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Situation

Standard Life Investments (now Aberdeen Standard Investments) developed a new strategy, Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS), which was architected by Euan Munro, head of multi-asset investing and fixed income, who later became the CEO of Aviva Investors.

However, with no peer group, no standard benchmark, and a product comprised of over 20 separate cross-asset strategies, the Edinburgh-based asset manager found it challenging to gain traction in the market. The higher level of complexity – and the additional fees that came with it – made it difficult to convince institutional consultants of the underlying investment benefits.

Solution

We simplified the story by using a single billion-dollar position against the Euro to illustrate the merits of the overall strategy. We linked that story to global macro themes to elevate GARS’ relevance and emphasized how it was breaking the mold with “outcome oriented” returns.

Results

We secured media coverage of the GARS strategy, including an interview and op-ed for Euan with Pensions & Investments. A story by Christine Williamson highlighted the lower risk of the GARS strategy through its illiquid model; Euan was quoted: “We’re trying to build a portfolio that survives not the most likely economic environment, but quite a few outcomes, including some that are quite messy.”

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