Published on September 15, 2015 by Sailaja Devireddy
Asset managers today are responding to increasing volumes of requests for proposals (RFPs), as they compete more aggressively for incremental business. RFPs have become a key channel of securing additional business and AuM growth.
Given this intense competitive environment, it has become even more important for firms to focus on providing accurate responses and clear reasons on why they deserve to win the bid against credible competitors without spending time on standard, recurring and routine responses.
The key requirements for a well-managed and thorough RFP lifecycle are efficiency and clarity, both of which start with content management. Completing the data component of RFPs using correct and up-to-date data is another challenge. So, most asset managers are increasingly investing in a central RFP database or tools such as Qvidian and PMAPS to store standard responses.
How an up-to-date central repository helps:
Increased efficiency and faster turnaround – The most important benefit of centralizing responses and data is improved efficiency of resources (RFP writers, sales personnel, and SMEs) and less time spent on collating accurate responses. This in turn helps them meet deadlines and increases the probability of winning new business.
Consistency across the organization – Responses to standard questions become uniform across the organization, thus presenting end clients the big picture in a “single voice” vis-a-vis regional pitches.
Higher data quality – By storing quantitative data (performance, risk, investment professionals’ data, etc.) in a central database, asset managers can benefit from higher data quality (with less time spent on data gathering) and project consistent numbers to end clients across global offices.
Easier knowledge management – A central database simplifies regular knowledge management activities (updating, validating, and building content); which are core to conducting winning RFPs. It also makes training new employees a lot easier.
Improved quality of responses – By performing regular updates, quality checks, and revisions to data, asset managers can improve the quality of their responses as well as the overall quality of RFPs. Regular updates also ensure that RFP teams across the globe are leveraging the latest, most up-to-date responses.
The problem, though, is that even after investing in these tools, most asset managers continue to struggle with deadlines and the quality of RFPs because these repositories do need to be updated and maintained regularly. In fact, a number of asset managers don’t renew their licenses for such tools, because they simply don’t have the time to update their databases. However, it is imperative that RFP teams allocate time and resources to constantly update these repositories to reap maximum benefits from their investment.
This is where an experienced and credible offshore partner can assist by providing a cost-effective solution for periodic updates and regular maintenance of an RFP database. This partner can also help track responses past due date and coordinate with various specialists to have them updated on time.
While choosing such a third-party vendor, asset managers should look for proven a track record in conducting retail and institutional RFPs, and handling various RFP tools, because a deep understanding of the domain is critical to handle this task independently. This will ensure that in-house RFP teams can focus exclusively on churning out winning RFPs.
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About the Author
Senior Vice President, Quantitative Services and Fund Marketing Services
Sailaja currently manages operations of the Fund Marketing Services (FMS) division at Acuity Knowledge Partners. She is actively involved in scoping, white boarding, hiring, transition, executing pilot projects and setting up teams for new projects and clients.
Prior to her current role at Acuity Knowledge Partners, she managed the operations of a 20 member team working for a Top 5 Global Asset and Wealth manager. She has over 12 years of experience in capital markets covering equity research, fund marketing, operations and credit assessment. Sailaja is a qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
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