Platform profiles best-of-breed boutique asset managers

Fund Hub enables asset managers to freely share their story with potential investors.
Image: Getty Images

Fund Hub was launched in November 2018; its timing couldn’t have been worse or in fact couldn’t be better. The months that followed revealed massive political and financial uncertainty for South Africans, especially local and international investors.

There was an opportunity for an independent, easily-accessible online platform that could aggregate informative content (video interviews and fund factsheets) from award-winning asset managers for advisors and investors to freely and effortlessly navigate.

Fund Hub is powered by Black Onyx, a regulated FSP, RegTech service provider and distribution consultancy, supported by over 50 fund managers and a digital community of 25 000 financial professionals and individual investors who wish to be better informed by de-cluttering the investable universe.

Andrew Ludwig, director of Black Onyx, answers the following questions on the hub:

What is Fund Hub and how did the idea come about?

We launched Black Onyx in 2015 to support the 300 hedge funds that became regulated unit trusts (CIS). Most of these boutique asset managers had no prior access to the retail market and were ill- equipped to compete against the traditional firms’ broker networks, media budgets and the mark that exchange-traded funds (ETFs) had left after ten years of strong marketing.

The alternative funds were misunderstood and underrepresented, while the retail audience deserved to be better informed. So we set out to profile best-of-breed boutique asset managers who had passed layers of due diligence, deserving of a place in a sophisticate investment portfolio. We began filming in 2016 and after amassing support and content we launched Fund Hub in the fourth quarter of 2018.

What types of asset managers feature on Fund Hub?

Fund Hub currently hosts around 20 traditional, passive and alternative managers and will hard-close with 30 managers at the end of 2020. This accommodates a concentrated list of distinguished firms who freely share information on a diverse range of investment strategies like multi-asset, long-short hedge, property, fixed income, ETFs, Section 12Js, balanced and equity funds to name a few.

What content can visitors expect from Fund Hub?

Each firm has a dedicated page to showcase their video interviews, touching on the portfolio managers’ background and experience, detail on the firm and its investment approach, list of their funds and how they differ from their peers. The interviews delve deep into specific funds and are supported with market research and direct access to fund factsheets and the managers themselves.

What is the benefit for those visiting Fund Hub?

Every investor is drowning in data, overwhelmed by thousands of funds, 80% of which are underperforming their own benchmarks.

Fund Hub is freely accessible and essentially provides an informal first-layer of due diligence for investors to begin the research process.

The interviews bring you face-to-face with the actual people who manage your money and if you like them, get in touch directly (no commissions). Aggregating the best talent should increase your investment knowledge, while access to diversified strategies should reduce your overall portfolio risk. The experience itself empowers individual investors to put pressure on their financial advisors to provide fresh investment ideas and to chase true alpha.

What does a post-Covid world look like for Fund Hub and Black Onyx?

Business as usual. We’ve been 100% digital for over four years, freely available online and across social media in support of economic transformation and financial literacy. Our service will continue to empower the public to be better investors and ask the right questions, especially if you’re looking for, or want to share new investment ideas in amongst all this chaos.

Fund Hub enables award-winning asset managers to freely share their story with potential investors. This has not been slowed down by social distancing – in fact we’ve seen a dramatic increase in our audience.

Black Onyx operates the Moneyweb CPD Hub, which offers FSPs over 200 hours of verifiable, Fais-accredited CPD content. Access the hub here.

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