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.

Want the Right Answer? Ask the Right Question.

Let’s take a minute to think back to Statistics class (it won’t be that bad – promise!)  We learned that a Type I error occurs when we reject a true hypothesis and a Type II error occurs when we fail to reject a false hypothesis. In our industry, asset managers are doing a great job minimizing Type I errors while not committing Type II errors. However, we learned about a third error in class, one that is still being committed by asset managers: Type III errors, where we correctly answer the wrong hypothesis.

Let us look at an example. Marketing and distribution teams at asset management firms conduct extensive research and data analysis to identify advisors using products that fall under the same asset categories as the products they themselves offer. Most of these firms have been successful in identifying and segmenting these advisors, minimizing Type I errors. Following the leads from... [read more]

The New Sales Transparency

As an Officer in DST’s Distribution Solutions Group, I talk with many data experts across the industry – business intelligence and analytics gurus – who are increasingly focused on what I like to think of as a new kind of sales transparency. Heightened competition for mutual fund assets and the desire to optimize every interaction with financial intermediaries are driving their multiple internal clients to request sales and asset insights beyond the types of information that visibility into sub-account details provided in the “old” transparency. Fund families and the asset management industry collectively are evolving toward a new level of sales transparency – one that is using sophisticated analytics to create new metrics that provide fresh insights into the practices of distribution partners.

Competing on Analytics

Applications that can enhance third-party distribution by calculating market share or predicting which products to market to individual advisors have gained a significant footprint already.... [read more]

What Amazon Prime Can Teach Us About DFA Advisors

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you probably do a lot of your online shopping at I know I do. After all, the $99 annual membership fee and free two-day shipping provide a strong incentive to do most of your online shopping with Amazon.

But how many members actually do ALL of their online shopping there? 

I know I don’t—Amazon accounts for less than half of my e-commerce purchases. Despite the incentives, there are some things they don’t carry, some things are less expensive elsewhere, and some things are just easier to find (like shoes and fabric) on specialty sites with product-specific search filters.

Yet during interviews for our most recent report, Debunking Four Myths of Selling to RIAs, one RIA channel executive at a small fund firm mentioned that their wholesalers used to just move on if they learned an advisor did a lot of business with Dimensional Fund Advisors... [read more]

Wirehouses or Independent Broker Dealers? That is the Question.

“Since everybody is chasing the wirehouse advisor, should we have more meetings with advisors in the IBD channel because we’ll have more of an impact?” We often get this question from our clients trying to find the right allocation of their sales force resources. Essentially, they want to know, is there is more bang for our wholesaler buck outside the wirehouses?

Using Advisor Insights data – our advisor survey gathered in partnership with Horsesmouth – I tried to get at an answer. In the survey, advisors answered questions on specific fund firms that they invest with. For those firms, they responded with whether they plan to do additional business with the firm. For those that indicated a desire to do more business, I looked at how many more times – on average – they had met with a wholesaler from that firm over the last year. This is should go some of the way to identifying... [read more]

Apple Watch: The Next Key Tool for Wholesalers?

Released earlier this year, the much-hyped Apple Watch is the first entirely new Apple product in 5 years and the first since the death of Steve Jobs.  While Apple’s offering is not the only smart watch on the market – Android Wear, for example, has been available for some time – it’s likely to be the product that takes the smart watch concept mainstream.  Despite being very new to market, the Apple Watch already provides access to a universe of apps from top-quality developers, while rival products struggle to compete. 

So what does this mean for the asset management industry?  Although the iPad initially met with skepticism, it was quickly adopted by salespeople and business executives, and is today an essential tool for many in our industry.  It’s too early to predict whether the Apple Watch will be equally popular, but it does offer a range of productivity features that... [read more]


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