Danae has extensive experience in communications and media relations for financial services firms having spent her six-year career at specialist agencies including Four Broadgate, Citigate, and most recently Aspectus.
During her time in the industry, Danae has worked on a range of clients including St James’s Place Wealth Management, State Street, NN Investment Partners, CME Group, SIX, Heartwood Investment Management and Walker Crips among others.
Sam Emery, Quill Managing Director, said: “Danae is a highly skilled and professional PR specialist with years of experience working for financial services clients, we are thrilled to welcome her into our growing team here at Quill. I know she will be a huge asset to our clients.
“Quill’s business continues to go from strength to strength and Danae’s appointment bolsters our team and our offering even further. We are excited for what the future holds.”
With more than 20 years’ experience in financial services, Quill has been recognised for its outstanding work in the investment trust and managed funds sector. It combines strong investor relations with its specialism in financial services media relations, offering an outsourced ‘in-house’ PR service to clients.
The panel-judged ADVFN awards recognise and celebrate best of breed products and services from across the financial industry, both nationally and internationally. Now in their seventh year, the awards are well established and recognised across the retail investor market.
Commenting on Quill’s award, an ADFVN spokesperson said: “Renewed investor enthusiasm for trusts and funds has seen ADVFN working closely with numerous companies and agencies in the investment trust and managed funds arena. Quill PR has been consistently praised for its communications and IR expertise within this industry.”
Quill was among 56 companies and individuals across the global financial industry to have been honoured in the 2021 awards.
Sam Emery, Managing Director, Quill PR said: “We are thrilled to have gained the recognition of the ADVFN judges for our investor relations and communications work. The team works exceptionally hard on behalf of clients, and after a year which threw up many challenges the award is testament to their commitment and ability to rise above the noise to continue to provide a seamless, quality service.”
This song by The Clash reminded me of several conversations I have had with client CEOs and journalists over the last few days.
There seems to be a “back to school” mentality emerging with the novelty of video conferencing wearing thin. Some find the technology deeply frustrating and no substitute for face-to-face meetings. This, combined with acute webinar fatigue and more people saying they are missing colleague interaction and the general office buzz, is leading to thoughts of ‘going back’.
Whilst the majority admit they don’t miss the commute and some have used this ‘bonus’ time constructively, they genuinely miss the camaraderie of an office environment.
The UK seems to be the slowest country in Europe to return. Data from Morgan Stanley suggests, in spite of the PM’s best endeavours to encourage a return to work, only 34% of UK office workers are back, lagging Italy, France, and Germany where 70% to 83% have returned to their desks. Of course, there will be those who have had this decision made for them as they have been victims of this evolving economic catastrophe and have sadly been made redundant, over 136,000 at the time of writing and this figure is only going to go in one direction. Only today, high street stalwart M&S announced that it would shed over 7,000 jobs as a result of the pandemic.
So, whilst the working week might not be the same post-Covid, do we not owe it to those businesses who rely on offices being busy for their livelihoods to go back? In our area of the City many of these shops, hairdressers, bars and restaurants are not only there to look after us but are an integral and valued part of the working community, some family-owned businesses have been there for decades. It would be a travesty if they disappeared. Sadly, there is already a horrible inevitably that some will never re-open. Last week, global asset manager Schroders announced that it will allow thousands of staff to permanently work from home as it abandons the traditional nine-to-five working week. Others will surely follow.
For many of course, the issue isn’t being in the office per se, but rather getting there – hundreds of thousands of people on packed trains and tubes making commutes potentially risky isn’t an attractive prospect. But once the children return to school, the summer comes to an end, the nights pull in and we are once again forced inside – the prospect of a few days in the office and some more ‘normal’ might become more appealing.
Some companies are already actively encouraging people back, with shorter working days and running 50/50 parallel teams in the office at any one time.
Of course, all businesses differ and much will depend on the size and the adaptability of their office workspace. The logistics of getting thousands of employees in and out of a Canary Wharf skyscraper will be rather more challenging than more traditional office spaces. French hotel group, Accor which owns the Savoy as well as brands such as Ibis, is letting out hotel rooms to businesses as one solution. So, for those who don’t want to or find it difficult to work from home but want the discipline of going to work as well as being well located for face-to-face meetings, it’s an interesting Plan-B option.
There is no doubt that the plethora of video meeting platforms (I’ve had to use more than five) will become a permanent fixture, and for many they have and will considerably reduce travelling times and costs for many businesses. But we are social creatures and it really isn’t a substitute for the real thing, particularly if it’s an initial ‘get to know’ or relationship building meeting. As Clare Foges in The Times said: “Please let tech-distancing be for the pandemic, not for life.”
I for one am looking forward to a little bit of office ‘normal’ in the not too distant future and re-engaging with colleagues and contacts. Although the Savoy option does sound interesting!
When I started my PR career in the early 80’s I’m afraid it was the era of big hair, big earrings and even bigger shoulder pads.
For those of you old enough to remember, think Alexis Colby’s look in Dynasty and you’ve got it! At this time, media land was a world apart from where we are today – all the main newspapers were actually located in Fleet Street for a start. Imagine a working day without mobiles, the internet, e-mail or Twitter, it was a much less frenetic environment but not nearly as exciting as today’s fast-paced 24\7 global media.
Technology has totally revolutionised and reinvigorated the entire press landscape and had a dramatic impact on the media relations industry and how we work with journalists. When working with our clients to get their stories and messages out to a wider audience we now have so many exciting communication channels available to us and a myriad of choice when it comes to disseminating news, be it via traditional print or social media.
So, whilst technology has increased the number of tools available to us, wider industry developments have also opened up a much broader potential audience. Regulatory developments such as the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) and the universal democratisation of pensions is finally pushing savings and investments onto the front pages of the mainstream media, and about time too!
It is very encouraging to see high-profile TV campaigns such at Lloyds Bank’s ‘The M Word’ and even the traditional print media finally devoting more space to savings and investments, the Mail on Sunday’s new ‘Wealth’ section being a case in point.
Online titles have also created much greater demand for visuals – I can’t emphasise enough here the need for quality, creative photography. We are undoubtedly now living in a ‘more pictures, less words’ media world. Charts, infographics or video used creatively to make a particular point or explain a topic are, not to put too fine a point on it, media gold dust.
The rise of YouTube as a highly efficient and cost-effective medium to push out messages is a prime example of the increasing popularity and shift to visual media – you probably won’t be entirely surprised to know that the majority of under 25’s now default to YouTube rather than Google for their information.
So, does all this exciting new media spell the inevitable slow, agonising death of traditional print? My view is a resounding no, but publishers will have to be resourceful and adapt to meet this new paradigm. I have a theory that paid-for Monday to Friday print titles, with one or two key exceptions, will all but disappear over the next 10 years. However, the weekend papers which are more of a leisure purchase and a lifestyle choice will endure because they are seen as ‘entertainment’ and are tangible and trusted by their loyal readers.
Encouragingly, in print land we are also seeing the rise in popularity of the media amalgamators – titles such as MoneyWeek and The Week, amongst others.
Whichever camp you are in, print or online, we are very fortunate in this country to have a dynamic, exciting and highly regarded media. Long may they flourish.
Fiona Harris is founder and chairman of Quill PR
Tim Harford wrote an interesting piece for BBC this week on the line between gambling and insurance. He also mentioned derivatives which piqued our interest.
In the article, Harford recounts that the Lloyds insurance market originated as a group of people taking a bet on topical events and evolved into a bigger group of people taking lots of bets on many different things – which ultimately became what we now call insurance.
We have alluded to this before by saying that something that seems like a gamble (a bet on red on a roulette wheel, let’s say) may actually constitute a reduction in risk (if, for example, you have already placed a bet on black). The same is true of derivatives usage – they may look like a leveraged bet in isolation (on interest rates or equity market falls for example) but pension schemes see value in them because they already have an offsetting risk in place (liabilities and equity holdings).
Harford’s article provides crop insurance as an example. Crop insurance is not dissimilar to a bet on the weather. For instance, it may be a bet that there will be little or no rainfall in any given year. However, African farmers have an offsetting risk that, in the event of drought, they will lose their crops. Consequentially, taking a bet on dry weather actually gives those farmers confidence that, should the weather be against them, they will be compensated for an otherwise poor year. In fact, Harford suggests that studies have shown that farmers who buy crop insurance actually increase their productivity as a result of this additional confidence they’ve gained by having the security in place. There is an interesting TED talk from Rose Goslinga on this subject here.
This method of insurance is not hugely dissimilar to the function of brakes in cars. How fast would you be prepared to drive if your car had its brakes removed? I think most of us would drive significantly slower.
The interesting point here is that something that costs us money (insurance) or that is designed to slow us down (brakes) can actually improve our performance. In a financial context, the point is that risk management tools shouldn’t be seen as something which only acts as a drag on return.
The confidence provided by having those tools in place may give you the confidence to invest and earn the return you need.
Tim Harford links to derivatives as a way of gambling on financial outcomes. Clearly this is true for some people. However, for pension schemes, derivatives are used as a risk management tool that offsets another risk. The idea being that this not only provides protection but also provides confidence to invest.
Over the next few months we intend to test this idea with pension scheme representatives by giving them an opportunity to drive around our ‘circuit’ both with, and without, brakes. We will report back with our findings.
To view more insight from River and Mercantile’s derivatives team, see here.
The financial services sector has been bombarded with a myriad of issues to deal with in recent years. Now however an even greater and far more sinister threat to business stability and reputation is stalking the industry from the shadows: cyber-crime. Whilst historically it has been the mega banks and larger consumer facing institutions who have suffered most, the cyber-criminals have picked over the bones of the “big beasties”, and are increasingly turning their attention to smaller, more vulnerable prey – so beware, your business may be their next meal!
In an industry based largely on trust where it takes years to build a well-respected quality brand and minutes for it to be destroyed, the financial services sector is vulnerable to this quiet and often invisible predator. Most businesses have crisis contingency plans in place to counter those threats that you can actually see, but cyber-criminals are sophisticated animals and operate in the anonymous murky darkness – it may be hours, days or even weeks before you even realise that your system has been violated. Added to this, in many cases the UK authorities are powerless and unable to fight back as these cyber-gangs frequently operate in jurisdictions outside the UK.
Whilst the financial services sector continues to grapple with the challenges of ever evolving (and increasing) regulation, a 2015 Linedata survey, found that cybercrime presents the biggest threat to the asset management industry over the next five years. In addition to the obvious financial consequences, these events can be disastrous for businesses where trust and reputation are a vital element of their continued success. The financial services industry has a duty of care to protect sensitive information and not leave their clients’ data or hard earned cash exposed. It seems this has not gone unnoticed. In a recent survey of 20 leading UK wealth management firms by Compeer and specialist cyber insurance broker Lark, some 90 percent rated the threat of cybercrime as either high or very high and clients were at the forefront of the wealth management industry’s current investment in technology.
Whilst in communications terms one can plan for the unexpected, there is an inevitability that most businesses, however vigilant, will experience some form of cyber-attack or data breach. So how best to deal with it and minimise reputational risk?
You certainly can’t play the victim card as you have a duty of care to protect your clients and defend them against these stealthy and faceless criminals. There are numerous factors to consider: financial losses, client data, resultant regulatory breaches. It is important to ascertain as quickly as possible what exactly has happened and how your various stakeholders have been impacted before necessarily rushing to make an external statement. Until you are fully appraised of the facts and of the extent and indeed veracity of the breech, any action should be tempered with extreme caution. At Quill, we recently advised a client who was being held to ransom by alleged cyber criminals when, in fact it transpired that no data had actually been accessed.
It is as important to deal with internal communications as well as external and all messages should be consistent with and complementary to top-line corporate messaging. Being prepared and having a robust “what if” plan in place which can be quickly implemented should the worst happen will help minimise financial loss and, most importantly, minimise long-term reputational damage.
If it does happen to you, remember these cyber criminals are indiscriminate, however vigilant you may be. It isn’t personal and sadly you aren’t the only tasty morsel on their lunch menu.
To manage PR around Richard Pease’s move to CRUX Asset Management and the transfer of his Henderson European Special Situations Fund in June 2015 and the launch of a new fund – the CRUX European fund in September 2015.
Quill worked closely with the recently-launched CRUX Asset Management to devise corporate messaging and media strategy ahead of Richard Pease joining the firm and the transfer of his top-performing Henderson European Special Situations Fund. An exclusive interview with a core trade set the backdrop for this news supported by a launch lunch for senior trade journalists at Spencer House, co-ordinated by Quill.
Over the subsequent summer months, profile-raising media relations continued, albeit lower key. CRUX planned to launch a new fund – the CRUX European fund in September, and it was important not to detract attention from that through over-exposure in the quieter holiday period.
Quill advised offering the news of the launch to the Financial Times on an exclusive basis and on Monday, 7 September 2015, news of the fund’s launch was announced in the FT’s morning bulletin. A series of one-to-one briefings followed with key trade press journalists including a video interview with Citywire Global and a profile with Portfolio Adviser. This initial activity generated over twenty separate pieces of coverage including articles in the FT and Daily Telegraph.
Post-launch, it was important to maintain brand awareness and Quill secured profile interviews featuring Richard Pease across trade, consumer finance and national publications, including the influential FTfm ‘Face-to-face’ interview.
While maintaining a programme of select media relations for Richard, responsibility for media communications has widened to include James Milne and Roland Grender to demonstrate the breadth of investment talent at CRUX. Quill continues to promote CRUX’s investment expertise through a series of portfolio-related media bulletins, profile interviews and face-to-face meetings with national, trade and consumer finance press.
To launch ZyFin, an asset management and advisory firm focused on the high growth segment of emerging market ETFs, into the UK.
Building on this corporate launch, to provide media relations to support the listing of the first Indian fixed income ETF on the London Stock Exchange, on 19 November 2015.
This ETF offers British and international investors exposure to a basket of Indian public sector corporate bonds, including the Indian railways and Indian Rural Electrification Corporation, for the first time.
Quill worked closely with ZyFin to devise corporate messaging and media strategy leading up to and around this momentous event.
To build media interest around the listing of the ETF, Quill exploited the three-day visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 11 November 2015 highlighting the investment case for the sub-continent, securing coverage in national and trade publications ranging from The Telegraph, FT.com, FTSE Global Markets, WealthBriefing, WealthNet to ETF Strategy.
On 19 November 2015, the LSE welcomed ZyFin and Sun Global Investments, partners in this joint venture, to open trading on its markets. Ahead of this, an exclusive interview between the Financial Times and Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of ZyFin, Sanjay Sachdev and CEO of Sun Global, Mihir Kapadia ensured strong, on message coverage in an extremely influential publication to support the launch.
After the market open at 8.00am there were colourful speeches from Nikhil Rathi, CEO of LSE, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, SS Kohli, recently Chairman of India Infrastructure Finance Company, KC Chakrabarty, ex Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Mihir Kapadia, CEO of Sun Global and Sanjay Sachdev, Executive Chairman of ZyFin.
Quill masterminded a press breakfast roundtable held at LSE Group headquarters, focused on this new innovative EFT.
The LAM Sun Global ZyFin India Sovereign Enterprise Bond UCITS ETF trades under the tickers CRRY (GDP) and CURY (USD) and was thus dubbed the first ‘curry bond’. A press release was issued that morning resulting in a great deal of coverage and a flurry of tweets.
In addition, Quill PR drafted the wording for a Foreign Office document for inclusion in the Modi State Visit announcement and the listing was mentioned in a press release from the Prime Minister’s office:
“ZyFin and Sun Global announced that they would be listing the world’s first India fixed income exchange traded fund (ETF) on the London Stock Exchange – the broadest ETF market in Europe. Capitalising on the recent reforms led by Prime Minister Modi, this ETF will give international investors access to the Indian fixed income market, which is worth $1.3 trillion and is a vital source of finance for the infrastructure sector.”
Going beyond the UK
Quill PR worked with the Deutsche Börse on the logistics and press release ahead of the listing of the ETF on the Xetra on 17 November 2015, achieving broad coverage with key German publications.
To raise Troy Asset Management’s media profile in quality national and top-end investment media to attract new assets from discretionary and direct markets.
With a focussed campaign of press meetings, Quill has introduced Troy Asset Management to the senior journalists they need to know. This has led to a series of corporate profile and fund focus articles across a broad range of print and online media.
Quill uses news flow strategically and fund manager time efficiently to reach the publications read by Troy Asset Management’s clients and prospects. Additionally, Quill has worked with fund manager, Francis Brooke to ensure key media IFA commentators have his Trojan Income Fund on their radar.
Press coverage has been secured in all target publications including The Times, Financial Times, Investors Chronicle, Daily Telegraph, Citywire and Money Week.
Strong press relationships have been established with the fund managers regularly called by journalists for comment.
Quill’s ongoing brief is to maintain press relationships with a focus on Trojan Income and Spectrum funds.