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.

March 24, 2015

SmartCEO: How content marketing on social media can boost your brand

SmartCEOTraditional advertising is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Social media platforms have replaced ads and become the best method for reaching your target clientele. Creating a social media account is a no-brainer for a business, but chances are, business owners aren’t using social media to its full extent — as a place to grow your brand and become a trusted leader in the industry. That’s where content marketing comes in. SmartCEO turned to SunStar's Dan Sondhelm and other marketing pros for the details.

Click here for the expanded Smart CEO New York Edition story.

Click here for the digital story.

March 18, 2015

Morningstar: Fixed Income, International, Passive equities lead the way

The taxable bond Morningstar category group experienced its highest inflows in two years during February. $29 billion entered the category, somewhat surprisingly given that the Federal Reserve will likely increase interest rates this year. High yield bonds also did well in February, which is typical for a rising interest-rate environment.

Fueled by the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program, developed and emerging international-equity funds did well in February. Meanwhile, in the U.S., positive economic indicators drove the S&P 500 up by 6%. As a result, investor confidence in stocks was renewed, but passively-managed funds saw the most overall growth both domestically and abroad.

For more analysis, and Morningstar’s full asset flow report for February 2015, please click here.

March 17, 2015

Nine questions for a successful new product

File:SEI Investments Company Logo, 2012.jpg
Firms planning to launch a new mutual fund in 2015 will want to read SEI’s brief, The U.S. Investment Product Marketplace: Nine critical considerations for forward thinking money managers. The paper leads readers through nine questions they should consider to maximize a new product’s success upon entering the marketplace.

The U.S. mutual fund industry had assets totaling $15 trillion at year-end 2014, sizable enough that capturing even a small slice could make for a very successful fund launch.  Yet, to give their products the best chance of success, managers need to plan their product development and launch, including product packaging, carefully. The best time to consider retail packaging for a product is after investment strategy and ideal target market have been determined. Once these elements are known, managers need to make sure that the product will still fit into the requirements of product packaging and structure.

Many large firms have a wealth of resources to help them navigate this process, but boutique firms may have neither the experience nor the financial standing to invest in research to launch their products in the most optimally successful way. SEI’s paper will act as a guide to firms, offering practical insight and tips as well as links to many resources on launch strategy. Following the thought and decision process laid out in this paper allows managers from all types of firms—U.S., European, small, medium, or large—to think through the process of leveraging their product and making sure they have the resources to uphold their relationships throughout the product launch.

To read the paper in its entirety, please click here.

March 12, 2015

Who is your customer?

by Seuk Kim

Fund firms shouldn't chase assets
Who is your customer?
That seems like a simple question, but until you really know the answers, can you have an effective marketing and distribution strategy?
Mutual fund companies define their customer-base differently—some will say that they’re going after intermediaries while others want to sell direct to retailer investors. Still others see the broker dealer channel as an important target market while others focus on institutions. Of course, there really is no wrong answer here, but the best answer is…whoever is investing in our fund or funds.
SeukWhen statistics show that flows into mutual funds are coming from the intermediaries or broker dealers, it can be tempting to market yourself to those demographics, but if the majority of your flows are coming from the retail channel, does it make a lot of sense to focus your efforts on those channels? Rather than fighting the current, it may be wiser to swim downstream. Chances are, there is a characteristic of your mutual fund that appeals more to one channel of distribution over the others. Using your competitive advantage with that channel, then, will probably represent your best chance at growth.
Remember: 10% of 100 and 1% of 1,000 are the same, but one of them may be much easier to obtain than the other. Just as investors are advised not to chase performance, fund companies shouldn’t chase assets, especially if their distribution infrastructure does not support it. Identifying your customers and dedicating the appropriate resources to best serve those customers will often yield the greatest results.