INTERVIEW: How boutique asset manager Paravene is tapping the power of automation

Alex Sword


The Financial Services Forum

Systematic-focused boutique asset manager Paravene is maximising resources through the power of tech and automation as it looks to build a brand in the systematic strategies and hedge financing asset classes, says Head of Marketing Louise Brand.

Paravene is a specialist investment manager, focused on systematic strategies assets that use advanced technology to offer an asymmetric return profile (consistent returns with limited downside risk).

Louise started at the firm as Head of Marketing and Investor Relations at the beginning of January. Her most recent role was at Lazard Asset Management, where she was Marketing Director from 2005 to 2023.

The new role, she explains, is a change in several ways from Lazard. For one thing, the product set is vastly different – rather than Lazard’s selection of funds, Paravene offers the three core products of systematic macro trading strategies, protected leverage and bowtie strategies.

While many asset managers have been impacted by the volatility of equity markets over the last two years, systematic products like Paravene’s are traded and adjusted all the time. In fact, the proposition can become more attractive during times of volatility and uncertainty.

“The PCIM Systematic Strategies are multi-asset class, have the ability to go long or short so are market direction agnostic. Hence they tend to deliver better risk adjusted returns over time and the pattern of returns is asymmetric which is what makes them attractive to investors.

Because the products are not mass market, Louise says, the key task for the marketer is to define for customers where it can fit into their overall asset allocations.

“We need to be able to articulate what differentiates us as a business and our products in a very clear, understandable way, because a lot of people view these types of alternative products as black box,” she says, referring to a complex system whose internal workings are hidden or hard to understand.

“We talk about them as a glass box, because we’re very transparent The underlying algorithms are listed and traded and our fee structure is very clear..”

Because the segment of the intermediated market it is targeting is narrow, Paravene can put together granular data on and bespoke marketing plans for key clients, which simply isn’t possible for the larger segments of target audiences

“We can track our potential client behaviours very closely because initially we are only targeting a small segmentand to constantly look at patterns of behaviour is much easier.

“Even without the tech, you can monitor 50 clients much more easily, even just using basic Excel macros.”

Ultimately, Paravene will have AI-derived pathways for clients based on the learnings of the clients that it’s working with now.

“[We can’t] say we’ve got that or that we could build it today because we are so new.

“But the joy about being new is you can put those processes in place now and that’s what we are doing.”

Everything Paravene does aims to build a data pool to work with.

“If you can’t measure it, we’re not doing it.”

Compared to Lazard’s large marketing team, Louise is now a team of one. This has both advantages and disadvantages.

Louise notes that decision-making is much faster in a smaller organisation like Paravene. Paravene is also less hampered by legacy issues and so Louise can quickly bring new generative AI technologies to bear on her workflows – for example, in quickly generating content.

The product range also means that there is a natural tech bias in the business. People are “very open to technology in a way that may not be the case in other organisations, who see it as a bit of a cost.” An example she gives is that Paravene has HubSpot as its CRM, something that is best of breed considering it is a fairly small organisation and will enable easy integrations with other technology tools.

Execution can however be harder once decisions are made.

“I’m actually putting budgets together right now and they’re probably punchier for some elements than they would have been at Lazard, where there were internal resources such as investment writers and videographers.”

Having the choice of third-party providers and people allows her to buy and hire the best, but the outsourced people have a constant learning curve due to lacking sufficient product knowledge.

“I have been talking to a lot of people that I would hope to bring into the fold in providing services to us. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Finding the right people to work with, who have a culture that will match your own and will work to the same standards and time scales When you have it embedded in your own organisation you don’t think about those things, they just happen.”

So where would Louise like the company to be in a year? She says she would like to have increased AUM and brand awareness in the market.

“We will have defined our brand differentiators and have shared those as widely as we can.”

In addition, the firm will have a very clear set of marketing materials and will most likely be doing events both for brand awareness and also lead generation.

“We’ll have a full  lead generation programme, so if a lead comes into our business, it would slot in and the next activities would be predetermined and automated.”

There will also be a focus on managing data, both in terms of marketing pre-sell activity and in the back end to support clients from a reporting standpoint. As Louise isn’t supported by a team, this has to all be automated.

“The demands for data are increasing and increasing, because if you want a better outcome, you need to be more sophisticated with your inputs.”


Previous article

Q&A: Inside the rebrand of Architas to AXA IM Select

Next article

How to Meet Evolving Customer Expectations with Artificial Intelligence

Get access to valuable thought leadership from the financial services marketing industry

Keep up-to-date with current trends and changes across marketing and financial services is vital in this fast-moving business environment.