INTERVIEW: J.P. Morgan AM EMEA CMO on how marketers can lead the ESG conversation

Alex Sword


The Financial Services Forum

Marketers have the opportunity to lead in shaping the new narrative on ESG as the debate becomes more nuanced, says J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s EMEA CMO.

Jean Guido Servais has been in his current role heading up EMEA marketing since 2015, with various other marketing roles at the firm stretching back to 2006. In this time, the role of marketing has evolved hugely in the business and the wider industry.

“The digital environment has helped marketing departments establish themselves as the source of insight on what our clients really need: what they consume and what they engage with.

“As challenging as the pandemic was, the move to virtual events and an increase in digital content consumption has helped to bring sales and marketing even closer together – with this combined insight we are now able to understand our clients more than ever.”

Marketing and sales are operating at “eye level” and are complementing each other to form a joined picture of the client. This will only be enhanced as the use of data offers “new opportunities to create better outcomes for our clients through more targeted and personalised experiences.”


Leading the ESG conversation

One example of where marketers can evolve the conversation is on ESG, especially as the issue becomes more complex.

Effective ESG risk management is firmly imbedded and integrated into J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s investment process.

Jean Guido says he is “personally very passionate about sustainability” and that the financial industry has an opportunity to play a role in the wider context.

“There’s a big opportunity to explain what role we, as the financing engine, can play with regards to sustainability,” he says, adding that asset managers are able to sit at the table and influence the direction of travel of corporations we invest in.

Although varying clients and stakeholders have different priorities when it comes to sustainable investing, Jean Guido doesn’t think the solution is to talk less about ESG.

“We need to [talk about] ESG integration more because it is critical to how our portfolio managers asses underlying companies and investment opportunities. The more our clients and their clients are aware of the role that sustainability can play, the more they understand the opportunity set.”

“Sustainability is here to stay. Some of the big drivers in Europe, in the Netherlands, in France, in Belgium, in the Nordics, are insurance companies and are quite often global players, so broader regions will feel the ripple effect.”

Marketers have a key role in shaping this narrative.

“There is more to explain, and through the extremely fast-changing regulatory environment, we have to adapt even faster than in traditional markets.”

In fact, the messaging for the JPM Climate Change Solutions Fund was created through collaboration between different teams, including product marketing, content marketing, investors, and salespeople.

“I think we have a great pipeline of products and solutions, which we are extremely passionate about developing even further.

“We can help those who question the role that a sustainable solution can play in their portfolio and demonstrate the investment case for the long-term.”

Jean Guido says as there is “so much more to be done” in this area.


A content-led approach

J.P. Morgan Asset Management has an established platform, The Market Insights programme, led by Karen Ward, Chief Market Strategist for EMEA, to address macro related or thematic developments through its content, which forms the centrepiece of its content marketing approach, offering education and thought leadership to its clients.

“This content is not connected to a product and aims to enrich our clients thinking about macroeconomic scenarios from a global and regional perspective.” This content in fully integrated in our client outreach through all touchpoints including webcasts, newsletters, roadshows and events.

This type of communication and education of clients is particularly important in volatile market conditions.

In addition to the short and medium-term economic outlook, we also try to offer our clients a long-term perspective. Each year, J.P. Morgan Asset Management releases its Long-Term Capital market Assumptions provides projections for a variety of asset classes and factors, 10-15 years in the future.

Jean Guido describes these programmes as “fundamental to its marketing strategy in the region”.


Dual structure

J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s ability to localise messaging owes a lot to its “dual structure”.

With the firm operating across European markets, all with different client needs, the firm chooses a model that allows it to achieve the benefits of both centralisation and localisation.

“What is essential is that we are very close to our clients locally and this strengthens our understanding of needs and their goals.”

While there are firms that do go with a broad central agenda into every market, the EMEA region has very different client needs and sometimes risk appetites in each market.

This ability to tailor messages more is enabled by what he calls the company’s “dual structure” which he says offers much better results. J.P. Morgan Asset Management is “definitely not a centralised player”.

“There could be a perception that because we have such a strong US identity that our marketing objectives are defined at our HQ and then rolled out around the globe.” but in fact, he says, “parts of the business are extremely local.”

In each region there are subject matter experts whether in digital, content or email. These teams allow JPMAM to create products which fit the demand and the desire from clients that is only possible through this type of constant exchange.

This allows the firm to cater to the different audiences and outlooks in each market.

Previous article

Q&A: Ecology Building Society's marketing chief on taking ESG to the mainstream

Next article

INTERVIEW: Aviva UK&I Life Marketing and Customer Director on building deeper customer relationships

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.