May 20, 2015

Deciphering wholesaling models

by Milin Iyer

The mutual fund industry has changed drastically over the last 20 years. However, many industry experts feel that current wholesaling models haven’t evolved alongside the marketplace. During the SunStar Strategic 2015 Client Conference, attendees had the opportunity to learn from industry experts about what they and their teams are doing to sell their mutual funds and market their firms.

The panel “Deciphering Wholesaling Models” was led by Todd Buck, Senior Partner and President at Wheelhouse Analytics; Scott Herrick, National Marketing and Client Service at Becker Capital Management; and Dave Mertens, Managing Director at Jensen Investment Management; and was moderated by Bob Tebeleff, of SunStar Strategic.

May 12, 2015

What do investors really want?

by Ana Larreta

Those of us who attended SunStar Strategic’s 2015 Client Conference had the opportunity to network with great professionals in the asset management space as well as learn from various educational sessions planned out for the day.
I particularly enjoyed the panel called “What Do Investors Really Want?” where panelists Dennis Bowden (Associate Director, U.S. Research & Advisory at Strategic Insight), Kevin McDevitt (Senior Research Analyst at Morningstar), and Matthew Ramos (Sr. Portfolio Manager at Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blaney, Inc)discussed what the most relevant  trends are currently in the mutual fund space.
Two major trends surfaced in the conversation:
  • The advisor distribution market has shifted in the last 10+ years, moving away from a commission culture to a “fee for advice” structure. This phenomenon has opened up the competitive space and leveled the field for many mutual fund companies. As a consequence, the margin of error on performance has slimmed significantly, but there is also a higher cost of doing business with broker-dealers.
  • Increased flows into passive investment vehicles (such as ETFs) have created a huge challenge for actively managed portfolios. As a result, mutual fund companies should focus more on differentiating their products and making their portfolios stand out from their benchmarks. ETFs’ growth, which used to be entirely driven by the institutional market, is now also happening in the retail and RIA spaces, making the competitive landscape for actively managed products even more challenging and the need for differentiation even more obvious. 

April 20, 2015

SEI: Stepping into social media

More financial advisors are using social media for research and their own thought leadership. So it would make sense then that mutual fund companies want to engage these advisors where they spend their time.

How do you start? How do you deal with the regulations?

Our friends at SEI just released an excellent report "Stepping Into Social Media: Eight tips and considerations for investment managers."

Click for the full paper.

April 17, 2015

Morningstar: Flows shift from US to international strategies

The Morningstar Direct U.S. Asset Flows Update for March shows that the international –equity Morningstar group saw inflows of $34.7 billion during the last month. These are the largest flows for the group since January 2013, and are mostly driven by currency-hedged ETFs. The European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program seems to have stimulated investor confidence.

Taxable-bonds have also remained strong in the last four weeks, despite expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise rates in June.

The active U.S. equity group saw its largest outflow in eight months, while passive U.S. equity continued to see inflows. Overall, the U.S. equity group lost money during March, staying flat in cumulative flows over the last seven years. In comparison, international equity has gained more than $700 billion over the same time period.

For more details and Morningstar’s full report, please click here.

March 27, 2015

The Circle of Trust: Breaking into an Advisor’s Wholesaler Group

by Michelle Waymire

Michelle Waywire
On March 9 and 10, I attended the Financial Research Association’s conference on Marketing Mutual Funds to Retail and Institutional Audiences. One of the more interesting panels at the event was a discussion with two financial advisors, both of whom worked for large, prestigious wire house offices.

While I don’t directly work with clients, my job as Brand Manager at BPV Capital Management involves figuring out how to get our content in front of these advisors. Mostly, we center on creating superb marketing collateral, and supplementing those traditional pieces with more eclectic and creative value-added offerings. However, I haven’t spent quite as much time thinking about the sales side of the equation, or what to do once a meeting with an advisor has been set. Thankfully, the FRA panel was helpful in shedding light on these important topics.