To provide our clients with high quality tailored consulting and research, we need to know the financial services industry and our clients. To build lasting and profitable relationships, we dedicate ourselves to staying not just current on, but ahead of industry trends. This blog is intended to share our industry insights and, at the same time, to capture feedback from our readers.

Our New Home and Upcoming Plans

I am extremely excited for kasina to join the DST family, and greatly appreciative of the overwhelmingly positive responses kasina has received from our clients. Lee and I founded kasina with a mission to listen to our clients, have a deep understanding of their issues, and arm them with business analytics and forward-looking insights to transform their businesses.

As our industry moves rapidly toward data-driven distribution, marketing, and product strategies, our clients have increasingly told us that they need clean, up-to-date, actionable analytics and insights into their business and the industry.

They want to know:

Who are our firm’s top-producing advisors?

How do we determine the most optimal allocation
of sales and marketing resources?

Which products by asset classes or categories
have the highest retention rates?

Our new business relationship with DST will help clients answer their questions. It brings together kasina’s trademark business analytics and strategic advisement and... [read more]

Is A Million Dollar Salary Justified?

A client recently engaged our firm to help them assess an acquisition. There was quite a stir when they learned that the wholesalers at the target firm were earning a million dollars! The reaction is quite understandable if one just focuses on compensation – but as they say, “the devil’s in the details.” 

We believe that firms should pay attention to productivity metrics such as Gross/net sales per dollar of total compensation and gross/net sales per dollar of total expense in the territory.  The graph below is based on 2014 data collected for our Productivity Insights service.  The service is designed to help managers plan better, and includes data for RIA, DCIO, and annuity wholesalers as well as National Accounts.  It shows that external wholesalers selling only funds bring in $728 per dollar of total compensation (and $1156 per dollar of commission).  This is a much better way to benchmark... [read more]

What Makes a Good Portfolio Manager?

When promoting a product asset managers broadly focus on the 4 P’s: performance, process, portfolios and people. The first three are generally focal points when showcasing a product. It’s the people, however, who set the process, build the portfolio and drive performance. The people are the most vital component to an actively managed investment strategy. 

A critical phase of any manager due diligence is a thorough assessment of the investment management team and individuals behind the curtain. Having great people can set one asset manager apart from others. So how exactly do you demonstrate that you have great people, great investment teams, and great portfolio managers who are going to contribute to the ongoing success of a product? 

A great portfolio manager is a great team leader.

Telling others exactly why your team is so good at what they do is a challenging task. A solid historical track and a collection of awards and... [read more]

Most of Your Email is Useless. Why do Advisors Prefer It?

Many clients have asked us why their emails aren’t popular with advisors. They often have spent a lot of time and money on developing subscription functionality, slick design templates, and lots of content to promote. They even have large lists of subscribed advisors. But they don’t see the interest that they expected, and metrics are low.

When we present research that says 86% of advisors say they prefer to receive asset manager communications via email, yet they find just 20% of asset manager emails useful, clients scratch their heads. If you are scratching yours right now, yes, I am saying that most email content is useless and most advisors prefer to get it. Not only do marketers want to know why this is the case, they of course want to know what to do about it.

Why are emails useless to so many advisors? And what can your firm do about... [read more]

Millennials, Shark Tank and Silicon Valley

Discussions about the millennial generation having a true interest in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) philosophies have been coming up at conferences, in research and blogs – including a strong argument from our CEO Steven Miyao for the financial services industry to pay attention to the demand for such strategies. The prevailing wisdom is that millennials will demand more responsibility by the firms they invest in, and also the entities they invest through (i.e., advisors and asset managers). This is a break from the past where investors may generally like the spirit of it, but only to the point that it doesn’t interfere with performance. 

Millenials require corporate responsibility from their investments.

More Involvement with Their Investments

Without getting into the psychology and societal factors that drive the feeling that socially responsible investing is genuine among the next generation, I’d like to take a step in... [read more]


previous months