“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for financial services firms to prioritise their marketing and brand building programs. Over the past year, it became increasingly evident that firms that had a strong brand and reputation among current and prospective investors were able to more easily pivot to both virtual and hybrid fundraising as well as deal-making,” outlines Jennifer Prosek, Managing Partner, Prosek Partners.
This means that, looking ahead, the investments that firms dedicate within brand, reputation, digital, video, audio and the like will continue to grow, especially as the focus on retaining employees, culture and talent increases.
Prosek advises firms to have a clear and differentiated narrative: “Then, figure out the channels to amplify that message. Making use of audio, video, digital and modern communications channels is essential. And being prepared to communicate with investors both virtually and physically as we navigate a hybrid world.”
She further observes: “Pressure from talent and institutions to focus on ESG, D&I and culture overall, are also creating demand for consultancies like ours, and as firms grapple with the need to attract talent, source deals and raise money, growth in our industry will continue.”
Prosek Partners’ clients are focused on talent, capital and deal making, so the need for the services the firm provides is directly related in a bottom line way to all three of these things. “On all three fronts there are new challenges. As a result of the aforementioned growing demand for ESG and D&I track records, talent is demanding cultural differentiation,” Prosek comments, “The fundraising circuit has also changed dramatically due to the virtual world. All of these changes are creating new challenges for clients and new opportunities for us.”
Some of the changes in Prosek’s product and service mix are driven by the need to reach audiences differently, some by the expectations of talent, and many by the expectations of institutional investors. The pandemic has also driven a number of shifts in the firm’s modus operandi, including the need to be in different geographies and recruit talent in differentiated ways.
Over the past year, Prosek has seen banks, wealth, and asset managers, including leading private equity firms and hedge funds, expand their footprint in South Florida as a result of the pandemic. In response, Prosek opened a new office in Palm Beach, allowing the firm to serve existing and new clients in the region.
“This year, we also brought on several experienced colleagues to bolster our government affairs and special situations expertise and opened a new office in Washington D.C. to meet clients’ growing interest and demand in that area,” Prosek notes.
The firm also hired Katie O’Reilly from the Milken Institute to help support clients maximise the return on investment of conference sponsorship and attendance as in-person events become part of business practice once again.