In this special edition, Kirsten is joined by EPFR’s CEO Todd Willits, who will comment on the company’s recent rebrand and what this exciting change entails for the firm and its customers in the months to come.
For over 20 years, EPFR has built a reputation for providing data expertise to customers and media from across the globe, and we will discuss with Todd why EPFR is ‘the intelligence behind intelligent decisions’. Besides, as a newly independent company, we will analyze our future plans and our ambition to build an ever-closer engagement with our customers.
There will also be a chance for Todd to touch base on the major themes and topics being explored through EPFR’s specialized data, with emerging markets and the future of energy capturing increasing interest in early 2023.
This is the EPFR Exchange Podcast. All opinions expressed by Cam, Kirsten or our podcast guests are solely of their own opinion and do not reflect the opinion of EPFR, part of private equity Montagu's portfolio of stand-alone companies. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for investment decisions.
Hello everyone, thanks for joining us! Today's podcast will have a slight change of pace as we want to share with you an exciting roadmap for 2023 and what EPFR's rebranding entails. I'm pleased to welcome Todd Willits, the CEO of EPFR and original host of this show back on the EPFR Exchange Podcast. Todd, what can you tell us about the first couple weeks of the new year?
Well first off, thanks for having me. It's been a busy start to the year. We've been out seeing quite a few clients and as you alluded to, we took a major step on our quest to be our own entity and move faster. And that was the rebranding that most of our clients and colleagues will see with our new visual identity and brand story.
Very exciting. So what does this rebrand represent for EPFR?
I think it's our first opportunity to have a public-facing brand and identity that matches what we actually do. So it's another step on our quest to be more and more relevant and closer to our client's needs. So, it's really us being out in front as this 'intelligence behind intelligent decisions' that our clients are making every day.
Well EPFR always states that we are the 'intelligence behind intelligent decisions' and it's one of the first things you see on our new website. What does this imply or why should it convince financial institutions to partner with EPFR?
Yeah, we have an expertise and focus that I think is really valuable to our institutional clients. We've been a data company since the early 2000s, so that data expertise and 20 years into this adventure, you know we've really refined our delivery, the understanding that our clients are taking a global view of markets. So I think that's really important and feeds a lot of the intelligence. We track destination rather than domicile. So where is money actually moving rather than where is it-- purely where it's coming from and then the granularity that we have down to a share class level. This all is part of that 'intelligence behind intelligent decisions'. Our clients need to be able to have a complete picture of asset movements, how allocations are changing, etc and our data really powers them to be able to make the right decision at the right time.
So what excites you most about EPFR's current situation and short-term future? How are customers going to benefit from it?
Ultimately, we want to get much closer to our customers and evolve together. We are now in a private equity world. We know that we're going to evolve and shape what we look like over the next few years. My hope is and the intention is that our customers will be the ones who actually drive it. So helping them get insight into areas of the market where they feel it's a little more opaque and they need some guidance. Just making confident intelligent decisions about global macroeconomic events that we're seeing, not being the last to exit a position but maybe being one of the first to exit a crowded position. I think ultimately, it's really, what are our clients looking to accomplish. If we have some view or insight into that, we want to be expanding that and helping more and more clients make the right decisions.
So EPFR, like you mentioned has been in business for more than 25 years now. Looking back but also ahead, what would you say constitutes the core of EPFR?
I think it's specialization. The company started in, as you said, more than twenty-five years ago back in '95. It was a specialist emerging market newsletter. We may have shifted focus over the years to not only Developed Markets but data, which I think is probably-- many people would say is the core of our business that data that we provide. But I think it goes one further to specialism in data and understanding a complex part of the market that really can tip the scale in our client's favor. So we give facts, not estimates. That's something that a lot of our clients have always really loved about what we offer that it's truth in data rather than assumptions being made broadly. So I think those intelligent decisions I was talking about previously really are facilitated by the specialism that we have in this niche part of the financial services data world.
Couldn't agree more. And as we kind of move into- more into the first quarter, are there any major themes or topics being explored through our data right now?
Yeah, the quant team and research team are always engaging in quite a bit of research I know they're currently off of the back of some client demand for this sort of research looking at EM (emerging markets) versus what those emerging markets look like when you exclude China. It's just such a major player in the global economy and kind of dwarfs the rest of the emerging markets as far as size and volume goes. Is there a different way of looking at emerging markets that sets China in its own special bucket? And then a recurring theme that we'll see throughout this year starting in Q1 but really continuing through the end of the year is the future of energy. There's a lot of interest obviously given what's happening in Eastern Europe and Ukraine around energy prices and commodity prices broadly. I think there's going to be likely a shift or a view that starts to emerge that energy independence is going to become more and more important for a number of countries. Europe is certainly an area that's feeling that now. So we're going to look more and more into the future of energy through a number of the quantitative views that our team can develop.
Great, great and I think that may turn into a bit of a Quants Corner coming up-- the Emerging Markets versus EM ex-China. Well, thank you, Todd, for all your insight on the newly branded EPFR, and thank you everyone for joining us today. So to learn more about our data and offerings please visit www.epfr.com and if you have any questions pertaining to this episode, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please take a listen to the next episode with EPFR Director of Research Cameron Brandt as we took a look at investor sentiment, where money is moving and why, and reflect on trends seen in EPFR's Fund Flows and Allocations data. Thank you, Todd!
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