At City of London, we focus not on gathering assets, but on building products that reflect our expertise. Initially, and for many years since the firm was founded, that expertise was very specific to closed-end funds which offered emerging markets exposure. This was subsequently complemented by applying our unrivalled knowledge of closed-end funds around the world to the development of a Frontier emerging markets strategy as well as a Developed markets closed-end fund strategy using the same investment process. Most recently, we have complemented our closed end fund approach, with research into the underlying equities in the small capitalization space of emerging markets. So today, while we remain both proud and protective of our "boutique" status, we offer a range of products which are defined by the twin pillars of our expertise: emerging markets and closed-end funds.
We have always striven to develop and nurture an investment process which does not rely on 'star' fund managers, but rather upon a series of analytical procedures that can produce repeatable and sustainable first or second quartile performance versus our peers. Our process employs an array of proprietary tools for analysing and identifying value. These quantitative tools supplement both macroeconomic analysis and the trading expertise that has been developed over a period of nearly 20 years. Whether it is taking advantage of discount anomalies in closed-end funds, or company specific valuations in our equity business, our aim is to deliver consistent relative outperformance combined with low volatility relative to the applicable emerging markets benchmarks.
Our clients are our business. If performance is our first priority, then client service is a close second. We understand that a "one size fits all" approach is not appropriate. Our aim is to be open and accessible to each and every client, and while we have a designated client service team we also expect and encourage our institutional clients to enjoy direct contact with fund managers and other key individuals within the investment management team. We acknowledge that our industry has faced some difficult issues in recent times, both with respect to the opaque practices of a few, and with respect to volatile market conditions. We are, and always have been, an open book to our clients. While we would never seek to impose, we try to anticipate the concerns of our clients, and with that in mind we offer personal visits by our senior investment officers to all of our institutional clients and achieve a significant take up rate. We believe that our focus on client service is a key driver of our long term client retention.