By now, the most loyal of our readers must have noticed an email sent out earlier this month (and subsequent mentions in our daily newsletters) announcing the launch of the Institutional Asset Management Awards, Fund Intelligence Group’s new effort to recognize the best-in-class asset managers serving the institutional community. However, in an industry replete with prizes, trophies and all sorts of appreciations, this announcement failed to answer a basic, yet so important, question: why add to this cacophony of elementary school-like recognitions?
We think the explanation is very simple and intuitive. Because no one has yet produced a series of awards recognizing the best investment managers as judged not by peers or friendly entities like trade organizations, but rather by the people who have the most at stake, investors themselves.
The Institutional Asset Management Awards will be decided in part by a panel of institutional investor judges with our editorial team facilitating the process. The “buy” side will recognize the best and brightest of the “sell” side – both through nominations and review of entries – not the other way around as is often the case in the space. Last time I checked, there was no smartphone app for restaurateurs rating patrons of their establishments. Yelp and similar applications are for customers rating the services they receive. That’s the experience we seek to replicate.
As this is the first year we will embark on this quest, we’ve decided to begin with a narrow scope. Our panel of judges will comprise a single group of institutional investor, non-profits located exclusively in North America. Foundations and endowments represent perhaps the smallest corner of the institutional market and, of course, there are plenty of fish outside the confines of American and Canadian borders. But, we wanted to make sure that the body of judges would be uniform, so that the awards would reflect true excellence and not differences in experience between various investor types. For that reason, we plan to divide our judges into two subgroups based on the size of the funds they represent; one with under $1bn in assets and another with over $1bn in assets. The larger the fund the greater the access it has to a wealth of investments, and consequently a different investing experience. We wanted this to be reflected in the awards and be a feature, not a bug.
Still, the awards are open to asset managers (and consultants for some categories) from all over the world, regardless of their size or specialization. We want to recognize the best managers in all major asset classes, as well as the most innovative firms. After all, non-profits and universities are the trendsetters of the investment world. Willing to experiment and use their endowments as a means to improve society.
So, please, join us in this effort. Click here to send your nominations. Entries will be open until September 15. Then check back for the results. On November 15, we will present the awards in a ceremony that will take place at The Pierre, the iconic Upper East Side Hotel.
Until then, feel free to write me with your thoughts and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All suggestions are welcome!
Editor, MMR & FER