In partnership with our client Red Cedar Investment Management, we discuss the challenges, opportunities, and trends impacting the investment management industry. Red Cedar CEO and Chief Investment Officer John Cassady lends his insights and perspectives.
How to reach clients and prospects
If you want to get in front of the clients, get your message out. It used to be, you could go up there, you could do an hour-long presentation with PowerPoint, fancy slides and all that. We, we still do that. There's a time and a place for that, but in terms of reaching our intended client or the market, a lot of times now, it's using media such as this right here, where we're getting out, recording a message, whether a podcast, a webinar, or filming something that we can get our point across over a matter of five, 10 minutes. People just don't have the ability to sit down and read a 25-page technical paper on what's going on in the markets anymore. So, we've definitely embraced that.
A social media platform like LinkedIn, that can be very powerful. It helps us reach a lot more people than say we could have reached 20 years ago in terms of getting our message out. So, LinkedIn is one thing. But you do need to be careful from a compliance standpoint. The same SEC rules still apply. So we have to make sure that we're, from a compliance standpoint not saying anything that we’re not supposed to. But that can be a challenge, but LinkedIn is a very powerful tool to get the message out.
Marketing is not straightforward in this business. A lot of times it can take anywhere from six to 24 months from the time you start with a potential client until something actually gets done. So it's a long game here, but it does have to start with that initial contact. And what's their first impression of your firm? How helpful are you in educating the plan or the plan sponsor or the directors?
And, and so that's what we're here to do. To just try to get the ball rolling and then ultimately more and more touch points can potentially lead to a new mandate.
And I think one thing you have to understand in this business is you cannot be all things to all people. There, there are some behemoths out there who certainly offer a menu of products that spans the gamut from ultra conservative to really aggressive, and they do a good job at that. But, for most of us in this business, it's understanding who you are, knowing that if you have a product that could be a niche, or fulfills a certain need, then you target market yourself to those particular institutions.
We are a 15-person firm and we need to, in some respects outsource some of the things we're trying to do from a marketing perspective. So in that vein, it's important for us to have a trusted partner like ddm who can help us get our message out to the masses, whether it's through a media presentation like this, or through helping us develop our website or some of the other things they do is developing fact sheets for our strategies. All those things are important to us, and it's nice to be able to depend on someone who has an expertise in this area, they don't just do this for us. They have done this for decades for other financial service firms. And so it's important for us to have that extension of ourselves with ddm as a partner.
Responding to economic recovery and rapid market change
In this COVID era, we have gone from basically a huge recession globally in this country to what I'll call mid-cycle, mid-economic cycle over the course of about 18 months. That is a pretty fast slide into recession then back into mid-cycle recovery. So as a result, we've had to be very nimble in moving the portfolio for different conditions, almost every three or four months over the last 18 months.
I think one thing you have to be cautious of though, as an investment manager is not to just jump because something changed so rapidly that you have to learn to filter out noise from what is a true market signal. And when stuff is coming at you rapidly, that becomes a real skillset to have. And, that's something we think we do well.
Initially we absolutely had to be in front of the clients, explaining to them, reassuring them that no, the world has not coming to an end. And thankfully we followed our process. I mean, it, would've been very, very easy to de-risk all the portfolios, run away and hide from it. But if we had done that, and then you got the ensuing rebound in the markets, we would not have been doing our clients any bit of decent service. And if we had taken that path.
Benefits of technology
I think technology also helps us on the investment management side of the equation. We have 15 people at our firm now, 13 of them are investment professionals. 20 years ago we never could have done what we do with such a small team right now. We, have our finger on the pulse of a lot of things, a lot of investments globally.
But technology allows us to do that. Keeping track of databases, live market feeds, live feeds on asset pricing, using a lot of the analytical tools that we've built here internally to determine what investments we want to make on behalf of our clients.
Capital flows around the globe with lightning speed, and you have to have the information to make the investment decision and make it quickly. And if you can't make those investment decisions quickly, then the client's going to miss out on the opportunity.
All these technology tools have enabled us to do things that we couldn't have done awhile back. And so that's very exciting for us, and it's very powerful as we move into the next phase of our, of our company here.