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.

DOL Fiduciary Rule to Take Effect on June 9

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday evening, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta confirmed that the agency’s fiduciary rule will begin taking effect on June 9.

Acosta wrote that careful review has found “no principled legal basis to change the June 9 date, “and that “respect for the rule of law leads us to the conclusion that this date cannot be postponed.”

The announcement represents a victory for supporters of the rule, which requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts. The rule’s implementation was delayed for 60 days, from April 10 until June 9, while the DOL reassessed the regulation in response to a directive from President Trump. The Department has adopted a phased implementation approach, with final implementation of the Rule on Jan. 1, 2018.

A lengthy Q and A... [read more]

4 Asset Management Megashifts: Are You Moving Fast Enough?

Most of the industry recognizes that we are at a pivotal moment. But how many of us truly appreciate the seismic nature of the shift?

I believe that the industry will change more in the next ten years than it has in the last thirty, and that only half of existing asset managers and broker dealers will survive the next five to ten years. 

Here are the 4 megashifts in the market that every executive has to tackle. This is a wake-up call to all executives who believe that incremental changes are sufficient to position your organizations for the future.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning, natural language processing, and advance analytics will move the needle on technology that can replicate human interactions.  AI is already part of our consumer experience in the form of machine-generated content and recommendations. It will also become an integral part... [read more]

Surviving Management Fee Compression

Management fee compression is a big concern for most asset management firms – and with good reason.  As we outlined in our recent white paper, Capitalizing on Disruption: Transforming Asset Managers for 2020, regulatory initiatives, the growth of passive products, and the increase of fee-based advisory business are all exerting downward pressure on mutual fund fees.  In addition, broker-dealer consolidation and cuts to distributor product line-ups are creating increasing competition for shelf space.  Indeed, amongst US equity mutual funds, only the lowest fee decile garnered positive net flows over the course of 2016, with all other deciles experiencing net outflows. 

US Equity Mutual Funds: Net Flows ($B) by Management Fee Decile 
(1 = lowest fee, 10 = highest fee)                                                   

Unsurprisingly, funds... [read more]

Our 2017 Digital Summit: The Tide Has Turned For Digital Marketers

This past Tuesday, we hosted our Spring Digital Summit roundtable event in New York City – bringing together marketing, digital and analytics executives from across the asset management industry.  I kicked the morning off with a keynote address that asked attendees to challenge themselves to take a step away from the norm and to think about the next 5+ years, specifically focusing on the expectations involved in client experience, how their teams need to evolve, and the importance of data in virtually everything that they are responsible for.

It seemed to spur valuable discussion within the group, bringing light to clear trends (and progress in most cases) for our industry.

Firms are Asking More of Digital Teams

It is clear that the importance of digital is being recognized throughout the firm (for most asset managers) – far more today than it was even a year ago. This... [read more]


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