Robust offspring sets the standard

Standard Life Investments eschews the star manager approach, ensuring that the firm’s brand is consolidated by a strong team process and performances to match, writes Neal Underwood.

As with all asset managers, diversifying its distribution channels is important for SLI. On the high net worth side, it recently restructured its sales teams to give more geographically focused support to clients. It has also increased the number of local contacts for advisers and beefed up the business development desk. “If we can give high-quality, appropriate contact advisers will respond to that,” says Kerr. “We had a record breaking year in terms of net and gross sales, supported by advisers across the country. We want to broaden and deepen those relationships.”

Outside Britain, the firm has both wholesale and institutional distribution across Europe. A Gars equivalent was also launched in Australia, and there is an office in Boston looking at the American institutional marketplace.

Kerr is keen for SLI to be viewed as thought leaders and as offering support to the adviser community. “With our property campaign, we need to look to make sure we have the communication with advisers to back all that up. On the back of our absolute return education programme, which we put almost 1,000 advisers through in the last year or so, we’ve started a programme on fixed income. Advisers appreciate the deep insight. It’s about working in partnership with advisers. We’ve also got a programme of in-depth research with advisers, both online and face-to-face, which gives us a much better view of what they want from us. If we do something well, hopefully it has spin off benefits. The last thing they want is getting sales pitches all the time. It’s an investment that’s worth making in areas where we can add value.”