can never be all things to all people.

In 2023 we saw several asset managers try to thread that needle and end up becoming a byword for everything wrong with the world.

Focus on your base, your investors. Asset managers don't need to win any elections and they don't need a majority. But they do need investors. Put their needs first (and communicate that) and everything else will work itself out.

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Insight
While most digital channels this year saw only incremental improvements
(Paid Media, Paid Search, SEO),
Social Media usage leapt ahead
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Context

Post-Covid, social media use among asset managers - and investors - grew significantly with a 170% increase in LinkedIn engagement alone in 2021 and it has continued to grow ever since.

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Action

Asset management audiences - both retail and institutional - love social.

The variety of format, length and type of content lends itself to creativity. The best firms lean into this and make it a defining feature of the way they communicate.

As a first step, find a recurring format (maybe not another podcast) that you can own.

This doesn't have to be time-intensive or difficult to create. It could be something as simple as a chart of the month series or a memo from one of your leadership team.

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Insight
On social media, reach and engagement have seen significant growth. LinkedIn engagements overall were up
50 %
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Context

This is mainly the result of increased reach rather than an increase in the engagement rate itself. Reach was up nearly two-thirds ( 63%) in 2023, meaning that the universe of people interested in asset managers and asset management issues is growing significantly.

And this isn't just LinkedIn. reach has grown across every channel. Asset managers' collective YouTube reach is up 74% in 2023.

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Action

The social audience for asset managers has grown - and the increased democritization of alternatives is only adding fuel to this.

But as new audiences come on board, we need to continue innovating to keep content fresh and accessible. Nobody wants another talking head video in front of a Bloomberg terminal.

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Insight
Dispersion between winners and losers: only
6 firms
get top score for Social Media in 2023
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Context

The dispersion between winners and losers has been a consistent finding from Peregrine's reports into the asset management sector since 2017. What is different in 2024 is that the challenges facing many asset managers are now existential.

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Action

Be a winner.

Being bad at Social is a choice, but not a good one.

You don't need a BlackRock budget to be the best at Social among your peers.

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Insight
CEO comms is increasingly digital first
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Context

This year more than ever before we have seen firms in this study - and clients more generally - leveraging social media for CEO and leadership communications.

Many firms have a much broader reach through their own channels than they appreciate and it's possible to tell firms' stories in ways - either visual or personal - that just would not have been possible using traditional earned media.

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Action

The reach, control and incredible variety of content formats makes Social perfect for leadership comms.

Leadership comms is effective because it's a personal way of telling a corporate story. When it's not very personal, it's not very effective.

But being personal doesn't mean being Elon. Everyone's voice is different.

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Top Rankings

Benchmark Yourself Against Your Peers

Please select two companies to view how they compare against each other across Peregrine's 10 integrated marketing communications metrics.

To find out how you can apply Peregrine's competitor intelligence to your marketing strategy, contact Peregrine's Co-CEO, Josh Cole. Contact Us

Total Scores

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Methodology

This report focuses on a research group made up of the largest global asset management firms as ranked by AUM.

The firms selected were the top 100 independent brands in IPE's Top 500 Asset Managers survey . Firms that are owned or operated by a parent brand already included in the research group were excluded from the analysis. The group is scored, ranked and analyzed from a dataset of over 12,000 data points collected between Q4 2022 and Q4 2023. It builds on the 24,000 data points already collated by Peregrine between 2019 and 2021. The firms' overall scores are made up of their scores across ten distinct IMC categories .

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Other Peregrine Reports

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