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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.

Two Men and a Car — A Parable about Personalization


Joe complains to a business consultant that the direct mail campaign for his carpet cleaning business isn’t working.  Dan, the consultant, asks who he’s mailing to and Joe replies with the nicest zip code in town. So Dan invites him to go for a ride.

They immediately drive through a neighborhood of newer cookie-cutter houses. Bikes and scooters are strewn about the lawns, with Toyota Camrys and Dodge Caravans parked in the driveways.

Dan asks if Joe knows this neighborhood. “Oh yeah, I’m here all the time. The builder put wall-to-wall carpet in these homes and the families with kids and pets often need it cleaned.”

They drive by an assisted living facility and sprawling garden-style apartment complex. “How’s business here?” Dan asks.

“I didn’t even realize these were here. But they probably just replace the carpet between tenants.”

Joe learns a lot on his drive with Dan: “You need real data about... [read more]

The New Face of Actively Managed Exchange Traded Products



I recently sat down with Stephen Clarke (President, Navigate Fund Solutions), Gene Needles from American Beacon and Jim Fitzgerald from Victory Capital to discuss Eaton Vance’s exchange traded managed fund – branded as NextShares – for an Investment News webcast (watch the video here).   

We covered a lot of ground with some time spent on introducing the benefits of the new structure – or reintroducing the benefits depending on how familiar you are with NextShares. Very briefly, the exchange traded managed fund is a new actively managed fund structure designed to provide better performance relative to mutual funds via the reduction of portfolio expenses and other implicit costs. This is possible as the structure takes advantage of features more commonly associated with ETFs.  These include: 

-   Reduced operating costs -   Reduced  portfolio trading costs and cash drag -   Reduced capital gain distributions via in-kind creations/redemptions

Investors will also have the... [read more]

“Must Read” Twitter Feeds Feature Visuals


Short. Timely. Visual. Mobile. Twitter ticks all the boxes for social engagement with busy financial advisors. While the majority of advisors favor LinkedIn for social networking, 1 in 3 advisors follow at least one asset manager on Twitter, too.  Twitter’s innate brevity and frequency make it an indispensable tool in any firm’s client communication system, and in fact, 95% of firms have at least one Twitter account. 

But too many firms still use Twitter primarily to post text links to longer content on their blogs or websites. The opportunity lies in developing visual content that advisors can easily view and share on mobile devices, which nearly one-fourth of advisors are using as their primary device for reading news and updates. Already 1 in 4 advisors prefer video to other forms of content for financial education for clients, kasina’s research finds. 1 in 5 advisors prefer charts and graphs for investment... [read more]

Let’s Talk About Active ETFs


Calling all asset managers!  Are you thinking about ETFs?  You should be!  Do you have an ETF strategy?  You need one!  Why is that, you may ask?  The answer is not immediately obvious.  It’s not because of recent active manager performance woes relative to their passive counterparts nor the less than ideal sales trends in certain active asset class categories.  It’s not the active v. passive debate!

Let’s make this clear, I’m not going the route of advocating for or promoting the value of index investing over active investing.  In fact, I’m not going to discuss the merits of passive and active investing in any great detail.  Yes, there are some bad actively managed portfolios.  Yes, some indexed strategies have concentrated and unwanted risks.  A prudent portfolio construction approach will take care of the active and/or passive choice for each allocation in a portfolio.  I believe there is a place for... [read more]

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