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The results of the CIO Sentiment Survey broken down into investment impact and themes

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External relationships

The annual CIO Sentiment Survey found institutional investors’ number of external relationships with both consultants and managers spiked in 2020.

After consecutive years of streamlining and cutting back on the number of relationships, as well as larger asset owners bringing expertise in house, investors are seeking more partners and strategic relationships in 2021.

Respondents from large and small firms said they expect to allocate more to managers through 2021, with 46 per cent of respondents saying they expect an increase in the number of manger relationships in 2021 compared to 30 per cent of respondents saying the same in 2020.

“For the first time in many years, asset owners demonstrated interest in increasing the number of manager relationships,” says Anthony Skriba, senior consultant at Casey Quirk. “This represents a shift from the last several years where cost concerns and consolidation of the portfolio meant a concentration of partner firms.”

Survey respondents attribute the change to the growing complexity of their portfolios, as well as the push into risk assets and active allocations. The number of relationships spiked most among small investors which are calling on consultants to help them research managers particularly. Among larger institutional investors, 40 per cent said they didn’t use consultants at all, while 30 per cent of respondents said they also used consultants to help them research managers.

One important way managers and consultants can differentiate themselves from the pack is by supporting asset owners via technology-enabled services. 60 per cent per cent of respondents from large asset owners cited help integrating digital tools as the most important and valued asset management service.

"46 per cent of respondents saying they expect an increase in their number of manger relationships in 2021 "

Expected future change in # of manager relationships

By % of respondents, 2020 vs. 2021

30%
39%
31%
2020
80%
20%
23%
2021

key:

Increased
Unchanged
Decreased

Most valued services from asset managers

% of respondents ranking as a top 3 option, 2020

Small Plans

(<USD 50bn)

Quality of reports / information delivered

58%

Broad Portfolio advice/expertise

52%

Tailored thought leadership

43%

Investment focused services

42%

Seamless onboarding

42%

Content Delivery

35%
Large Plans

(>USD 100bn)

Investment focused services

60%

Digital tools

60%

Content delivery

60%

Broad portfolio advice/expertise

50%

Partner across products

50%

Tailored though leadership

50%

Broad portfolio advice, content delivery and investment focused services are valued across asset owners

"60 per cent of respondents from large asset owners cited help integrating digital tools as the most important and valued asset management service"

Survey respondents attribute the change to the growing complexity of their portfolios, as well as the push into risk assets and active allocations. The number of relationships spiked most among small investors which are calling on consultants to help them research managers particularly. Among larger institutional investors, 40 per cent said they didn’t use consultants at all, while 30 per cent of respondents said they also used consultants to help them research managers.

One important way managers and consultants can differentiate themselves from the pack is by supporting asset owners via technology-enabled services. 60 per cent per cent of respondents from large asset owners cited help integrating digital tools as the most important and valued asset management service.

See how technology is dominating investors’ decision making in operations