Allianz Global Investors is turning Chatter into investment knowledge.
The firm is among the first in the money management industry to use Chatter — a private social network system — on a companywide basis to link more than 300 investment professionals throughout the world. Launched in May, the network will extend to about 500 employees in 11 countries within the coming months, said Steve Berexa, managing director and global head of research at AllianzGI, San Francisco. As of Sept. 30, AllianzGI managed e302 billion ($394 billion).
“Like many other firms, we've historically relied on e-mails and a legacy system in which only a limited proportion of investment professionals were publishing, and only in a formal way,” said Mr. Berexa, who led the project. However, there are many others within the company “whose knowledge and insights are nevertheless valuable” to the investment process.
With Chatter, the objective is “to better engage everyone, encourage more information communication and end up with a repository of knowledge that becomes more powerful,” Mr. Berexa said. Chatter has similarities to Twitter, but it allows for more in-depth posts with a maximum of 1,000 characters compared with the latter's 140-character limit. Furthermore, users can attach documents and videos, among other relevant materials.
In the past six months, AllianzGI's investment staff generated more than 16,000 posts and comments through Chatter, about a third of which are from portfolio managers. “We're all certainly communicating better,” Mr. Berexa said.