CFA Institute replaces FleishmanHillard with Ogilvy as PR AOR

The investment professionals' association ended its relationship of seven years with incumbent FleishmanHillard when it teamed up with Ogilvy PR. It began working with the WPP firm this month on the five-year, seven-figure account.

The audience at the #GIPS16 Conference put on by CFA Institute. (Image via the organization's Twitter account).
The audience at the #GIPS16 Conference put on by CFA Institute. (Image via the organization's Twitter account).

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA: CFA Institute has brought on Ogilvy Public Relations as its PR AOR, with the goal of creating a global integrated communications campaign to make its brand bolder and more purpose-driven and to support its agenda.

The nonprofit CFA is well-known for testing professionals and awarding certifications, but the association wants to raise awareness about its other work, such as promoting the investment management profession worldwide and advocating for ethical behavior, said Michael Collins, MD of service delivery.

Ogilvy expects to finalize its campaign by the end of next month and roll it out in phases in the first quarter of next year. It will target 12 markets in three regions: the Americas, including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and Mexico; EMEA, including the U.K., France, Germany, and Switzerland; and APAC, focusing on China, India, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Collins said CFA wants to filter the campaign’s global message through a local lens.

"If you think about [CFA’s] focus on setting the standard for excellence with investment professionals, we believe that required a partnership with an agency like Ogilvy PR to help us bring the local market view back to the center," said Collins. "And that is a key shift from how CFA had been operating from more of a ‘center-out’ model."

Ogilvy beat at least a dozen other global agencies during a competitive pitch early this summer with multiple rounds worldwide to win the seven-figure, five-year deal, Collins said. The partnership began this month, at the start of CFA’s fiscal year after the transition process was finished. As many as eight staffers are working on the account.

FleishmanHillard previously served as the organization’s PR AOR.

CFA typically goes back to the market every five to seven years to evaluate its agency relationships, according to Collins. However, the group said it was planning to examine its agency roster regardless because of the "opportunity to have a truly integrated approach that moves beyond PR and social, and brings every tool in the comms toolbox into the mix," he said.

"We had a terrific relationship that’s unfortunately come to an end, but that’s something that happens in the cycle of our business," said FleishmanHillard CEO John Saunders. "It’s always sad to part with a company that we enjoyed such a good relationship with."

Despite also recently losing its HP business along with fellow Omnicom Group agency Porter Novelli, Saunders said the firm recorded its best August yet and is on-track for its best September, as well.

"We were informed about [the CFA account loss] several months ago, and we digested it a long time ago," he said. "But as with any valued client, we’re always sad when a relationship comes to an end."

CFA engaged External View Consulting as a third party to lead the agency search and selection process, according to a statement. The organization works with MullenLowe Profero on brand advertising,

Stuart Smith, global CEO of Ogilvy PR, said CFA’s larger aspirations were one reason the firm was attracted to the account.

"Trust is in short supply in this world today, and CFA supplies [that], which is important in a sector where trust is not particularly at its height," Smith said. "Translating that locally takes all different shapes and flavors. We expect our teams to work in two ways: one central idea we’re trying to push down locally, but also strong co-creation from our local offices. A proper sort of ‘glocal’ plan, if you would."

Smith added that his team will look at the potential to use social, content, and other methods to drive messaging, though its campaign will focus on global media relations, according to a statement.

CFA has a network of 147 member societies and 147,000 members worldwide, Collins said.

"[It] represents a channel and massive area of opportunity to drive our message locally through the member society," Collins said. "That’s one of the key areas along with offering a truly integrated mix that Ogilvy brings to us better than any other agency we looked at."

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