Allianz Global Investors (AGI) is one of the world’s leading asset managers, with over a trillion euros under management. Its parent, Allianz, targeted asset management as a core activity in 1998 and grew its presence by acquisition.

Consistency to drive growth
AGI, therefore, consisted of a number of independent asset managers, many of them, such as PIMCO and RCM, extremely well known in their markets. Having completed cost and performance restructuring programmes, the company recognised that good returns were not driving the growth they wanted. They needed a value proposition across the group to drive preference and sales behaviour, and to improve consistency.

Focus on client needs
Wolff Olins began by understanding the needs of AGI’s clients –institutions like pension funds, the consultants who advise them, and the intermediaries who advise individual investors and pension holders. These needs turned out to be different in important ways from what AGI had thought mattered most. Out of all this, we built a new value proposition and shared it with AGI’s top management.

We developed a sales academy and training programmes to teach AGI’s salesforce to deliver these needs. We built the value proposition into appraisal mechanisms and recruiting profiles. We developed communications strategies that drove preference, and we built criteria for new services that AGI would offer to financial intermediaries. We also set up a system to track the delivery of the value proposition across the firm.

A new mindset
The mindset internally has changed from a singular focus on financial performance to one where the client’s performance is central. The business was inevitably hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, but its new approach has given it resilience, new distribution channels and a new confidence in its future.