IFA Magazine had the pleasure to sit down with James Crossley and Paul Measures from Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), to discuss how LGIM has handled COVID and what the medium term may bring for their advisers.
James Crossley, Head of UK Retail Sales at LGIM, was quick to highlight the resilience the asset management firm had shown throughout the crisis, saying, ‘across all our UK intermediary genres we’ve found that we’ve been able to provide resilience.’ LGIM has been able to keep sales in net positive over the COVID period. Crossley accredits this to the dependability of the brand, and the overall diversity they provide.
Crossley maintains that LGIM is proud of their heritage in the index space, but what has facilitated such resilience are the complementary strategies in real assets and active management.
The sales team benefitted from quick and flexible access to information from fund managers, who put themselves in front of the camera and gave daily updates. Crossley said, ‘we were quick out of the gate’ when providing new solutions to the extraordinary challenges the COVID crisis brought up. Crossley emphasised that people didn’t panic, with clients’ staying the course with well-diversified portfolios’, continuing,’ advisers have played a very important role in keeping a sense of perspective keeping redemptions very light in comparison to other crises.’
Paul Measures, Head of Intermediary Sales at LGIM, emphasised two distinct differences in the market that contrast with previous crises. The first significant difference is that the market is fee-based, rather than commission-based, and tailored to servicing existing clients. The second difference is the role technology now plays. Technology platforms like Zoom and MS Teams have allowed regional teams to maintain information flows with flexibility previously impossible. For LGIM, Measures said, ‘virtual is here to stay.’ Technology has enabled fund managers to be more visible than ever before. Measures said the overall structure of the IFA market is far more robust than previous crises. From the analyst and advice perspectives, energy was naturally put into looking after the existing status quo.
LGIM has exciting plans for the medium term. Measures and Crossley highlighted that LGIM has historically been recognised for its index and property capability, but now more emphasis has been placed on multi-asset solutions and the range of thematic funds the firm has built out over the COVID period.
Over the COVID period, LGIM saw an appetite for solution-based thematic funds, such as cybersecurity and water technology. LGIM’s flagship thematic based fund ‘robotics and automation’ proved very popular, though difficult to access. A Unit Trust version launched in May, improving accessibility. This success lead Crossley to say, ‘I have no doubt at all you will see more thematic based products to the IFA market in a Unit Trust wrapper.’
Crossley also said LGIM is getting asked to do a lot more the bespoke options for national groups. Measures too, said, in the future, ‘LGIM’s market will demand more bespoke solutions.’
Measures echoed Crossley’s confidence in thematics, saying ‘Themes of today could be the sectors of tomorrow.’ In terms of the challenges LGIM faces, Measures said the most pronounced for IFAs has been attracting new clients. Measures noted that technology has proved immensely helpful when tackling this. Measures continued, ‘this is a unique time,’ due to the ‘attention the industry has paid to its clients.’
Paul Measures – Head of Intermediary Sales, Retail Investments
Paul’s career in financial services spans more than 30 years, and he was appointed Head of Intermediary Sales, Retail Investments in August 2013. He has spent more than 10 years working with key clients and he is committed to ensuring that the Retail sales team supports our investors, whilst ensuring we face the recent market changes by offering dependable, relevant investment solutions.
James Crossley – Head of UK Retail Sales
James is responsible for LGIM’s UK Retail and Wholesale Distribution strategy and managing the UK Retail Sales team, which cover intermediated business from Financial Advisers, Wealth Managers, Key Third Party Distribution partners and Global Financial Institutions.
James joined LGIM in 2018 from Jupiter where he held the title of Head of Retail Distribution. There James managed the Retail sales team as one of the leading brands in the UK Retail market, selling a range of Equity, Fixed Interest, and Multi-Asset and Alternative funds. Prior to that, he worked with Strategic Alliances and 3rd party distributors across the UK. James holds the IMC exam, and he is a Freeman of The City of London.