BlueCrest Capital Management

Best Investor Relations Team: Shortlisted

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BlueCrest Capital Management runs its 18-strong investor relations team out of London and New York.

The company's client services team is built around providing a quality, specialist service. This is achieved by assigning individual members of the team to specific client groups, such as family office, pensions, fund of funds and private clients, ech with the task of fully understanding each member of the client base.

"Fundamental to client services is the ability to achieve a deep understanding of what the investor is looking for. If we understand their business model and how they work as investors, what is key to them and how that fits with our own from a business perspective, we are better able to service them," explains Simon Dannatt, principal of the firm.

As an example he cites the effect of this understanding and of positive investor relations during the financial crisis. It was particularly important during that time to understand why investors were reacting in particular way.

Many were forced into accessing liquidity for their own business needs. By having a constant dialogue with investors not only was BlueCret able to respond to the individual circumstances of investors but it also meant the BlueCrest funds were often the last ones redeemed and among the first when investors started investing again.

Also key to the way business operates, stresses Dannatt, is effective communication. "While this sounds obvious, it is important that investors understand what is happening and why it is happening and that we address any concerns they may have as soon as possible. Where we can, that should be pre-emptive," he adds.

It is all too easy for investment management companies to focus purely on asset gathering to the detriment of their existing client base, he points out. That is something BlueCrest is very much aware of. Such an atitude can lead to decisions made for client benefit that seemingly act against the business' interests.

As an example Dannat points to the soft close of the BlueTrend fund even though there were investors queuing up to invest. This was done to protect the investments of existing clients. It was equally important to have effective communication around the decision, ensuring people were aware of why it had been taken. Investors received relevant updates to ensure they did know what was happening and why.

Clients, belives Dannat, appreciated the way in which BlueCrest respected the interests of its existing investors. BlueCrest's interests were aligned to that of its investors.

It is in these situations that operating specialist teams to cover specific client groups works well, says Dannatt. "The needs of a UK pension fund are going to be very different, for example, to those of a fund of funds. You need to appreciate that in terms of the skills and experience of the people covering them," he explains.

The same applies in terms of the client reports and other material produced, he adds. BlueCrest sends out weekly and monthly net asset value statements, monthly letters and risk reports and holds either monthly or quarterly calls, depending on the fund.

A fund of funds typically requires much more technical and granular reporting in terms of the trade detail they want, while a UK pension fund wants a much more tailored report about their portfolio of holdings and maybe not the same frequency of updates. Being able to support all client groups is crucial, says Dannat.

In this BlueCrest's specialisation is key. "A one-size-fits-all approach to your clients and across your fund base simply doesn't work," concludes Dannat.

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