blog


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.

What It Really Means to Be a Marketing Leader

In this time of consolidation and disruption in the asset management industry, marketing has never been more important to differentiating your brand, bringing in new business and nurturing existing relationships.

And yet, today’s marketplace couldn’t be duller. Products look the same. Product pitches are the same. Value propositions are generic. Advisors receive the same email, have the same website experiences and see the same headlines regardless of which Twitter feed or LinkedIn page they follow.

Marketing is uniquely positioned to leverage creativity, data and technology to deliver relevant first impressions, influence decision-making and nurture loyalty. Marketers have data that lets them pinpoint likely prospects, opportunities for business development and signals of redemption. They have technology that enables sophisticated individualization of customer experience and real-time responsiveness.

Reimagining Marketing

Marketing executives at 1 in 3 firms recognize that by 2020 their teams will play a bigger role... [read more]

How National Accounts Can Position Their Firms to Win

National account teams are leading the distribution charge as asset managers battle severe headwinds in the intermediary wealth management market. Leading asset managers recognize their importance and are investing time, money and resources to build a talented team of platform and product professionals. 

It’s no secret the growth of managed accounts (fee-based) is having a major impact on the existing relationships asset managers have with their distribution partners. While there are many factors which have contributed to this growth – including regulation, technology, demographics and new competitive entrants – the result is the amplified scrutiny of approved products and the increasing influence of model portfolios on advisor decision-making and investment selection.

Bottom-line: National Accounts – both platform development professionals and research analysts – are critical to the success of asset managers!

Many distribution organizations are taking action now. Here are a few takeaways from our recent... [read more]

Answer Your Customers’ Unasked Questions

In my last blog post I spoke about the need for making product stories memorable, advocating for asset managers to tell them in new ways (and the importance of being relevant to the audience). We have found that when firms tout a clear and repeatable message about who they are and what makes their product(s) different, they’re remembered by advisors. One firm, for example, actively defends their active approach (pun intended) by positioning themselves as a risk management firm. As a result, 78% more advisors associate it with risk management vs. the average asset manager. To grab the attention of already inundated customers, think outside of the box of traditional fund objectives and data points and answer questions that customers don’t necessarily know that they have. 

What I Learned From Paper Towel Dispensers

I recently attended a large B2B marketing conference hosted by MarketingProfs, and sat in on... [read more]

Why Investment Solutions? Why Now?

The investment industry is undergoing a period of transformation.  Asset managers are increasingly shifting their focus from manufacturing products to developing solutions. Meanwhile, in the financial advisory space, goals-based wealth management is becoming the new way to do business.

But why are these changes taking place?  What are the drivers behind this industry transformation? Fee compression and product commoditization are often identified as the reasons why asset managers must ‘up their game,’ by designing solutions rather than just creating more products.  At the same time, shifts in advisor business models are often attributed to regulatory changes.  While all of these are relevant considerations, however, there’s an underlying factor that’s arguably even more important: investors’ changing lifestyles and priorities. 

Historically, designing investment solutions – at least for the majority of mass affluent investors – was seen as a relatively straightforward process. Advisors felt safe to assume that... [read more]

The Biggest Asset Managers Are Playing to Win. What Are the Rest Doing?

The largest asset managers are taking the turmoil in the industry seriously, investing heavily in data, national accounts, changing the role of wholesaling and de-channelizing, while the rest of the industry is hoping for the glory days to return.

Strong markets continue to drive record AUM, lifting asset-generated fees. Operating margins recovered in the second quarter of 2017, and AUM grew by 12.1%. This may seem like great news for the industry, and in the short term it is certainly a welcome reprieve. But when you consider the broader perspective, it actually masks the real problems facing the majority of active asset managers.

For the last two and half years, we have seen negative flows of $485.6 billion in active funds and active ETFs. At the same time, $1.3 trillion have poured into passive funds and ETFs. What will happen if the 8-year bull market... [read more]

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