Eight money managers were recognized with Focus Elite awards this month.
The awards — highlighting strong, cohesive workplace cultures — are distributed by Focus Consulting Group.
The winning firms, announced June 1, included AJO, American Beacon Advisors, Disciplined Growth Investors, Forest Investment Associates, Greystone Managed Investments, Kempen Capital Management and Mawer Investment Management. The eighth winner requested FCG not identify it.
AJO, Disciplined, Forest and Greystone are all repeat winners from the inaugural recognition in March 2012.
More than 150 firms participated.
Jim Ware, founder of FCG, said investment firms are realizing there is a greater need to establish a strong culture of values and behaviors and have good leaders in addition to strong investment professionals. Ninety-five percent of investment professionals said culture is important to a firm's success, he added.
“You can't build a strong culture without strong leaders,” Mr. Ware said in a telephone interview.
While he acknowledged “it's a pretty sticky wicket” to prove that strong culture equals success, he said FCG executives think there is a strong link.
“We can say that all eight firms … also have very strong success stories to tell as far as the three major stakeholders — clients, employees and owners,” he said.
To become a Focus Elite firm, employees of the firms needed to agree or strongly agree 66% of the time that their firm had effective decision-making; 80% had to choose they were “raving fans” or “happy campers” in terms of loyalty to the company; and a minimum of 75% had to agree that the current culture was able to attract top talent. A firm needed 75% of employees to respond and at least 15 full-time employees to qualify. The eight winners had assets under management of $3.1 billion to $50.6 billion.