Here’s the First II Ranking of European Asset Managers
Norges Bank Investment Management captured the No. 1 spot on the inaugural survey, followed by Fidelity, Capital Research & Management, Wellington, and BlackRock Investment Management (UK).
A group of seasoned firms have been recognized in Institutional Investor’s first-ever ranking of buy-side asset managers in Europe.
II asked investor relations officers to identify their top three asset management firms according to five attributes: active engagement to support and encourage long-term business plans; efficient engagement across funds; sector knowledge; ongoing feedback; and transparency.
More than 280 corporates awarded Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) the No. 1 spot in the inaugural survey. With only seven points behind — 240 compared to NBIM’s 247, Fidelity Management & Research took second, followed by Capital Research & Management in third. Wellington Management placed fourth, and BlackRock Investment Management (UK) rounded out the top five.
“We really put an emphasis on the partnership with management in the companies we own,” said Edward Young, global head of corporate access and research at NBIM. “We really seek to engage with management teams to support them but also to challenge them as owners. I think that sets us apart.”
Young also credits the strength of the internal corporate access team NBIM set up in 2013 to manage and improve its engagement with companies.
“Having an internal team really helps with the coordination of meetings when a company offers us an engagement,” he added. “We’ll ensure that it reaches the broadest possible audience of investors at NBIM. That could be existing holders or potentially interested holders, so hopefully, from a corporate perspective, they see that increased coordination and professionalism when it comes to meeting offers.”
When corporates engage with investors, they are looking for partnership. “When we take a meeting with a corporate, it’s important that it’s a two-way flow of information,” Young said. “We want management to answer our questions as candidly as possible, but we also want to give something back. So we’re always keen to provide feedback as part of those meetings.”
He added, “We want management teams to come out of a meeting with us thinking that it’s been a really positive and valuable experience for them as well.”
What separates a good investor meeting from an average one is a two-way flow of information and a focus on the long term.
“I think management teams want questions that challenge them,” said Young. “We will be asking questions that are focused on long-term strategy, as opposed to being focused on the most recent quarter of results.” Additionally, NBIM has worked on integrating environmental, social, and governance factors in its investment process.
“This is an inaugural award, and we’re very honored to rank first within that, but I think this is really important to us because it’s an award that’s been voted on by the companies we’re invested in,” Young concluded.