Can Asset Management Firms be Data-Focused and Customer-Centric at the Same Time?

AXA Investment Managers Global Head of Customer Insight, Web Experience and Analytics Brian Stewart argues that the time has come for asset management firms to innovate their customer experiences

The asset management industry is not famous for its innovative customer experiences.  

However, in a competitive market even asset management firms can’t be complacent about fast-changing customer expectations, argues AXA Investment Managers Global Head of Customer Insight, Web Experience and Analytics Brian Stewart in this week’s episode of the Business of Data Podcast.

Helping AXA Investment Managers to understand not only what their customers buy, but why they buy it is at the core of Stewart’s mission, and data is the key.

“[The industry is] now really starting to understand the importance of this customer data, because [customer] interests are probably changing much faster than the industry can change, traditionally,” Stewart says.

“It’s leading to a transformation within our industry to become more agile and to really start to try to understand the things that people want to invest in,” he continues.

Like many organizations, AXA Investment Managers accelerated their digital transformation initiatives because of the pandemic. As customers began to interact with the firm more online, it gave them access to richer and more plentiful customer data.

“We’ve been able to collect an awful lot of information and data which we never had pre-pandemic,” Stewart notes. “Whether that be through webinars or online events, through our websites, our fund center, and so forth.”

Previously, data from different sources had been siloed in different systems and deployed in various models. Stewart’s team centralized their datasets and linked their marketing automation tools to a new CRM to create a fuller picture of their customers’ behavior.

At the same time, Stewart’s team helped to refresh the customer experience on their websites with a focus on easy access. This led to a massive increase in online traffic and subscriptions, a key metric for the firm.

“That led to that has led to more people coming to our website, but then more people go into our fund center,” Stewart says. “The fund center is the key part of our website where [you get] information on the funds that we sell and how they’re performing.”

According to Stewart, the key to the success of their strategy has been breaking down data siloes and connecting tools to a centralized CMS.

“Do not do things in silos,” Stewart warns. “It really just makes a rod for your own back. So, map it out, think it through, and then go for it.”

Key Findings

  • Follow your customers’ expectations. Even industries that have lagged in the past need to keep up with rapidly changing customer behavior.
  • Break down data siloes. If you can’t link your data then you won’t be able to build a complete picture of your customer.
  • Link your tools. Connecting the dots between your internal systems will produce more meaningful, data-driven insights.