This marquee award is open to all investment-management companies (not individuals). AsianInvestor invites you to submit an essay of no more than 1,500 words in length arguing why you deserve it.
Send submissions to [email protected] no later than Friday, 9 April.
This award is by nature hard to define. So the best way to tell you what we're looking for is to give examples.
In 2008, we named Pimco manager of the year. Although Pimco has many strategies it is primarily a fixed-income house. This is what we said:
"2007 was a year when investors required that their fixed-income allocation play the role it was intended in asset allocation. The fixed-income allocation is the anchor to windward or the insurance policy against market turmoil. Unfortunately many fixed-income managers got caught up in the exuberance that was the markets in 2005 to July 2007 and reached for yield.
"Pimco views its role as a protector of principal, a provider of constant stream of income, and as the asset allocation that will offset their clients' risky asset allocations when the markets turn. This is the service it delivered in 2007.
"Its sound macroeconomic analysis, its long-term outlook to identify where the economic fundamentals will ultimately take the financial markets, and its focus on taking prudent risks for its clients enabled Pimco to protect its clients' assets during the market crisis of 2007 and outperform most of its peers."
We think we called that one right.
Last year, we named BlackRock manager of the year.
"The past year," we said, "has differentiated those with a true culture of risk management from the rest of the field. Indeed, sound risk management defined the handful of investment managers capable of protecting their clients from the worst effects of the downside and find alpha opportunities.
"BlackRock is not only a money manager, but a provider of risk management and enterprise investment services, which have been at the heart of its own investment strategies since the firm was created in 1988. Last year it established a financial market advisory group for holders of distressed assets, to allow them to evaluate, hedge, manage and restructure their portfolios.
"The firm has been active in partnering with clients to address the complex problems raised by the financial crisis. These include managing and advising special purpose facilities for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; managing and structuring $22 billion notional of mortgage-backed securities from UBS Securities on behalf of institutional investors; providing valuation advice to Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group regarding a $9 billion equity investment in Morgan Stanley; and performing valuation and loss projections for over $3 trillion in distressed mortgage and structured financial portfolios on behalf of private and public institutions globally.
"In short, BlackRock has been at the heart of the global financial crisis, neither as a cause nor a victim, but as a firm with the cutting-edge expertise and management to help investors survive and thrive."
We're very comfortable with that assessment – today BlackRock is the world's biggest asset manager full stop.
If there's anything in common it's that Pimco and BlackRock defined success in a given period of time, using their skills to protect investors from the crisis, or to help them restructure their way out of it – and making profits along the way. What have you done for your investors in the past year? How have you distinguished yourself amid the bull runs in credit and equities? Why do you deserve to known in Asia as asset manager of the year?
One last wrinkle. Last year we inaugurated what we hope is a tradition, by inviting the regional head at the asset manager of the year to deliver a keynote speech to our other awards dinner in autumn, for service providers. Peter Swarbreck at BlackRock graciously agreed, much to the benefit of our guests. So if you win this, your CEO or MD is morally committed to following Peter's footsteps. Pencil in the end of the third week of October.