Barclays Global Investments
The mutual fund industry has reached its prominence in Washington, in part, as a result of its successes in the marketplace. Mutual funds are widely owned in this country with approximately half of all households owning a mutual fund directly or through a retirement account. Two large and prominent trade associations, the Investment Company Institute and the Securities Industry Association, assist in providing the mutual fund industry a significant presence in Washington.
The Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) industry, too, has enjoyed market successes with growth climbing nearly 50% in 2004 and assets exceeding $220 billion. The industry will draw more attention in Washington as more individuals include ETFs as part of their personal investment portfolios and retirement accounts. This will be particularly true when ETFs become widely available as an investment choice for 401(k) investors. Presently, however, ETFs do not have their own voice in Washington and are not widely recognized by policy makers.
For this reason, it was vitally important for Barclays Global Investments (BGI), the industry’s recognized leader in ETFs, to make its presence known to policy makers in Washington. It was especially important their company to tell the story of ETFs and their role in the market. It would be unwise to grant the media the power to frame the initial introduction of your company and the ETF industry to Washington. Without a proactive strategy to position the industry and BGI, and control their message to political decision-makers, others will do so. This would have left them reacting to negative or inaccurate portrayals, negatively positioning their introduction to Washington. To avoid this situation, Prime Policy Group counseled BGI that strategic direct communications with policy makers was the most effective way to position the issues and their brand. Prime helped BGI develop a comprehensive education and positioning campaign for the relevant players in the Congress, their staff, and key Administration officials.
Prime Policy Group worked with BGI to establish strategies for elevating and advancing the interests of their company, starting with an initial education effort. We included benchmarks and a timeline so they could evaluate our progress in achieving set goals. Prime also worked with BGI to identify longer term goals for advancing their public policy objectives, such as strategic relationship building, thought-leadership positioning, and political participation. Our team reviewed the plans constantly and made on-going adjustments, to strengthen and extend our efforts to target and achieve our goals, and protect BGI’s corporate reputation and business interests.
Prime also coordinated strategic direct outreach to the SEC, working with and through third parties who could help carry our messages to the Commission.
Prime Policy Group assisted BGI in having an impact on matters before the SEC. Prime helped establish relationships with key Members of the Committees of jurisdiction over their issues, as well as Leadership Members and Members who represented their employees. The garnered Hill support strengthened business activities within the SEC through congressional inquiries, letters of support and Committee oversight.