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.

Too Many Websites Spoil the Experience

Asset managers work with a wide spectrum of customers. They include wirehouse advisors, broker-dealers, RIAs, institutional consultants, endowments, analysts, cash management pros, DCIO specialists, retail investors and more. But the way in which most firms’ websites are set up to service these audiences is such a head-scratcher to me. 

Information Architecture or Org Chart?

Standard operating procedure has been to create multiple websites for multiple segments, in some cases for each segment. This is an old school approach that forces the information architecture into silos that resemble company org charts more than how customers identify themselves. This isn’t just an inefficient user experience problem, but it has surely gotten (unnecessarily) expensive to maintain, too. So why do it? 

A variant of this question has come up in the kick off meeting of each website strategy project we have worked on over the last 6 months – each from the head of... [read more]

Increasing the Effectiveness of a Growing RIA Salesforce

RIAs are likely to receive even more calls from asset managers in 2016, with 64% of firms now featuring RIA dedicated salesforces, up from 47% in 2014, according to kasina’s 2015 Productivity Insights research. And this percentage is expected to rise even further in the next 12 moths. 

According to kasina’s 2015 Productivity Insights report, 64% of firms have an RIA dedicated salesforce, up from 47% last year.

Approaching RIAs

Dedicated salesforces go a long way to help asset managers better address the demanding questions RIAs have. We see one common thread among several RIA websites: they see client interests as the number one priority. What this suggests to asset managers is that RIAs are interested primarily in specific products rather than individual firms.

From kasina’s 2015 Advisor Insights, financial advisors were asked in a preliminary survey: “Which of the following areas would you like asset managers to help you with?” Thirty-four percent of RIAs... [read more]

Why Sales Visits Matter Less For Some Advisors

Back in July, I wrote a blog post about allocating sales resources across distributor relationships. The gist was there are certain broker/dealers – most of which likely show up in your focus firm list – where it is clear that an extra wholesaler meeting can motivate an advisor to do more business. Of course, the flip side is there are distributors where an incremental meeting is largely ineffective at prompting advisor activity.

The distributor where advisors seem least swayed toward doing more business with a firm, based on a wholesaler visit, was Raymond James. My thinking for why this was is the strong culture around home office research at Raymond James was leading advisors to follow the research team’s guidance, instead of their connection with wholesalers.

This week, we wrapped up our Productivity Insights survey of National Accounts executives, and the results of that survey give more perspective on Raymond James.

Not... [read more]

The Changing Advisor Landscape

We recently hosted a group of tenured sales and distribution leaders from many of the top asset managers at our annual Distribution Roundtable. At the prior evening’s networking event, we welcomed representatives for the first time from UBS, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stable and Hightower to participate on a panel discussion focused on financial advisor trends. 

We covered a lot of ground during the evening panel discussion and morning roundtable, but the topic that stood out the most was the changing advisor landscape. Both asset managers and broker/dealers agreed the changing advisor landscape is having a large impact on how asset managers work with broker/dealers and their network of advisors. 

What’s Changing?

The number of advisors is decreasing, they’re taking less calls and meeting with fewer asset managers, they’re using model portfolios and recommended list products in greater proportions and are now more receptive than ever to using new types of products –... [read more]

Clients Need to Hear You When the Market Swoons

August was a volatile month for the stock markets, and pundits were out in force sharing their opinions. To be sure, there were the usual and customary rock star portfolio managers included in the programming, but to a great extent, asset managers were not the ones explaining the situation and framing the conversation. The absence of opinions and insights on advisor websites and social media was even more shocking.

We gathered this information above by reviewing the website and social media activity of 11 leading asset managers’ activity between August 24 and August 30. Conference call transcripts, interviews on CNBC posted on the website/social media and the like were counted as well.

What can we conclude?

The most straightforward deductions are:

-   Asset managers need to be more engaged in the discussion, especially to significant changes in markets -   They need to do it fast

But the larger implication is that asset managers... [read more]


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