NEW YORK - A new investment management marketing firm plans to take advantage of the trend of outsourcing among money managers by offering them client marketing representation to develop new business and service existing accounts.
Omni Capital Corp., New York, was started by Robert S. Darbee, a former president of the Bank of New York Trust Co., New York, and former senior vice president of Bankers Trust Co., New York. So far, Omni has eight marketers. Mr. Darbee, the firm's president, said his goal is to have 25 staffers within the next 12 months.
Omni is banking on the appeal of a team of marketers with as much as 20 years experience. Team members specialize in different areas, so their experience can be matched with the accounts they represent. The firm is currently seeking to hire a mid-size pension fund specialist to cover plans of $5 to $50 million in assets, said Mr. Darbee.
Omni's principal role is to support the manager's sales functions, said Mr. Darbee. The firm will open a dialogue with prospective accounts by calling on investors and servicing the accounts once they have been signed up, he said.
Omni representatives will meet with pension fund executives to keep them updated and keep the communication flowing between fund officials and managers. Omni will review and make recommendations on areas such as the client's presentation materials or how to answer consultants' questionnaires, but it usually will let the manager handle those functions, said Mr. Darbee.
In some cases, Omni's staffers will make the final presentation to the prospective client, said Mr. Darbee, but boards at larger pension plans usually ask to see the manager in person.
Omni is seeking to convince prospective clients that they need a dedicated marketing team and outside marketers can help can grow their assets more than they could themselves, said Mr. Darbee. Some managers feel their only activity is managing money, which is what they're most comfortable doing, he said. While they realize that bringing in new assets is important, they don't have the expertise to concentrate on new client development and retention, and may neglect the client service aspect, he added.
Outsourcing has become very popular in the money management area, and it makes sense in the marketing functions, said Mr. Darbee. An outside firm such as Omni can bring additional marketing staff much faster than the client can by itself, he said.
Even allowing for the time necessary for outside marketers to become familiar with the company and its products, it's a more efficient process, said Mr. Darbee.
Since nearly all of Omni's manager clients are in the metropolitan New York area, the marketing staff can visit the clients' offices to learn about their operations, if necessary, he added.
Omni is seeking clients among stable money managers with track records and an established investment philosophy, said Mr. Darbee.
Current clients include Weiss, Peck & Greer, New York and Ryan Labs Inc., New York.
The firm is now talking to a mid-cap equity manager that has approximately $3 billion in assets under management but has no dedicated marketing function.
Mr. Darbee said he hopes to also sign an agreement shortly with Bankers Trust to supplement BT's marketing department in the global products area. Under that agreement, Omni would cover high net worth individuals and pension funds of $5 million to $20 million in assets, which does not overlap with BT's institutional sales department.