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.

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]

4 Reasons Why Client Retention is a High Impact Strategy

Client retention is as fundamental to business success as acquisition. But even though firms on average are seeing $.97 of every $1 of inflow go out the door, many asset managers focus their sales teams primarily on the acquisition of new advisors and developing business with existing clients.  Four important reasons to focus on resources on client retention are cost, brand perception, customer insight and product management.


Cost Efficiency

It is more cost effective to cross- and up-sell to existing customers than to attract, educate and convert new ones. It is well-known that the cost of acquiring a new customer averages five times more than the cost of retaining an existing customer.  Given that many advisors are shutting their doors to new wholesalers, firms are better off increasing growth—with less cost— by retaining and developing business with existing customers rather than acquiring new ones.

Brand Enhancement

New clients don’t have a history with... [read more]

Robo-Advisors? Why Human Financial Advisors Are Here to Stay

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal published a couple of articles anchored in the personal finance arena. One article discussed the ways in which people incorrectly forecast which purchases will make them the most happy. The other article presented compelling evidence that younger people today are saving less than their counterparts in years past. Intentionally or not, both of these articles contain interrelated messages essential to the personal finance and asset management industries. Indeed, if we aren’t saving money now, chances are we won’t have the privilege of spending it in the future.

Research from a variety of disciplines has consistently shown that left to their own devices, people exercise notoriously bad judgment[1]. Influenced by emotion and cognitive heuristics alike, we often make poor decisions when it comes to our money. I argue that these biases will sustain the survival of the human financial advice and planning industry.

The... [read more]


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