Avida Blog

What's in a name?

What’s in a name?

An awful lot, judging by the effort and time devoted to choosing the “right” one. Most parents will empathise, as will many pet owners. 

The same applies in the world of business. Doubtless you have heard the argument: “Our organisation needs a name that tells the world what we do and what we stand for”.  

I have often wondered about how the industry I am most familiar with arrived at its name, Asset Management? Can this title be said to adequately address the 'what we do and stand for' test?


Letter to a customer

Twenty seven years ago I started out in the asset management industry. I was very excited to be entering the world of financial markets with its focus on macroeconomic-based decision making which I had been trained to do.

But my line manager at that time had other more immediate plans for me. And so for large parts of the first year in my role as fund manager I was given the task of replying on behalf of the organisation to letters from members of the public. This was after all the era before email.


The pace of change

It's amazing how in some cases the unimaginable becomes normal very quickly.

- Soccer matches played behind closed doors.

- Sugar-free Irn-Bru (non-Scots may need to research that one!)

- Trump in the White House.

Yet often-times change comes slowly.

During a recent client webinar I was struck by an observation from a participant – that the asset management industry has not witnessed a meaningful innovation in client relationship management in more than two decades.

Could that really be correct? Having pondered the matter ever since I admit to be unable to come up with an example I could use to refute this assertion. So I ask myself, how can this be?


Opportunities in lockdown

All around us for the past three months we have seen examples of individuals and businesses demonstrating initiative in support of others and of their clients. My personal favourites have been the local jogger dressed as Spiderman entertaining children in lockdown (and their parents!) and our favourite seafood restaurant thankfully deciding to promote a home delivery service.


Message to a customer

Like many of you I suspect, I have become more conscious of risk. At the outset of the COVID crisis, the prospect of having to go almost anywhere made me feel uncomfortable. This was especially true of the poor innocent supermarket. Perhaps I will have similar misgivings about offices, albeit to a lesser extent, when or if they ever again become a significant feature of how we do business.


The shape of recovery

There is considerable ongoing debate concerning the nature of the economic crisis that has been triggered by COVID-19, what the recovery will look like and how in can be best nurtured. The discussion typically begins with an assessment of whether the current recession will be shaped like a V, a U or heaven-forbid, an L, and proceeds to offer various options on how best to stimulate recovery. The economy, we are told can be nursed back to full health. 


Thinking about pension funds

Whilst they may not have attracted as much news attention as their sponsors, pension funds have also had to confront the impact of the crisis on both their funding levels and how they face into the future. Here's a non-exhaustive list of issues that require reflecting upon: 


Planning for business as unusual

If, like me, you “enjoy” your politics then recently there has been much to be entertained by. But in the midst of all this, it could easily have escaped the attention that we appear to have moved onto the next stage of the COVID-19 crisis. This has incorporated the taking of relatively modest decisions aimed at restarting our economies. We have been giving considerable thought to the challenges this poses for businesses which we would like to share. 


Be careful not to become over-committed to commitment

We all place considerable emphasis on commitment. We work hard to confirm our people are both committed to our organisational vision, and to ensuring that customer expectations are being met. Our investment teams are measured, at least in part by their commitment to philosophy, process and portfolio construction. Why even most LinkedIn profiles feature commitment as a key personal quality.

But can commitment sometimes create liability?


Eavesdropping on webinars

I am a member of a management consultancy focused on the financial industry. I enjoy what I do.

It certainly has been an interesting few months, during which I have had many conversations with clients, prospects and peers. In addition, I have participated in quite a few webinars, some internal others external, and all of them fascinating because of the insights I have drawn from them. There are a few I have picked up recently that I find especially thought provoking.