4 Tips and Tools that can help you raise capital in a smoother way

For young and smaller firms, raising capital can seem like a never-ending job. It requires hard work, patience, and a willingness to continually knock on doors that show no signs of opening. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. With the right software solutions, tools, website, and partners, your next round of funding won’t be nearly as stressful, awkward, or energy-depleting. Here are some ideas that will help you succeed.

1. Consistency in your Marketing materials

The first thing you should start with is to make sure that all your marketing documents are in line with your philosophy and strategy.
– Business Plan
– Monthly Factsheets
– Newsletters

You need to be able to demonstrate the future in your strategy. Furthermore, you need to be able to demonstrate and correctly articulate what you are doing at a glance. Always be prepared for the follow-up question. What value do YOU add, and HOW will you achieve your goals?

The process of the most successful funds often goes like this:
1. Find a niche investment area (Your WHY)
2. Understanding your goals and creating a solid Busines Plan (Your HOW) 
3. Put your processes in place (Marketing, IR, your corporate picture- aka your CREDIBILITY) 
4. Build a solid and trusted Network, while you are building your track record (your internal Heroes) 
5. Scale and Accelerate your growth.

These steps are being followed by all the Funds we work with, and they never seem to fail (provided that your strategy generates Alpha). Start low and work your way up. If you see something that doesn’t work, just re-adjust, experiment and keep going. In the end, you will find your own way to do things.

2. Leveraging your Network and Using referrals

It might sound strange – and maybe a bit awkward- in this industry, but referrals from your Investors and your Prospective Investors is the easiest way to bring attention back to your fund. Just because someone doesn’t want to invest in you (at least at the moment), doesn’t mean that they don’t know someone who might want to.

Spread the word and find a way to create inbound leads. The best Funds in the world have a waiting list for joining. Do you want to be in their shoes? Start low and work your network to the top.  (More on this topic soon)

3. CRM Software

If you’re serious about raising capital and you have followed all the steps until now, it’s possible that you’ll interact with hundreds of different leads. While CRM solutions are typically designed for managing a business’s customer relationships, they can also be used to aid your funding initiatives by allowing you to organize and track interactions.

We know the frustration of following up with so many leads on any given day. There is only one scalable way, and this is the use of a CRM Software. Of course, most of the CRMs are quite generic, and they don’t quite fit the Asset Management Industry.

“While you are heads-down and build your track-record, there are still opportunities out there for you. Meet people, lawyers, investors – Write some though pieces and get your name out there. The industry is fragmented. Keeping an open line with the world is important.”

Luckily, Edgefolio developed their own CRM system called FundPortal. The system design originated from Fund Managers’ feedback and suggestions. It gives Sales and Marketing teams access to behavioral data, as to who is looking at their funds and what information they are looking for. FundPortal incorporates the CRM tools you need to manage your investors, automate your fundraising, and make your fund data interactive and visual either you are creating a report or running analysis.

Again, it’s all about scalability. A spreadsheet can suffice for the first few months, you can’t track all your prospect’s activities manually. Furthermore, you shouldn’t lose time following on ‘cold leads’ or -arguably even worse- not following on warm ones. Find what works for you better, and make it a part of your everyday activities. It might take a couple of weeks to get used to it, but it will make your time 10X more productive.

(For understanding how a system like this can help you increase your Conference Efficiency, click here)

4. Hedge Fund Portals

Almost all successful businesses rely on technology in some way. This is no different for the Alternative Asset Managers. Just take a look at the HFM Awards winners 2018.

Tech is not just a differentiator anymore. It is an essential part of your business, and if you want to overcome your peers, you need to innovate.

There aren’t many things to say here. In the words of one of our most successful clients:

You’ve got 10000 competitors.

Most institutional investors are being Called on by thousands of hedge funds

They are meeting with a couple hundred.

They are doing second meetings with 50.

Allocating to maybe 2.

Anything you can do to get a differential advantage over your competition, you have to focus on. Fund Portals are here for a while, and the world is not going backwards. If you don’t have the systems in place, you are not only predestined to fail, but you also face important issues ( like security, compliance, and accountability; just to name a few).

Accelerate Your Funding Starting Today

Raising capital for your Fund isn’t a process you can start without being prepared. Using these four resources, you can increase your chances of securing the funding you need with terms that are most beneficial to your firm.

We are working with hundreds of Funds and institutional allocators, and we can tell you this: The hybrid model works; you just need to open your mind and let take advantage of this. The tech is here, and it will give an edge to anyone who uses it. The faster, the better.

Navigating through new features of FundPortal 3.12

After months of an ongoing dialog with our customers, furious coding and indefinite testing we are proud to introduce the newest version of FundPortal 3.12.

This version brings two powerful features into your hands:

– Richer user management using our new lightweight CRM:

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 10.17.42

 
– Sophisticated communication tools with templates and campaigns, all with analytics:

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If you are familiar with MailChimp, you will probably find it easy to navigate through the new interface. However, we would like to present the most common scenarios and use cases where the functionality of FundPortal 3.12 should be very useful.

Here are some common use cases to help you get started.

1. I just attended a networking event where I met several potential investors. How can I invite them to my FundPortal?

The overhead menu has been expanded to the following tabs:

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 14.06.12

If you’d like to add a single user, go to the Users tab on top and click the “Add User” button in the upper right corner. Next, you will need to fill out details about your new user. Once that is done, click the “Save User” button at the end of the form. You will now see the profile of the newly created user. You will be able to send an invite message to that user. To make the system more flexible, we don’t automatically send out messages anymore. You can send this new user a custom invitation email by clicking the “Invite them” link.  

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It is also possible to easily add multiple new users:

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 14.08.58

To do so, download the user list in Excel format (“Download users” button). Add the users you want to this list and upload your updated version back to the FundPortal (“Add/Update Users” button).

Please note that the system no longer sends out automatic emails to the new users. You now have complete control over your client communication. To invite these new users you just added, filter your user table by the status “Not yet contacted” and message the users.

You can easily change user’s details (name, company name or access level to given fund). In the table view of users simply double-click on the item you wish to change and enter a new value.

SUMMARY:

Single User: Go to the “Users” tab  → Click the “Add user” button → Fill out the form → Save user → Review the saved details → Click “Email User” or link in the dialog box to send an invitation message to the new user →Watch the progress of your campaign

Multiple users: Go to the “Users” tab  → Click the “Download users” button → In the Excel file, add the users → Save file → Upload the updated file by clicking “Add/Update Users” → Filter your user table by the status “Not yet contacted” →  Send an invitation message →Watch the progress of your campaign

 


2. I have an update I would like to share with a specific group of investors. How can I communicate it?

You can now easily do this by creating a Campaign. Campaigns can be created for both groups and single user communication. Under the Campaigns tab, you can create campaigns and track the progress of each active campaign.

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 14.32.17

If you choose to contact a specific group of your users, you will need to create a new mailing list containing those specific users before creating the campaign.

Go to The Users tab,  tick off the specific users in the user list table, click on the “Add X users to mailing list” button.

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You can also filter on any chosen values and choose the users based on that. A dialog window will pop-up on the upper right side of the screen asking which group to add the users to. Choose either an existing group or create a new one.

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Now, head on over to the Campaigns section, and click the “Create Campaign” button.

  • On the left, you can select the recipients by picking them from the drop-down list.
  • On the right, you can select from one of our pre-made templates depending on the kind of communication you’d like to send.
  • Feel free to make the content your own. To create or edit templates hover over your profile name in the upper right corner and choose “Update Mail Templates“.
  • Link refers to either a link to a specific page in your portal or a document that you previously uploaded to any of your funds.
  • Click “Save Campaign” to save the campaign for later  or “Launch Campaign” to send the message out immediately:

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 14.59.20

 

You can find the campaign report to the right from the title of the campaign. The numbers show how many messages were sent in the campaign; how many of them were opened; how many links included in the message (if any) were clicked; and how many messages failed to be sent for some reason (usually because of the wrong email address). The report updates automatically every twenty minutes.

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 14.32.17

 

You can choose to View Report where you can see more detailed information about the recipients, as well as status on each of the messages.

 

SUMMARY:

Create a new mailing list  → Go to the Campaigns tab  → Click the “Create Campaign” button → Choose a mailing list → Fill out the form → Save or Launch → Check the report of the campaign

 


3. My Fund has received a new certificate and I would like to share a copy of it with the investors. How can I share the document with a group of investors?

It’s easy to create a new campaign and share a document. Head on over to the Campaigns section, and click the “Create Campaign” button. Now on the left, you can select the recipients by picking them from the drop-down.

If the list you’re hoping to send to doesn’t exist yet, return to the Users section and create one! (Please find instructions in the previous use case.)

Once you created the new mailing list, choose the new mailing list and edit the rest of the form. If you wish to share a new document, you need to upload it to the chosen fund before creating the campaign. (Funds tab → Fund X → Documents tab → “Upload Document” button) Then, whether you share a document or a link to a page, simply choose the item from the dropdown list under LinkClick the “Launch Campaign” button to instantly send the campaign message.

SUMMARY:

Create a new mailing list  → Add (new) document to the fund → Go to the Campaigns tab → Click “Create campaign” → Choose the newly created Mailing List  → Choose a link or a document →  Fill out the rest of the form → Click “Launch Campaign”→ Check the report of the campaign

 


4. I have been running my fund using FundPortal for three months. Last month I sent a monthly update newsletter which turned out to be very successful, I would like to replicate it. How do I do that?

Under the Campaigns tab, you find a list of past campaigns as well as the short report of their success rate.

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 14.32.17

A successful campaign will usually have a high number of opened email and/or clicked links. If you click on the “View Report” button you can see a specific overview of users the campaign was sent to and the message status (“Opened” is desired; if status is “Re-send” it means that the message failed to be delivered and you can try and send it again by clicking on the “Re-send” link).

You can choose any campaign launched in the past and send it again. By simply clicking on the “Duplicate” button you will enter a form where all of the fields will be filled out as a copy of the chosen past campaign. You can easily change any of it and send as a new campaign by clicking “Launch Campaign”.

 

SUMMARY:

Go to the Campaigns tab → Choose a campaign → Click “Duplicate” → Edit the form if needed → Launch Campaign → Check the report of the campaign



FundPortal 3.12 – Full specification of the changes

User management:

The way that you control the data is now revamped, allowing for a CRM-like experience. Specifically, some of the changes include:

– Ability to upload all of your users/contacts databases into the FundPortal, without automatically sending an invitation or email

– Fully editable user data

– Ability to add and keep notes on your users, only visible to you

– Ability to easily manage user permissions (privilege levels) across multiple funds

– Ability to create lists of users for easy management and emailing

– Visitors to your website will be able to fill in a form to register inbound interest (signup requests): these requests go straight to your users’ table, making it easy to grant access

Communication:

The way you use the FundPortal to stay in touch with your investors has also changed:

– You can create email campaigns for your periodic communications, similar to Mailchimp

– You can now email any user or list of users, giving much more flexibility with your investor relations

– Fully customizable emails within the FundPortal, with the ability to save all your email templates to be reused often

– Advanced analytics on the performance of those campaigns; you will be able to see how many emails were delivered, opened, clicked and bounced

– You can duplicate a successful campaign at a click of a button

Miscellaneous:

– Ability to add/remove admin users with one click (Admin will be the highest Privilege Level)

– Ability to see new requests and take immediate actions

– No more CSV files for bulk uploads or updates: only Excel files with better formatting

– Clear and precise status of each of your sent emails: a complete trail of all your outgoing communication

AIMA Next Generation Manager Forum 2018: Our Experiences

Friday 8th of June: World’s best class Hedge Fund Managers, International Allocators, and expert service providers met in Amba Hotel in London, to share the preliminary results on AIMA‘s next survey: ‘Making it big’. The idea is to track and replicate the evolution of a Hedge Fund from start-up to a billion dollars in assets under management and beyond.

@Edgefolio is a co-author of this survey, so if you fall into the category of ’emerging hedge fund’, please fill in the survey here.

So, let’s get to it. What did we learn?

From basement to boardroom: Managing the operations of the hedge fund business.
Key takeaways:
1. Before outsourcing, make sure you got the ‘why’ behind right:
-Do you want to bring in expertise?
-Do you have too many responsibilities under your belt?
-Is it just cheaper to do so?

Answering those questions will help you understand to whom and how you should approach this topic. Another thing to consider: How are you going to stop outsourcing, and bring it back in-house? You need to have specific goals and milestones in your plan, otherwise, it’s a game against time. You need to eventually to do so, so plan ahead.

TLDR; Outsourcing is a good option for the beginning, but make sure you hire the correct people and have a concrete ‘exit’ plan in mind.

Finding and mining: Raising and maintaining assets for the hedge fund business.
Key takeaways:
1. Hiring a Key Marketer/BD manager early is super important. This person should be:
– Someone who understands the strategy and the methodology of your fund
– Someone who is flexible (especially in the beginning, there will be lots of pivoting, reviewing and revising of your strategy and key activities. Find a person who doesn’t say ‘ this isn’t what I signed for’)
– Someone who shares the same Business Values as you.

Be open, flexible and commercial

2. Break-even. That sweet moment when you know you finally cracked it. How to reach it?
– Test your strategy and build your track record. Cap intro companies and managed accounts can support you here.
– Create a well-articulated Business Plan, for 3,6 months pre-lunch, and then for 3,6,9,12 months after.
– Show to investors the future of your strategy
– Generate Alpha, and when meeting an investor make sure you are able to demonstrate and articulate what you are doing in a glance. Be prepared for the follow-up Question. HOW? What value do you add to the market?
– Again, answer this question: Why should people care about you and your fund? How are you different from the 100s of funds out there?

3. Marketing. How to start and not lose the vision in those first difficult moments.
– Consistency is the key. Start from the beginning and make sure you build your brand correctly. DDQs, Newsletters, presentations. All should say the same story.
– Marketing is not just about bringing NEW investors to your firm. It’s about creating a world-class IR process and making sure everyone knows what is happening in your fund.
– You don’t get a second chance. Investors need to know that you are serious from the start.
– Hiring a good Marketer is not an option! (see point 1)

While you are head down building your track record, there are still opportunities for you out there. Meet people, lawyers, investors -write thought pieces, white papers, GET your name out there. The industry is fragmented. Keeping an open line with the world is important.

Tomorrow’s hedge funds: what will they look like?
It’s evident that AI will play an important role in Hedge funds, especially to systematic strategies. What is important here, is to see how Technology will support the Hedge funds in their operation side.

1. Build the correct processes.
– Create a ‘rating system’ for your investors
– Pre-qualify before a meeting
– Ask for feedback, every-time.
– Investors receive 100’s of emails every month. You need to be something to be memorable.
– Target the specific allocators for your strategy.

(If you want to see how our tech helps Hedge funds do exactly these, book a meeting here.

Sometimes Investors are just making noies and looking for information. They might not want to invest, at least not at the moment. Make sure it’s a real opportunity. Time is precious.

2. Be tremendously honest with what you do. There are so many investors out there (as Hedge Funds) which means that you will always find the correct match for your fund. Good month? Share the world. Bad month? Share the news! Be an open book to your investors and prospects, and they will gladly come to you when your strategy fits their needs.

3. Review and revise. Like everything else in life, every now and then, check your processes, keep doing what works and change what doesn’t. Eventually, you will find the optimal approach. (having analytics help in this. A LOT)


 

So this is it, the first meeting of AIMA’s Next Generation Forum. Quite soon, we will share the results of the survey, so keep in tune to get them first. Questions? Comments? Feedback? Let us know!

And of course, feel free to connect with us on twitter, LinkedIn, or join our newsletter here! 

Edgefolio team

Fundportal Changes coming soon

 

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During the past few months, we worked hard on the new release of FundPortal. (In the same time we made sure that GDPR is not an issue, as well as shared insights on world’s class Marketing Practices and on how to build a Fundraising machine)

All the upcoming changes are focused on the Communication and User Management part, based on your suggestions and feedback. The goal of those improvements is to make your life easier, creating a short-of CRM inside the Fundportal.

New Features Include:

  • A fully editable Users table: a light CRM right into your FundPortal
  • Email Templates: save the email messages you send most often to easily create new campaigns
  • Email Marketing Campaigns: similar to Mailchimp, with advanced statistics on emails delivered, opened, bounced, etc.
  • Lead Capture form on your portal login page: let new users reach out to you

Important Improvements:

  • User Management: no need to invite users anymore, simply create and edit your users details freely, and communicate with them independently
  • Easier management of User Privileges: Add and remove Users, make Admins
  • User Communications: clear and precise status on each of your emails sent to users, preserving the entire history of your past campaigns
  • Editable E-mail Subjects: Be able to see how your mail looks before sending it out
  • Bulk upload and edit of Users data made easier and more reliable

 

We hope you like what is coming. You will find more information about the release and details about the new functionalities soon.

We want to thank each and every one of you individually, for your valuable insights and ideas on how to improve our service.

Please share your thoughts and suggestions here in the comments or feel free to contact our team directly!

With kindest regards,

Edgefolio team

 

Fund Marketing: The Hidden Costs of Fundraising & The Role of Technology

Let’s breakdown the cost-base for the fundraising arm of a fund, which consists of 1 senior fund marketer:

Tangible Costs

  • Senior Salary + Oncost: £100k p.a *1.4 = £140k p.a
  • Overheads (office rent, technology, etc) = £30k
  • Travel Expenses per annum (assuming 4 conferences p.a) = £60k

Total Costs: £230 k p.a

Let’s make a simple (but fair) assumption that the job will consist of

  • 20% lead generation: cold-calling and cold-emailing prospective investors
  • 20% Putting material together: factsheets presentations & DDQs
  • 20% IR function: Handling ad-hoc investor / prospect requests for documents
  • 20% Sales: spent on actual calls and meeting with ‘qualified’ investors / building pipeline
  • 20% spent on thoughtful follow ups / pushing deals to the next stage & updating CRM

Hidden Cost 1: Expensive Admin Tasks

The opportunity Cost of doing non-sales related tasks, inevitably impacts the time it takes to achieve a set goal: say of raising $10m in the next 12 weeks.

In the above example, £92k is spent on non-sales related tasks every year, whilst £46k is allocated to lead generation.

#Yikes

Both of these areas can be remedied with the use of technology. For example, there are around half a dozen or so on-line marketplaces that help automate lead generation for fund managers, and there are some great technologies that automate the generation of factsheets, presentations and so on. Shoot me a note if you would like to know some names.

Hidden Cost 2: Factsheet Distribution is risky business

In part 1 we went over just how risky sending factsheets really is in the era of GDPR, andpart 2 outlined the lacklustre engagement and enthusiasm investors have towards receiving 100s of flat file pdf in their inbox every month, that they did not give their explicit consent towards receiving.

It’s an ineffective habit with a downside of EUR 20m. Just stop it already.

Hidden Cost 3: Opportunity Cost = Stunted Growth

Ok, this is a biggie. Let’s geek out a little to some Physics.

Escape Velocity is the minimum speed needed for an object to escape from the gravitational influence of a massive body. The escape velocity from Earth is about 11.186 km/s (6.951 mi/s; 40,270 km/h; 25,020 mph) at the surface.

In the case of Hedge Fund launches, our research spanning over 15,000 (both live and graveyard) funds since 1995 suggests that they too are subject to an escape velocity. Here’s the threshold:

If you don’t reach $115m within your first 3 years in AUM, the data suggests that there is an 89% chance you never will.

Conversely, 63% of the funds that reached $115 within the first 3 years of AUM enjoyed steady inflows and grew beyond $250m within the subsequent 2 years.

Time is of the essence when scaling a fund, so Fund Marketers should be looking at ways to expedite the sales cycle whilst reducing inefficiencies.

Below is a quick cheat sheet on the 5 stages of a sales and marketing plane, their pre-requisites, and where the hidden costs come into play

Bringing it all back to the basics

In part 3 we looked at the 6 ingredients a sales professional needed to be set up for success in this business. Three of these ingredients (Goals, Cadence, and Accountability) depend entirely on your determination. The three others (Focus, Sales Plan, & Execution), require a bit more than your will power.

This is where it gets interesting.

In terms of Focus, a lack of access, market intel, and not being able to cut through cognitive biases (investors being too polite to say ‘no’)will lead to a significant amount of time being wasted on leads who aren’t interested or just filling a quota of managers they have to speak with on a weekly basis.

In terms of Sales Plan, a lack of regulatory understanding, poor comms and engagement, and not being able to measure one’s impactopens up a Pandora’s box of problemos. At the very least you are risking no engagement with investors, and at the extreme you are risking a reputational hit with a regulatory sanction, that could wind up being fatal for the firm.

Finally, in terms of Execution, the lack of a robust & frictionless workflow, will lead to too many resources being allocated to admin tasks that technology can pick at pennies on the dollar.

So What Now?

When the landscape for assets is shifting in favour of cheaper, more liquid ‘smart’ products (ARP, ETFs, UCITS etc.) the industry will inevitably need to embrace the scale that technology offers in order to remain competitive.

As part of a subsequent series of posts I will aim to map out a technology utility belt that would make Batman envious (if he was a fund marketer). I’ll be diving into how fund marketers have been leveraging various technologies to growth hack their way to a happy place, and share some key learnings along the way.

Very Best,

Léopold

Fund Marketing: How to build a capital raising machine.

Sales professionals are the face of the organization, the conduit of information, and the buffer zone to the PMs’ headspace. They have the ability to make or break the fund. So it’s important that salespeople are set up for success from the get-go.

In today’s piece we’re going to show you how to make a capital raising machine, and for the real connaisseurs, we will explore the potential pitfalls of the approach, and how you can leverage technology to do some of the heavy liftings and add some spice into the mix in our next piece.

Ingredients

Bar a great product (largely out of their control), a fund sales professional requires the following to be measurably successful:

  • Goals: Where you want to take the fund over the next 12 weeks
  • Focus: Know your market, and who you are going after. This is crucial
  • Sales Plan: The actions you need to take to stay true to your goals with a high degree of certainty
  • Execution: Following through with meticulous precision
  • Cadence: The discipline to stick to your process and achieve mini steps with regular frequency
  • Accountability: Learning from the mistakes, and owning the upside

Recipe:

Goals

Where do you want to take the fund over the next 12 weeks. Why 12 weeks? I hear you ask:

Thinking about what you can achieve in terms of years (annualised thinking) is the death of cadence and predictability, it also makes it really hard to keep one’s self honest around accountability and ownership. A 12 week horizon paves the way for bitesize goals and steady progress.

There is a superb book/audiobook on this subject, The 12 Week Year, you can find it on Amazon here.

For the sake of this piece, let’s assume our goal is to raise assets by $10m over the next 12 weeks.

Focus

Focus only on the relationships you currently have on tap, and the relationships you need to develop in order to hit your 12 week goals. This is actually hard to do, so focus on this alone. Nothing else matters

e.g. $10 = 2 x $5m tickets. Ticket size matches family offices, organise your contacts, time frame indicates that prospects should already be engaged. Identify a shortlist of top 10 investors for the next 12 week sprint.

Plan

This is the easiest part. Just try to make it realistic and detailed enough.

Here’s a handy stencil for the plan:

  1. Build a hit-list of investors that tick these boxes: Type, Territorial, Size, and Ideological fit
  2. Figure out how you are going to approach, communicate with, engage and qualify prospects effectively (not distribution emails, read my last article on that). And spare a few thoughts on certain practices that are downright risky
  3. Set some weekly KPIs that fall out of the above to keep yourself honest e.g: #meetings, #calls, #conferences /week
  4. Measure your results daily, and honestly

Execute

Follow your plan (like a ninja, preferably).

Cadence

Story Time.

The epic showdown of Amundsen and Scott as they went head-to-head to conquer the South Pole sheds a tonne of light on the power of cadence.

Scott, the hard headed Brit, took horses and marched his men as far a they could go on fair weather days, and rested on bad weather days.

Amundsen, the determined Norwegian, took dogs, and marched his men 20 miles a day come rain, blizzard, storm or shine.

Owing to a combination of unpredictable weather, poor choice in four legged companions, and his fair-weather approach, Scott and his men burned through their supplies much faster, progressed slower, and eventually burnt out – succumbing to the elements.

Amundsen, by contrast, ploughed through the harshest and most unpredictable of environments and hit his goal of 20 miles every day, was the first human to reach the South Pole, and even lived to tell the tale.

For the fund sales professional: her environment is harsh (investors) and unpredictable (markets), and she might just find comfort in Amundsen’s approach.

Accountability

Accountability is not consequences, but ownership. It is a character trait, a life stance, a willingness to own your actions and results regardless of the circumstances

You can choose not to follow through, not to have cadence, and not to have laser like focus. Accountability is not something that is imposed on you, but something you adorn.

If you own your goals, you are far more likely to chip away at them and make an impact.

Own your goals.

Deus ex Machina

By working with leading Hedge Fund Marketers, and Sales Professionals across the industry, we have found that the most consistent pattern for success has been the combination of these key ingredients.

By setting a clear goal, with ruthless focus and impeccable execution your fundraising machine will outperform most of the industry. Adding the essential benefits of cadence and accountability will lock in a process that will have your firm feasting for years to come!

 

In the next piece, we will explore the hidden costs of fundraising, and how with a little introspection we can fine tune your fundraising machine into a rocket.

Hedge Funds – The 20m EURO Question: Is your marketing in breach of GDPR?

It’s long been said that the Hedge Fund industry is a conservative one, in which old habits die-hard. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

Fund Marketer: “Thank you for your time, very nice meeting you.”

Investor: “You too, put me on your distribution list and we’ll follow up”

The marketer will oblige the request and add yet another email address to a growing and unwieldy distribution list.

In this article, we will dive into:

  1. Why this seemingly harmless task could end up on the wrong side of GDPR costing your firm EUR 20m or 4% of global turnover, whichever is higher.
  2. Next, we will look at this practice through the lens of efficiency, whilst it might be the easiest task in the world to attach a pdf and hit ‘send all’, hence efficient from the marketer’s standpoint, it’s certainly one of the least efficient ways of engaging investors. Part 2 will essentially unveil the hidden costs of raising capital the old school way.
  3. Last, we will take these ‘hidden’ pain points and demonstrate how technology, in all its 21st Century wonder has moved on from the sludge of pdfs and emails towards a better, safer and more compliant way of working.

The Perils of Emailing Factsheets

(This is important if any of your prospective investors are based in the EU, or if the fund manager is based in the EU).

Show of hands: How many of you have given much thought to your monthly distribution email? My guess: not many. Here’s the rub…

Since 25th of May, GDPR is in full swing. This means that when you next send out a distribution email to a list of recipients, you’re going to have to think a bit more broadly about what hitting that send button means. Here’s a decision tree to help you do just that:

gdpr tree

If you’ve ended up on ‘Mamamia, get your house in order, pronto’, you are far from being alone:

In fact, in a recent survey of over 50 European Hedge Funds who are users of the Edgefolio platform, 80% fell into this category. 17% were ahead of the curve, with 3% choosing to stop sending distribution emails altogether post 25th May ( à la JD Wetherspoon).

So what’s the downside? You might want to sit down for this part…

Should any of your recipients report you to the Informations Commissioners Office (or equivalent) for a breach of privacy, and you are found to be on the wrong side of GDPR, you can face a fine of up to EUR 20m or 4% of global turnover, whichever is larger.

#Ouch.

Upon reflection, there are only a handful of Hedge Funds who could theoretically survive such a hit and come out unscathed, if you are one of them, my congratulations. However, if you are not the life-incarnation of Bobby Axelrod, then exercising a little caution could be a little more appetising. Here’s the math :

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  • Average AUM: $100m
  • Average fee structure: 1.5 & 15%
  • Average annualised performance: 9.3% (Edgefolio HF index)
  • $1.5M in Management Fees
  • $1.4M in Performance Fees
  • EUR 20M > 4% of $3.9m = “Merde”

Merde indeed. At this point I suspect Fund managers will be asking the question:

Yes, but how likely is this to happen?

Whilst the widely held view is that it is a deterrent, rather than an active force (the carrot, rather than the stick), hopefully this won’t be a material threat.

However, nothing is stopping other member states or indeed the Europeans from making your firm the example. And the EC has a penchant for publicly aired fisticuffs with everyone’s favourite scapegoat of the moment.

On the surface, non-compliance would appear to be a fool’s game. With the downside so large, why risk your fund & firm, for an emailing list?

Indeed, what is it about this approach to marketing that has survived the test of time?

It would be unfair of me to just point at the downside without highlighting the merits brought about by mass emailing your non interactive pdf to thousands of investors, whose inboxes are inundated with thousands of equally exciting emails.

The question I would like answered, is the following:

Does factsheet distribution by email even deliver any material benefit? Or is it just the crystallisation of habit?’

Requiem for an Impact

Scale.

It’s what organisations strive for in everything they do. It boils down to having a measurable impact resulting from a seemingly simple, yet amplifiable process.

Whilst the idea of sending emails to thousands of recipients has the air of a scalable operation, it is the aspect of measurable impact, or the lack thereof that ultimately determines whether any discernible value was created, for you, the firm and the investors.

We live in a data-driven world, which is also full of noise and hubris. Allocators, owing to the fact they manage other organisations capital, are more risk averse and focused on accessing data than ever before.

They are more demanding towards fund’s processes, all to achieve a greater sense of security and comfort that they know what is going on with their clients’ capital.

Bottom Line: Processes matter as much as performance for allocators.  

So with that in mind, does a flat file pdf constitute meaningful data?

Short answer, no.

Is what you are sending valuable?

In Jan 2018 we interviewed over 30 institutional investors and allocators as part of our UX efforts, and inferred that the following are the most important points for the modern investor in 2018:

  • The ability to access real timely data, whether it be performance or exposures
  • The ability to port this data efficiently (downloadable, or API access)
  • The ability to analyse, manipulate and test this data under various inputs
  • The ability to access all documents and content from a manager in one place

The modern day investor requires data, interactivity, and self service. Factsheets are useful, but they are part of a broader bouquet of information that will ultimately assist the investor in accelerating their decision making. The classic Win-Win

Measurable Impact

Next, according to data compiled from Mail Chimp, Mandrill, and other similar services, the open rate for these distribution emails (within asset management) hover just above 3%. Whilst the click through rate weighs in at a measly 1%. So if you were to send an your factsheets to a sample size of 1000 investors, you will likely get 10 investors reading your factsheet. Meh, right?

The fact that of the top 100 hedge funds by AUM, 95% do not share investor related information via email, but rather via a secure portal speaks volumes. They have done their own assessment, and realised that the upside of blasting emails is somewhat limited.

Other considerations

A very real risk, and this has happened more than a few times, is the error prone fund marketer who sends the factsheet, with all recipients in Cc: Nightmare. Huge reputation risk for a tiny mistake.

A final consideration is the security aspect around the integrity of your data. Emailing an attachment opens up all sorts of undesirable outcomes, e.g. your material ending up fwd: fwd: fwd: to the press, to a competitor, and worse still to a retail investor. 

Balancing Act

As a fund marketer you want investors to be informed about what you do, but not at the risk of a EUR 20m fine for 10 investors clicks? That’s EUR 2m per click!

Investors want actionable data, but they are getting thousands of pdfs in their inbox every month. The fund marketer wants to add an element of scale to the business, but the lack of engagement makes it near impossible.

This is a broken process, and it’s not going to impress investors. Something has to give.

There is good news, however.

Are there better ways of doing this in a GDPR world?

Yes, they’ve been around and part of the industry for a while. Portals. However, this really only solves the ‘all documents in one place’ slice of the pie. As a result they all tend to look the same, do the same thing, and don’t drive engagement. I mean how exciting can a slower more painful windows explorer in an i-frame be? (sorry Intralinks). So good-ish, but not quite there.

There exists one solution, Fundportal, which combines data, content and documents and top notch security to give the investors and allocators the fresh and convenient destination for all their needs. And it ticks all the boxes:

  • GDPR compliance with opt-ins built into the on-boarding process
  • MiFID II compliance with logging of investor communications
  • Jurisdictional self certification
  • Self-service document room
  • Interactive data and analysis tools
  • Engagement rates of around 10% of entire audience. 10x increase on the incumbent
  • Secure and encrypted
  • Dynamic watermarking and time-stamping of content
  • Robust permissioning system to unlock access to content that is relevant to the investors’ stage in the sales cycle.
  • It looks amazing on iPad, and is blazing fast

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You want to see how this works? Schedule a demo with us!

Léopold Gasteen, Founder of Edgefolio

 

Edgefolio builds digital capital introduction platform for Thalēs Capital Partners

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Edgefolio is proud to work with Thales Capital Partners, a New York-based derivatives broker and placement firm servicing the alternative investment industry.

Today marks the official launch of Thales Agora – a digital platform targeting the institutional investor community that enhances and streamlines the traditional capital introduction model.

Agora provides institutional investors analytical tools to discover, analyze, compare, monitor, and connect with hedge fund managers interactively. Hedge funds invited to join Agora can efficiently share information about their firms and strategies as well as market commentaries directly with institutional investors. Agora, which launched in private beta in late 2017, is by invitation-only to verified institutional investors and hedge funds who receive complementary access to the platform.

Edouard Robbes, President of Thalēs Capital Partners, said “With the launch of Agora, we are integrating the latest advancements from the fintech space with our deep expertise in capital raising to deliver an efficient online experience while maintaining our high touch approach.”

He added: “Since our inception, we have consistently invested in and developed technology solutions to create efficiencies for our clients. We are thrilled to have partnered with Edgefolio whose approach and product stand out in their market segment.”

Marc Cohen, CEO of Thalēs added “More than a database, Agora is a dynamic ecosystem which elevates the manager sourcing experience, increases visibility for managers, and vastly improves the outdated and time-consuming traditional capital introduction approach. By allowing investors to connect directly with managers, Agora also goes beyond traditional hedge fund databases which provide limited if any engagement.”

Leo Gasteen, Founder of Edgefolio, commented: “The partners at Thalēs are among the most connected individuals in our industry. Their passion for technology and vision for the industry have been a positive force and a useful resource in refining our mission.”

Agora is the result of a close collaboration with Edgefolio, a fintech company specialized in simplifying interactions within the hedge fund industry.

 

Edgefolio’s technology to power Nomura, Asia’s Global Investment Bank

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Edgefolio is proud to have been selected as a technology provider to Nomura. This partnership marks the entry for Edgefolio into the Asian markets and brings Nomura’s Hedge Fund clients to the forefront of the industry’s movement towards greater transparency and stronger compliance – all in a powerful digital environment.

Dan McNicholas, Head of Capital Introductions, said, “Nomura is pleased to partner with Edgefolio as our hedge fund clients will see huge benefits from accessing this platform, bringing them closer to the investors and pools of capital that they otherwise might not be able to find.”

Rowen Pillay, Co-Founder of Edgefolio, added, “Throughout 2017, we have witnessed an increase in the number of searches for Asian Hedge Funds. The strong performance in this region has definitely attracted the attention of our global investor base. We are delighted to partner with Nomura to expand our footprint in Asia”.

The partnership will involve the rollout of Edgefolio’s Fundportal solution to Nomura clients, in turn, giving them access to a large global Institutional Investor base through the Edgefolio Hedge Fund platform.

The Fundportal solution is particularly beneficial to Hedge Funds looking for increased global reach, with scale and efficiency at the heart of the proposition.

Join the Hedge Fund industry online

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Already an Edgefolio client? Contact us to take advantage of Nomura partnership pricing.

Edgefolio’s founder talks to Business Reporter on the future of asset management

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Edgefolio’s founder, Leo Gasteen, shares his views on machine learning and the future of the asset management industry.

Access the full article and Business Reporter interview here.

“Asset management 2.0 will be characterised by AI (robo-advisers) and data-driven decision-making, necessitating the need for a centralised data-aggregating product where key stakeholders in the space can interact. At Edgefolio, this is exactly what we are building – a marketplace connecting allocators with fund managers in a compliant, secure and beautiful way.

Edgefolio is building a global product. Our vision is to serve both institutional and retail investors alike – covering a broad range of products – traditional and alternative – across the full spectrum of the asset management space”.