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.

Three Lessons from Fund Family Mergers & Acquisitions

With the “free for all” auction of Russell Investments by the London Stock Exchange coming up,  I thought that I would share a few observations from recent consulting engagements where we have advised asset management and insurance companies on potential mergers and acquisitions:

Funds are Much More Than Their Performance

Often, a potential acquirer will get enamored with a target’s product line-up featuring a variety of strong performing, well rated funds. They will salivate over the prospect of making those products available to their sales force and dream about the new sales records that they will set. Unfortunately, these firms often neglect other critical product attributes – particularly capacity.  It is critical to understand the upside (and limitations) fully before making an acquisition. A strong performing, but capacity-constrained product will not be nearly as profitable as one with significant room for growth.  Our product consulting team always conducts in-depth analyses and... [read more]

How Much Should You Spend on Online Campaigns?

As firms commit to increasing investments in their digital marketing, digital teams need to create and justify budgeting for online campaigns. Compared to traditional channels, online initiatives offer quantifiable metrics that should be used to inform budgets. But digital marketing teams need to start with a comparative analysis of website users.

 Most analytical tools (such as Google analytics, web trends, net insights, etc.) offer comprehensive features to track website user metrics, such as number of visitors, returning visits, time spent on website, bounce rate, and conversions. Firms should then use various methods to target clients online, such as paid traffic, keyword optimization, email, etc.

Many firms, however, fall short of performing comparative analysis in order to optimize their online budget. We want to look at three actionable steps firms should take to ensure they have their optimal budget.

Step 1: Identify all your website traffic sources,such as email, news, keywords, etc., of... [read more]

5 Signs Your Organization is Falling Behind

As I’ve mentioned before, brand differentiation may the biggest problem for asset managers. But equally important (and very much related) is a lack of innovation in firms. One of the best things about working as a consultant is hearing perspectives from a diverse set of executives. It’s exciting to see where firms are headed. But it’s just as disappointing to see where firms are missing out – often having difficulty getting out of their own way, to be quite candid. Change tends to be scary and avoided at all costs in the culture of many firms. Unfortunately, firms who aren’t open to change will lose to those that are constantly innovating.  

How evolved is your firm?


Here are 5 of the least favorite things that I’ve heard from executives when discussing their marketing, distribution, or digital strategies in the last year:

 “Our wholesalers and RMs need to leave a [paper]... [read more]

The RIA Product (Development) Conundrum

Sales and growth of assets of mutual funds and ETFs by independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) have increased rapidly over the last several years.  In fact, according to an InvestmentNews benchmarking study, 20% of RIAs participating in their survey managed $1B or more in assets in 2014.  That number was only 2.5% a decade ago. 

The total asset growth for the channel and relatively larger volume of assets at the firm level has made the RIA an attractive target for mutual fund and ETF sponsors.  kasina’s Productivity Insights data shows that almost half of asset managers have at least one person focused on sales to the RIA channel with an average of 4-5 people dedicated to winning the hearts and minds of this diverse set of firms.  Competition is certainly heating up!

Segmenting the RIA Population

Not only is the competitive field growing among asset managers, RIA product distribution is notoriously difficult. RIAs... [read more]

The Art and Science of DCIO

Last Tuesday, we held our DCIO Sales Roundtable. The morning’s discussion was marked by the enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and idea-sharing by DCIO distribution executives. One of the themes that emerged from the discussion was the value of separating the art from the science of successfully engaging the DCIO market. In terms of the science, we largely considered the identification of selling opportunities and the tracking of success with those opportunities. The art would be the relationship management and value-added components of the relationship.

Of course, for an organization to be successful, the art and science need to work in coordination. But the responsibilities for the two can live in different places in the organization. Ultimately, the message from many DCIO executives was that analytics capabilities and data inputs have increased considerably in the last few years, but the use of data needs to be optimized within their organizations. Alternately, taking advantage of opportunities... [read more]


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