Perhaps, we should start by making known; we are not experts in capital market operations. No. The mien and character of operators in that market is very discriminatory; they are astute, sharp disposition, calculated, quiet and always busy working out and at the figures…they are not like lesser mortals like us who would have time to listen to cable network news channel, the BBC and Aljazeera, seeking who is in the news; capital market operators would rather align themselves with the likes Bloomberg, CNBC, financial journals and other financial news channels for market movements. They are always doing the mathematics of profitability and marginal earnings. To some of them, sitting at the trading floor of stock exchanges is constantly, online and physical presence, wheeling and dealing.
These guys do all they do to create wealth and manage wealth for their clients.
Another interesting aspect of their being is their disposition of trouble-free comfort; the quality of persons they keep as friends, associates and clients who support the assumption. They are friends to the rich and powerful, some, very carefully withdrawn from popularity.
Going by the list of CMO from the Securities and Exchange Commission – SEC NIGERIA – there are 429 registered capital market operators in our eco-space. Collectively, they cover market sectors, ranging from corporate investment advisory services, broker, dealer, registrars, issuing house, through fund/portfolio management, individual investment adviser, reporting accounting, and corporate sub-brokers, to trustee. In one way or the other, they grind the mill, working the numbers for wealth creation. Their market is defined and relatively small – wealthy and discerning big corporate bodies and the high net-worth individuals. It is this small size from among the huge population of poor and barely solvent population, that feeds their market. The level of competitiveness among these operators can only be imagined. Perhaps, their disposition as described earlier, owes to the professional responsibility and discipline.
It requires a lot of credibility and trust to be trusted with the size of funds these players work with. So, it can be excused if these fellows do not have time for social gathering; the risk of doing that is grave in every sense, indeed.
Yet, these market players are Brands.
A peculiar characteristic about the money market is the similarity between the Sell and Buy-side of its market. Same as with the supply side, its buy-side is characterised by ownership of wealth; their target audience/market are high net-worth corporate and individual personalities. They are discerning, informed and top-end in socio-economic profiling. In some cases, the market knows what the operators know (as offer). The need-set in such cases is basically Time invested in monitoring and dealing.
Yet, CMOs are brands that require brand management.
They are distinct in personality and character; as competitors, they must be distinctive in offer and promise; they must design and establish their individual personality profiling; they must stand and be distinguished by the promises they make, and they must separately be known for their competitive advantage(s). Some CMOs have been spot-on in building their brand personality(ies). Generally, however, there seems to be a measure of challenge in application of the fundamentals essential for building strong brands among CMOs, as is with the commercial brands in the consumer goods market, for instance. And surely, the difficulty, owes in part, to the peculiarity of the market and its players…starting from the mistaken perception and façade around the individual professionals (which is not due to any fault of theirs).
Managing investment management brands, therefore, requires a critical analysis of those peculiar ingredients critical for value rating, paying attention to both ends of the market – the Buy and the Sell sides.
Sourcing of funds
Size of investment portfolio
Safety of investment
Creativity on the part of brand (in wealth creation)
Speed of return on investment
Professionalism (on the side of brand) – funds sourcing and engagement
Next week, we shall look at the composite need-set for managing CMO brands, by first understanding the market operators’ expectations, when it comes to brand building, and in particular reference to the market operations.