Australia: Expanding Global Client Base

We announced the acquisition of Plan for Life right after the start of the New Year, Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, Plan for Life was founded by Simon Solomon, who had a long history in the Insurance and Risk industries and understood the need for research, particularly as the superannuation pension scheme assets under management continued to expand. Today the company provides business intelligence for both the mutual fund and insurance/risk industries and has an unparalleled reputation for providing the highest quality data and insights for both Australia and New Zealand. Recently, Simon’s son Rael Solomon rejoined him in the business and is responsible for sales & marketing. The company is very complementary to our Strategic Insight division and going forward it will continue as Plan for Life, a Strategic Insight Company.

With the winter holiday season in session, I decided to wait until last Saturday to visit with the Plan for Life team and many of their key long-term clients. I started my meetings in Melbourne and was delighted to welcome our new colleagues to the growing Asset International family. (Brisbane and surrounding communities in the state of Queensland are starting to recover from the devastating floods earlier this month. It will be a slow process, but with government and insurance assistance, a recovery will take place.) Within the last nine months, we have opened new offices in London, Hong Kong and now Melbourne. (In London, Strategic Insight team members joined their colleagues at Global Custodian and The Trade.) We are committed to providing the highest quality client service by making our global team easily accessible to our expanding client base.

I traveled on Tuesday to Sydney, where together with Simon and Rael Solomon I was joined by Jason Cassidy, our SVP for Strategy & Development. We visited with 6-8 clients per day and explained to them the rationale for the merger of these two trusted research companies, listened carefully to them with regards to their business intelligence needs, and committed to soon deliver our research monthly versus quarterly and to do so on a web-based platform, which would allow for significantly enhanced data analysis by our clients. The Plan for Life client base is over 200, so a week allowed us to see many, but not all of our major clients. Over the next several months the Strategic Insight/Asset International team will be visiting with our new clients and colleagues to assist in the integration of our research platforms.

Later this year in Melbourne, with a platform to work from, we will be introducing into Australia both of our retirement sites, Plan Sponsor and Plan Adviser, as well as introducing the aiCIO Summit Series to the wealth management and asset management communities.

As we look out further into 2011 and beyond, it is clear that we will continue to expand globally to better serve this dynamic client base. I trust that my own personal travels and desire to meet with our clients will bring me back to Australia later in the year. I returned from Sydney to San Francisco yesterday and tomorrow I will fly back to New York, where I will spend the next several weeks. In early February we will hold a global sales meeting in Boston, where we are opening a new office shortly. Stephen Moylan, Mike Rosenthal and Jason Cassidy will welcome our growing sales & marketing team for a three-day session.