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David Benway sets up consultancy to help managers attract new clients through digital and social media

Thursday, August 08, 2013
Opalesque Industry Update - Opalesque Industry Update - David Benway has launched College Lake Advisors, a consulting practice focusing specifically on the “client-facing side” of alternative asset management firms. The firm seeks to “improve all aspects of marketing, sales and client service; including the new opportunities in social and digital media.”

David Benway, Principal of College Lake and a 20-year veteran of Wall Street and alternative investment management, foresees an enormous new opportunity for fund managers to attract new clients. “The relaxing of restrictions on solicitation and a rapidly expanding digital media platform are colliding to form an explosive marketing channel,” notes Benway.

Under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, fund offerings organized under Rule 144A of the Securities Act of 1933 (as amended) will no longer be precluded from advertising to the public at large, provided investment managers are willing to comply with new investor qualification requirements and other procedures.

College Lake prepares managers for the coming wave of competition among firms for these new opportunities. One notable benefit is likely to be the introduction of a new crop of ‘thought leaders’ amid mainstream financial discourse. “In the last several years, the news on hedge funds and private equity firms has typically been filed under fraud, failure and greed,” remarks Benway. “Bringing fresh research insights, winning performance, innovative strategy and economic interpretation into everyday financial dialogue will showcase intelligent side of the industry and counter some of the reputation problems that have plagued this sector.”

College Lake works with investment managers to build a succinct message and a unified business development program as a part of a real asset management business. The College Lake platform incorporates everything from cloud-based CRM to social media.

In almost every case, the initial focus is the marketing presentation or ‘deck’, as it has come to be known. Stale bullet-point presentations are replaced with a suite of crisp materials that articulate the investment thesis and methodology. “Most marketing presentations are far too long, contain too many cliché diagrams and don’t follow an investor’s thought process,” remarks Benway. “This critical piece of material is a first date in a very long courtship and sets the tone for the diligence process.”

Data management is another key element of the College Lake program. Firms are encouraged to build a repository of performance and portfolio metrics from which materials can be drawn and updated. When properly constructed, materials can be updated quickly and disseminated to clients and prospective investors. “Getting the structure right can save an enormous amount of time and radically improve the service level,” Benway adds.

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