Our Client Relationships
We manage separate accounts on behalf of high net worth individuals and institutions. We believe that strong relationships with our clients are critical to our ability to succeed and to grow our asset under management. In building these relationships, we have focused our efforts where we can efficiently access and service large pools of sophisticated clients with our team of dedicated marketing and client service professionals.
We distribute our products to institutional and retail clients primarily through the efforts of our internal sales team, who calls on them directly and on the consultants who serve them, as well as through the marketing programs of our investment advisory partners. Since our objective is to attract long-term investors, our sales and client service efforts focus on educating our investors regarding our disciplined value investment process and philosophy.
Our marketing and client service effort is led by our 20-person business development team, which is responsible for:
• Identifying and marketing to prospective institutional clients;
• Responding to requests for investment management proposals; and
• Developing and maintaining relationships with independent consultants.
Direct Institutional Relationships
Since our inception, we have directly offered institutional investment products to public and corporate pension funds, endowments and foundations. Wherever possible, we have sought to develop direct relationships with the largest institutional investors, a universe we define to include plan sponsors with greater than $30 million in plan assets. Over the past few years, we have focused on expanding this direct calling effort to potential institutional clients outside of Southeast Asia.
We estimate that approximately 70% of all retirement plan assets are advised by investment consultants, with a relatively small number of these consultants representing a significant majority of these relationships. As a result of a consistent servicing effort over our history, we have built strong relationships with those consulting firms that we believe are the most important and believe that most of them rate our investment strategies favorably. New accounts sourced through consultant-led searches have been a large driver of our historical growth and are expected to be a major component of our future growth. We seek to develop direct relationships with accounts sourced through consultant-led searches by our ongoing marketing and client service efforts.
High Net-Worth Advisory Firms
We have accessed the high net worth segment of the investing community primarily through relationships with wealth advisers who utilize our investment strategies in investment programs they construct for their clients. Similar to our approach with consultants, we have targeted select firms around the world serving the family office and ultra high net worth market. We believe this approach leads to an efficient client servicing model and strong relationships with wealth advisers, who ultimately view us as partners in their investment programs. Occasionally, we establish direct separate account relationships with high net worth individuals.
Our client service team’s efforts are instrumental to maintaining our direct relationships with institutional and individual separate account clients, and developing direct relationships with separate accounts sourced through consultant-led searches. We have a dedicated client service team, which is primarily responsible for addressing all ongoing client needs, including periodic updates and reporting requirements. Our business development team assists in providing ongoing client service to existing institutional accounts. Our institutional distribution, sales and client service efforts are also supported, as necessary, by members of our investment team.
Our client service team consists of individuals with both general business backgrounds and investment research experience. Our client service team members are fully integrated into our research team, attending both research and company management meetings to ensure our clients receive primary information. As appropriate, we introduce members of our research and portfolio management team into client portfolio reviews to ensure that our clients are exposed to the full breadth of our investment resources. We also provide quarterly reports to our clients in order to share our investment perspectives with them.
We additionally meet and hold conference calls regularly with clients to share perspectives on the portfolio and the current investment environment.
We compete in all aspects of our business with a large number of investment management firms, commercial banks, broker-dealers, insurance companies and other financial institutions.
In order to grow our business, we must be able to compete effectively to maintain existing asset under management and attract additional ones. Historically, we have competed for assets under management principally on the basis of:
• The performance of our investment strategies;
• Our clients’ perceptions of our drive, focus and alignment of our interests with theirs;
• The quality of the service we provide to our clients and the duration of our relationships with them;
• Our brand recognition and reputation within the investing community;
• The range of products we offer; and
• The level of advisory fees we charge for our investment management services.
Our ability to continue to compete effectively will also depend upon our ability to attract highly qualified investment professionals and retain our existing employees.