PIMCO and Loomis Sayles—two institutional asset management firms occupying opposite ends of the assets under management spectrum—took the lead in brand loyalty from their current clients, according to Cogent Research’s recently released inaugural study, Institutional Investor Brandscape. 

Cogent found that across 10 individual aspects of client experience, the bond fund giant PIMCO and Loomis Sayles “wrestled for top billing on most attributes,” including those critical to garnering loyalty: investment performance, investment philosophy and investment team. Vanguard, Cogent found, outperforms all other managers on fees, while State Street Global Advisors took top billing in satisfying its customers in the area of relationship management.

Cogent’s report is based on a representative sampling of nearly 600 senior-level institutional investment professionals at pensions, endowments and foundations.

“As we come off a period where fixed income captured a proportionally larger share of institutional assets, PIMCO and Loomis Sayles stood out as best in class in capturing the loyalty of their clients,” said Christy White, Principal at Cogent, in a statement. “They’re very different firms but both were apparently successful in satisfying their clients’ needs.”

Vanguard placed third overall in asset manager loyalty, the report says. “Vanguard is emerging as a top-tier institutional player,” White says. "Vanguard’s success in moving its brand upstream into the institutional market is yet another sign of changing times where a high quality but low-cost value proposition can generate strong brand momentum.” Cogent’s Planscape Study 2010 also ranked Vanguard near the top in terms of provider brand loyalty among DC plan sponsors.