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 If Your Best Opportunities Aren’t Where You’ve Been Looking?

While the biggest firms can afford to put boots on the ground in every region, small and mid-sized firms have to make strategic decisions about which parts of the country they’ll cover with what resources. Historically, many firms have responded to this challenge by designing their territories around ‘money centers,’ with senior externals focusing on the biggest metropolitan areas.  In an era before sophisticated analytics, this strategy made sense. Major metropolitan areas typically have not only the highest concentration of advisors but also the advisors who manage the most money, so covering these areas with the most experienced salespeople is clearly the logical choice. 

Or is it?  In our 2017 report, Preparing Sales Teams for Change, we wrote about how firms can use analytics to optimize sales coverage models, focusing on the three pillars of Value, Opportunity and Influence. 

To be worth covering, advisors must... [read more]

What Happens When the Bull Market Ends? 8 predictions for 2018 and Beyond

The market continues to deliver. Assets under management are breaking records, lifting fees. Operating margins rose strongly in the third quarter of 2017, reaching an average 34.2% — the highest in the last eight quarters — for the 15 publicly traded asset management firms that comprise the DST Research, Analytics, and Consulting (DST) Asset Manager Composite.

But just under the surface of these encouraging results, a much more complicated and daunting picture emerges. In the third quarter of 2017 alone, the top ten asset managers accounted for 50% of all net flows, while more than half of the 719 asset managers in the industry experienced net outflows. For the last two and half years, active funds and active ETFs suffered negative flows of ~$500 billion. Meanwhile, more than $1.3 trillion poured into passive funds and ETFs.

When markets are strong, it is often easy to... [read more]

Why Your Distribution Strategy Requires Business Intelligence

Most asset managers are now aware that business intelligence is not an optional extra, especially when it comes to distribution strategy.  Despite this, business intelligence has primarily been viewed as a support function within many firms’ distribution organizations, responsible for providing leaders with on-demand analytics that they can use to help drive strategic decisions. This status quo is being shaken up, as leading asset managers are realizing that the best distribution strategies are those that integrate business intelligence into every step of the process.  In today’s world, the age-old questions of which advisors to cover, which resources to deploy, and when to contact them can no longer be answered effectively without robust data and analytics. 

One area in which the value of integrated business intelligence can clearly be seen is that of sales team structure and composition. As firms begin to experiment with flex distribution models, matching... [read more]

3 Trends to Drive Higher Email ROI With Advisors

Email is the most frequent type of contact between asset managers and advisors – and the one advisors are most receptive to. But like everyone else’s, advisors’ inboxes are overflowing with messages that are ignored. We believe many firms aren’t using this channel effectively enough to reach their goals.


To be effective, firms must stand out with messages that are highly relevant and engaging. Our new report, Destination Inbox: Increasing Email Relevance and ROI, can help asset managers do exactly that, with several emerging email trends we expect to become status quo by 2020:

Make Personalization Truly Personal

With advanced segmentation, detailed customer data and AI, firms can develop unique messages for each advisor and deliver them in real time.

Think Conversations, Not Campaigns

By shifting from traditional campaigns to triggered messages, email marketing responds to the advisor’s behavior to help advance the decision journey.

Turn... [read more]

“Outsiders” Take Digital Leadership Roles and Shake Up Their Firms

Every executive at every firm needs to understand digital, especially how and where it adds value for its customers. For the first time, it seems that most do and are investing in digital capabilities – putting digital teams on the right trajectory for their firms’ long term success.

The majority of digital leaders attending DST’s Future of Digital roundtable have come from industries outside of asset management – this is not something that was true 5+ years ago.  These new leaders have been great change catalysts for how digital teams work to add value to the business, highlighting the value, and propelling their stature.

The Biggest Changes

During a very candid and engaging conversation, I felt a sense of optimism from the group. Aside from some frustration at the speed of change, which we often all share, digital teams are progressing and growing from serving as mere... [read more]


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