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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.

E-Business 2015: Personalization and Content Marketing

Firms understand that advisors expect to see personalization. Collecting data allows them to create the experience advisors want.

e-Business plays an exciting and important role in transforming how asset managers and insurers do business. Easy access to online information and increasing reliance on community recommendations are changing the retail asset management industry. User expectations are evolving and advisors now demand innovative, personalized digital strategies. Centered at the core of these developments is the e-Business team, who must continually adapt to stay at the forefront of the rapidly changing milieu.

Looking at the evolution of e-business teams and practices, kasina recently conducted a survey of e-business executives at leading asset management firms to assess their plans for the future. E-business teams today are in charge of developing digital business strategies that seek to improve customer insight, develop customer relationships and demonstrate impact from a profitability standpoint. To that end, key themes emerged giving... [read more]

Want Prospects to Consider Your Brand? Impress them Digitally


A memorable and consistent customer experience is paramount for asset management brands. And many of our clients are focused on providing one, asking us lots of questions about how to approach it – especially those focused on advisor retention. Some, frankly not enough, mention prospect experience almost as an afterthought during these conversations. It’s a mistake to not widen the scope of any customer experience strategy to consider prospects with equal importance and improving digital capabilities is the way to do it.

Digital Capabilities Fuel Prospect Consideration

If you can agree with me that having 25%+ of advisors considering your brand is large enough and worth paying attention to, think about this:

-   Over 25% of advisors told us they are considering doing business with certain brands this year for the first time, according to kasina’s most recent Advisor Insights
-   5 of these brands were ranked in kasina’s top... [read more]

5 Issues to Consider During Your 2015 Distribution Planning


Every year, it seems that the strategic planning process begins earlier and earlier.  As I have been helping firms start to think about their distribution strategy for 2015, a few issues have popped up regularly during recent consulting projects:

1)   Compensation: As Jeff Strange recently wrote on our blog, wholesaler commission structures that are solely tied to gross sales need to be changed.  While the specific solution will vary from firm to firm, every company needs to ensure that their comp plan aligns wholesaler incentives with the firm’s objectives.

2)   RIA Distribution: Nearly every firm in the industry is increasing its focus on RIA distribution.  With ~10% of the average wholesaling team now being made up of dedicated RIA wholesalers, firms are regularly running into issues around ownership for RIAs.  The line between RIA and retail distribution is typically blurred by dually-registered reps, causing never-ending internal battles over credit for sales.  Regardless... [read more]

Compensate DC Wholesalers for the Long Game


Most asset managers are starting to evaluate their wholesaler compensation plans for next year. Much has been written about retail wholesaler compensation, but firms should also consider how to better compensate wholesalers who sell to DC-focused advisors. This business is an institutional, relationship-based business that takes time to develop. Unfortunately, DC compensation is typically comprised of gross commissions, which puts the focus on short-term sales. This dynamic creates a significant disconnect for wholesalers.

Asset managers must reward wholesaler efforts involving consultative sales practices such as education and value-added programs (VAPs). Asset managers should incentivize collaboration with other people within the firm, since as most firms know, DC sales is not a one-man show. A few examples from recent consulting compensation engagements:

Though firms want their DC wholesalers to play the long game, current compensation plans encourage short-term goals.

-     One of our clients accomplishes this by basing... [read more]

Which Online Metrics Should Asset Managers Track? (Part 1)

Our kasina Digital Platforms reveals the second most popular source of traffic to asset manager websites is search engines, following direct traffic from typed URLs and/or bookmarking. In 2013, more than 90% of asset managers saw an increase in traffic coming from various search engines. Moreover, Digital Platforms data indicates the average asset manager intermediary website experienced a 7.4% increase in traffic from search engines from Q1 2013 to Q4 2013. This increase in traffic comes from firms launching both search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).

Measuring the success of SEO/SEM campaigns therefore is vital for digital marketing teams to meet their business goals and to manage their website and online marketing budget and ROI.

The majority of asset managers, however, have fallen behind in clearly measuring the success of these campaigns. For example, kasina’s Digital Platforms data shows that less than 1/3 of asset managers track search engine ranking[1].

By... [read more]

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