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.

NICSA Recap: Sales Enablement, Marketing and Compliance, Nirvana and More

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting on “Next Generation Sales Enablement” at NICSA’s (National Investment Company Service Association) Strategic Leadership Forum. In addition to the conference highlights that I shared on Twitter (@kowarski), I wanted to recap a few key takeaways from my panel and the other sessions at the conference:

Sales Enablement

As my colleagues have explored on numerous occasions on this blog, the asset management industry is investing heavily into analytics and tools to bring data to life for Sales teams. From DST kasina’s Distribution Intelligence Platform to CRM systems to custom-built mobile apps, many of the leading asset managers are actively working to make data actionable – and for good reason: firms that have invested in advanced analytics (across industries) experience 10-15% revenue growth, 30% increase in retention, and 100% better communication between sales and marketing (according to research by Forbes, Forrester, and McKinsey). In our industry,... [read more]

Accelerated DOL Timeline Puts Pressure on Asset Managers

The news that the Department of Labor delivered the final conflict of interest rule to the Office of Management and Budget should goad into action any asset managers that have anticipated a leisurely transition or even scuttling of the regulation. While the OMB has up to 90 days to review the rule, it is likely to expedite the process. That means the DOL could release the final rule publicly as early as March. If the rule moves forward, it will likely be effective before the end of the Obama administration, assuming that the challenges anticipated to be mounted by Congress are rebuffed.

Under the proposed rule, the definition of a fiduciary would expand and firms would have eight months to implement requirements eliminating conflicts of interest in providing financial advice to a plan, plan fiduciary, participant, beneficiary, IRA or IRA owner. If implemented, the DOL rule will also fast-track current trends... [read more]

Our 2016 Outlook for Product, Distribution, and Marketing in the Asset Management Industry

Last year was an auspicious one for most asset managers, with overall operating margins approaching the mid-30s. Troubling developments have emerged in recent quarters, however, threatening to lower industry profits.

Actively managed mutual funds bled assets in 2015, with almost $133 billion in net outflows, compared to $176 billion in net inflows to passively managed funds, according to Morningstar. This shift was compounded by an additional $245 billion in net new capital to ETFs.

Additional threats to profitability are substantial. A slowdown in highly profitable liquid alternative products, the dampening appetite for bond funds, increased regulatory scrutiny, higher compliance costs, and a meaningful increase in market volatility are all looming. All in all, we anticipate a tough year for the industry in 2016 and forecast that profit margins will decline by at least 100 basis points from last year’s average of 34.8%.

In this environment, we anticipate the following trends to shape... [read more]

Your Top 3 Digital Marketing Questions Answered


I’m excited to announce that we’ve enhanced DST-kasina’s popular digital marketing research subscription service, E-Business Compass (EBC). We have essentially put our EBC subscription on steroids by marrying the publication with our legacy Digital Platforms data service.* Now, via a single service, we can answer the three most commonly asked questions we receive from CMOs and Digital executives regarding websites, email and social media:

“What are Leading Firms Doing?”

Execs not only want to know who is doing a good job tactically; they want to know how they are doing it. We provide examples of best practices and insight on what it takes to execute them, as well as the value they provide the firms. We publish 4 articles per month on relevant trends we see in emerging technologies, online behaviors, websites, email and social media. And we meet with subscribing clients’ digital teams to discuss these topics.

“How Does Our Firm Stack... [read more]

Think Like a Wholesaler: How to Develop Better BI Tools for Sales Teams

In their quest to gain a competitive edge, leading asset managers are investing in business intelligence (BI) tools. For many firms, sales enablement is a key focus – in other words, helping wholesalers operate more efficiently and effectively as the ‘front line troops’ of the distribution organization. These BI tools aim to help wholesalers target the right advisors, with the right message, at the right time. But even the best, most powerful BI tools are a waste of money if they’re not actually used.

How can asset managers get the most value out of their investment in sales enablement tools? By thinking like a wholesaler. Sales commissions still make up the lion’s share of most wholesalers’ compensation plans, so tools that help wholesalers sell more effectively appeal directly to the bottom line. Another key consideration is whether the tools make the wholesaler’s life easier, not more complicated. Tools that add... [read more]


previous months