I always think a seminar or conference is a success if there’s a buzz of chatter in the corridors outside the main meeting room, as well as on stage. That’s what it’s all about : swapping opportunities, techniques and experience…
…And to find out who’s genuine : the right person to do business with.
One of the most common discussions I take part in is “How do you meet a new partner (co-investor, manager, lawyer, coach, whatever…) and how can you check they’re the right fit for you?”
Especially if you’re investing.
Often, that’s quite hard - especially outside your home turf.
A couple of years ago, a Singaporean investor I’ll call “Maggie” told a group of us at one gathering how she was hoping to get into US shale oil extraction. Her team had done a lot of homework and everything they heard from their prospective co-partner sounded right. Until they sent a B-team to settle the deal with her, which was insultingly under-prepared. Maggie was back to square one, after months of due diligence.
Tax advisor “Rob” from Australia said “no problem” when a valued client moved country, and Rob recommended a local associate to look after him. Those local agents got their cultural references completely wrong and badly upset the client’s wife. Someone had to pay the price. “I have a choice of either getting divorced - or of firing you!”, said the client. Rob took it on the chin.
In a better connected world, there’s more data than before.
And there are path-finders like Remi Frank’s team at BNP Paribas Wealth Management to help you navigate through that data. Remi told me about their “Know Your Client” scheme, where customers can learn about other customers with a high degree of certainty.
The bank knows about both sides, and can introduce them. They always had that information - now it’s being put to fresh use. That’s just one example : similar services are growing in popularity.
In competitive financial markets, the best partners or managers are often relatively secretive or over-subscribed. While Asset Owners - the guys and gals with the money - are prey to inappropriate approaches.
“Here we go - watch the sharks circle…” said the owner of one of the biggest real estate portfolios in Germany, as we walked into a room once. It was quite terrifying… There was also a lack of self-awareness about many of the folks coming up to him. “Karl” was never going to be interested in space exploration… Continuing the centuries of looking after his family’s estates, “one planet is enough for me!” he said.
AssetOwner.CO starts by asking what subject matters and investment targets you are interested in, and connects the dots between you and others who share those objectives. Some participants will have the questions, others the answers - and those answers are coming from like-motivated Asset Owners - not intermediaries, not salespeople.
I often talk about smart ideas I come across, and I think this one which has been needed for a long time, but also appears at the perfect moment : we’re all considering how to network without having to travel so much.
And I’ll also be taking part : performing my hosting role online, chairing private discussions on whatever folks want to talk about.
AssetOwner.CO is now launching gently. It's going to evolve over coming months, responding to what asset owners say they want to see.
Once they are sure you’ll benefit from this unique network, they’ll open an exclusive world for you, from your desktop and mobile device.
For investors, AssetOwner.CO sounds like a very good fit.