Andreas Utermann, CEO and Global CIO, Allianz Global Investors,
talks to Kerstin Keller, Head of Institutional Marketing and Editor-in-
Chief Update Magazine, about the new brand positioning “Active is”.
Allianz Global Investors has sharpened its value proposition and brand positioning, with
“Active is” becoming the key statement. What does ‘active’ mean to you?
Andreas Utermann: First, “Active is” reflects our
commitment to active asset management. Too
often, active management is seen solely as a
job of selecting securities and measuring
performance against a benchmark index. While
that’s a core part of what we do, we think active
management involves a broader partnership
built around identifying clients’ needs.
We can use a diversified toolkit of strategies to
meet those needs, and adjust the approach as
required over the long term. Our toolkit includes
expert capabilities within and across asset
classes, that help us guide clients in a way that
is truly product-agnostic.
Whatever the arguments for active management,
however, active managers need to show that they
represent fair value. Our innovative pricing model
is one way in which we seek to build a common
understanding with clients of where and how we
Over the past year, with our “Active is”
positioning, we have refined our positioning to
accentuate our commitment to active, and set
ourselves apart in the marketplace.
But “Active is” doesn’t just reflect our commitment
to active asset management. Being active is
part of our DNA: it means leading change, taking
ownership, working flexibly and challenging
ourselves – among other aspects.
All of these commitments come together in our
brand promise – “Value. Shared.” – which
underscores our mission to work with clients to
address their challenges for the long run.
Why is active management important right now, and what difference does it make for
Andreas Utermann: Asset management is still
a fast-growing industry, yet it faces continued
scrutiny from investors and regulators alike.
Asset managers’ profit margins are tightening,
and we anticipate more industry consolidation as
a result. We expect the number of leading asset
management firms to reduce from the current
200 or so to less than 50 players in the near
future. Meanwhile, trust in the industry remains
low, and clients’ expectations continue to
And, while passive investment vehicles have
grown popular against the backdrop of a
prolonged bull market, they may not position
investors well when conditions – and
opportunities – change. Faced with a more
muted return outlook over the next five to
10 years, investors will need ways to work
their money harder.
Many investors are looking for alternative types
of investment that may deliver uncorrelated
Investors are demanding greater transparency
from their advisers: they want to know that the
fees they pay reflect the performance they are
Against this backdrop, we are focused on several
key projects that support our vision to be a global
active asset management leader. For example,
we’re simplifying our operational backbone, and
creating a global, state-of-the art and flexible
We continue to expand our active conviction and
alternatives investment offering. We’re extending
and diversifying our distribution footprint, and
we’re accelerating our digital transformation.
And, of course, we’re strengthening our brand to
emphasise the value we can add.
We hope that clients rely on us to be a trusted
and valued partner who puts their needs first.
You said that your “Value. Shared.” brand promise underscores your commitment.
What does “Value. Shared.” stand for?
Andreas Utermann: We are one of the few
truly global asset managers dedicated to
active management, managing more than
EUR 500 billion in assets for individuals, families
With “Value. Shared.”, we want to show that asset
management has the potential to generate long-lasting value, not
just for our clients but for all of our stakeholders.
We also have a broader social role to play.
Reflecting investors’ increasing desire to influence
companies and society, we are integrating
environmental, social and governance (ESG)
factors into our investment process. Not only does
this enable us to identify material risks, it allows
us to engage with companies to help enhance
governance and drive improved performance.
Other examples of our commitment to “Value.
Shared.” include our ability to co-invest in the
products that we recommend to clients. Many
clients find this attractive, especially for our
illiquid offering. From our perspective, co-investing gives us an even deeper understanding
of the outcomes that clients are looking to
We also develop products in partnership with our
clients, to find the solutions that work best for
them. This involves very engaging and productive
discussions to understand their needs.
And our ability to deliver on these objectives is
helped greatly by our internal culture of
partnership and collaboration. We build teams
and projects that cut across functional lines to
maximise idea-generation and move quickly
from planning to action.
Our “Value. Shared.” commitment manifests
itself in many ways, but ultimately it’s sharing
our clients’ journeys for the long run, seeking to add
value in a cost-efficient way – including
through innovative fee structures – and staying
focused on where the next big opportunities
are coming from.
There is no guarantee that actively managed investments will outperform the broader market.
Investing involves risk. The value of an investment and the income from it will fluctuate and
investors may not get back the principal invested. Past performance is not indicative of future
performance. This is a marketing communication. It is for informational purposes only. This
document does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any
security and shall not be deemed an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security.
The views and opinions expressed herein, which are subject to change without notice, are those
of the issuer or its affiliated companies at the time of publication. Certain data used are derived
from various sources believed to be reliable, but the accuracy or completeness of the data is
not guaranteed and no liability is assumed for any direct or consequential losses arising from
their use. The duplication, publication, extraction or transmission of the contents, irrespective of
the form, is not permitted.
This material has not been reviewed by any regulatory authorities. In mainland China, it is used
only as supporting material to the offshore investment products offered by commercial banks
under the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors scheme pursuant to applicable rules and
This document is being distributed by the following Allianz Global Investors companies:
Allianz Global Investors U.S. LLC, an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission; Allianz Global Investors GmbH, an investment company in Germany,
authorized by the German Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin); Allianz
Global Investors (Schweiz) AG, licensed by FINMA (www.finma.ch) for distribution and by
OAKBV (Oberaufsichtskommission berufliche Vorsorge) for asset management related to
occupational pensions in Switzerland; Allianz Global Investors Asia Pacific Ltd., licensed by
the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission; Allianz Global Investors Singapore Ltd.,
regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore [Company Registration No. 199907169Z];
Allianz Global Investors Japan Co., Ltd., registered in Japan as a Financial Instruments Business
Operator [Registered No. The Director of Kanto Local Finance Bureau (Financial Instruments
Business Operator), No. 424, Member of Japan Investment Advisers Association and Investment
Trust Association, Japan];and Allianz Global Investors Taiwan Ltd., licensed by Financial
Supervisory Commission in Taiwan.
Firm believers in active asset management do not always have it easy
in the public debate. Yet they have also had it tougher. This is because,
in the long-standing controversy about active versus passive fund
management, the debate is gradually becoming objective – and
thankfully so. Each of these approaches has its raison d‘être; neither
is the only true path. Nonetheless, there are good reasons for asset
managers to adopt a clear position. We have done so and remain
committed: Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) is an active manager.
We refer to four globally observable trends in the industry to illustrate