In this podcast I speak with David Scholtz of Mallow Street, the online community for institutional investors. Mallow Street serves a need, not only for institutional investors to become more familiar with social media, but it also fulfils a desire by pension funds to connect with each other and benefit from shared knowledge and wisdom.
Even though it is built around the institutional investment industry, the community is quite diverse with asset managers, lawyers, pension funds, trustees, academics and other types of members that focus on the challenges of institutional investing from different angles.
Listen to the podcast.
What we discussed:
We live in world where the customers move faster than companies. The same is true for pension funds and their trustees.
In many ways Mallow Street is like one big non-stop global conference. Its is a safe environment to discuss key topics and issues about the investment industry. It's also a bit like today's version of the old school business club.
We also speak about how todays tools are essentially made to satisfy the same needs we have always had. And, how new technologies always bring along new concerns - just as was the case when we went from telex to telephone to fax, and on to email. There is a recurring cycle of adaptation before we get comfortable and let people off the leash when it comes to communicating.
The risk of mis-representing your company has always existed in the offline world. In the interview, Baldwin shares an embarrassing experience - analog version of people's worst fears in social media - that taught him a big lesson about being mindful about what you say in public.
The reality is that with or without technology, you never really could get full control of what exactly got out to the world. The key deliverable for most companies is to prepare your people to safely communicate in an increasingly transparent world.
We also bring up the point that unless you are online as a business, you are essentially invisible to the world because the people you aim to do business with, find most of their information online.
This is especially true in the pensions industry, where the customers are individuals. They are not only pension savers but also about trustees that, in addition to sitting on boards of the pension funds, also have a day job that is usually not related to investments at all. That is why it is increasingly important to make sense to those kind of stakeholders and earn their attention as they use the internet to manage their information.
We will never be able to own our clients but we do have a shot at becoming the gatekeepers if we know how to send the right messages up to them. In other words, to become the thought leader of your customer is up for grabs for those who know how to correctly use these tools of communication. That is the big nugget.
I certainly do recommend taking 20 minutes of your time to listen to this deeply insightful podcast because there is a lot more that we covered.
If there is one major conclusion I took way from this conversation it is that while most asset managers are quite behind the curve when it comes to online communication, the pension fund industry seems to understand and execute strategies that are getting them closer to the people they want to serve.
Visit Mallow Street's webpage by clicking on the image below
About the author: Baldwin has been active as a business developer in the investment industry for more than 20 years. He is a partner at Silk Invest, a fund manager dedicated to the frontier markets. He was an early adapter of social media within the investment management industry. His efforts have helped position Silk Invest as one of the leading managers in the frontier space. In collaboration with Perfecta Partners, Baldwin also helps other financial services companies improve their content marketing and social media strategies.