Went to a conference this morning where a highly-qualified marketing academic shared some of his thoughts on how we should go about brand-building in both retail and investment banking. Â I had quite a few problems with what he said, but by some distance the biggest was that he clearly didn’t have the faintest idea what investment banking actually is. Â He thought the term was synonymous with investment management, and went on about how terrible it is that these investment bankers collect such enormous bonuses just for managing mediocre funds.
My regular reader will know that I’m always very happy when I find unexpected and previously unrecognised differences between consumer and industry perceptions, especially when these are caused by what are in hindsight obvious ambiguities in the way we use language. His talk left me thinking he was a bloody idiot, but more keenly wondering quite excitedly about how many non-industry people suffer from the same misunderstanding.
If it’s a lot – which I suspect it may well be – then the consequences for the investment management industry are quite serious. It would mean that much, or even most, all the hysteria about bonuses is attaching quite mistakenly to them.
Well, I say “quite mistakenly.” To be honest, it’s not really antipathy towards investment managers, and disgust at their levels of remuneration, that are mistaken – it’s the failure to include the primary targets, proper investment bankers, within the orbit of ill-feeling.