Two veteran marketers from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc., New York, have joined forces to open a firm specializing in marketing for institutional money managers.
Mark Shevitz and Edward J. Caffrey plan to leverage their experience in the marketing and client services department of Sanford Bernstein into a firm called Fair Haven Partners, Fair Haven, N.J. The firm will concentrate on initiating contacts with prospective clients and maintaining communication with existing clients, according to its two principals.
It is important to have continued communication with clients, in order to prepare them for down markets and retain their assets, said Mr. Shevitz. Often, managers are afraid to meet with clients in those situations, he said, because it is easier to ride out the bad news if the manager has been in touch frequently before things go wrong.
As an example, Mr. Caffrey noted that in 1990, when value managers were out of favor, Bernstein showed a return of -23%, but lost only 10% to 15% of its equity clients. On the other hand, another value manager who showed a return of -12% lost one-third of its assets, he said.
Fair Haven Partners plans to bring to the table an ability to get the manager's message across to its prospects and then follow up on those communications as necessary, said Mr. Shevitz. Mr. Caffrey noted he and his partner have experience with a clientele including public, private and Taft-Hartley pension plans, as well as foundations and endowments. Mr. Shevitz also has had experience with nuclear decommissioning trusts, which he said would be the only taxable area into which the firm might venture.
"We've developed good relationships over the years," said Mr. Caffrey. "We think we offer as good a product as anything else that's available."
The two had been with Sanford Bernstein since 1981, when the firm had approximately $37 million in assets, all from individuals. By the time they left this summer, institutional assets alone were approximately $16 billion, noted Mr. Caffrey. They plan to represent a spectrum of manager styles, but they will only represent one manager in each asset class or style, he added.
"We don't want to cannibalize our own product," said Mr. Shevitz. Mr. Caffrey will deal with the Eastern states, while Mr. Shevitz will deal with the Midwest and Western regions.
Fair Haven's client list could draw from managers or consultants, said Mr. Shevitz. Mr. Caffrey added clients can be investment firms of any size or departments within money management firms that need representation for a particular product, as well as insurance companies and bank trust departments.
Mr. Shevitz noted he has seen acquisitions of money management firms by parent companies that then are stymied by how to market the new acquisition. Currently, there is an abundance of products and a shortage of experienced marketing personnel to promote them, he said.