November 26, 2014

IMPACT, INSITE: Planning for advisor conferences in 2015

Conferences are a great way to meet and strengthen relationships with financial advisors. They are also a great way to promote your brand. The biggest benefit, though, is to support influential organizations such as Schwab or Morningstar. They know (and remember) who their sponsors are.

MME: Why It's Time to Rethink Your Distribution Strategy

Many mutual fund firms want to grow beyond their existing client base. They want to generate demand through third parties such as Schwab, LPL or Merrill Lynch. Although obtaining selling agreements with these firms can be expensive and time-consuming, eventually most firms gain access.

Access, however, doesn't automatically mean sales. Competition with the largest name brands is fierce. 

Do you have a good story to tell, but find that investors aren't paying as much attention as you'd like? Or perhaps you've been building your distribution and are looking for ways to improve your strategy? 
The end of the year is the perfect time to think about what you accomplished and what you want to accomplish in the next twelve months. This checklist will help ensure you've thought through the major considerations to plan your distribution strategy for 2015.

Click for the full story written by SunStar's Dan Sondhelm featured in this week's Money Management Executive.

What strategies did I leave out?

November 18, 2014

Morningstar: Passive equities continue to flow

The departure of Bill Gross from PIMCO continues to play a role in asset flows for Morningstar’s active taxable-bond category. As a whole, the category lost $23.1 billion in October. Once the PIMCO Total Return fund is extracted from the equation, though, active taxable-bonds gained $9.2 billion last month. Bill Gross’ former fund dragged the entire category down with outflows of $32.3 billion. Overall, bond flows seem to have regained stability following Gross’ exit.

Passive U.S. equity funds maintained their popularity, gaining $28.8 billion in October while actively managed funds saw outflows of $9.4 billion. Meanwhile, international equity funds saw their first month of outflows for 2014.

For the full report and Morningstar’s analysis, please click here.

November 13, 2014

Ultimus: Advisor engagement is key

Some boutique firms are happy managing funds for the sole purpose of serving their existing client base. But others want to grow through third-party platforms, especially if they believe they have a good story to tell.

What should firms do to get started? What can they do to enhance their existing distribution strategy?

Ultimus Fund Solutions client conference recently had a discussion focusing on growth.

Panelists included Meridian IQ's Ryan Katz, consultant Keith Brown, Celera System's Beverly Dube and SunStar's Dan Sondhelm. The session was facilitated by Ultimus' distribution expert Kevin Guerette.

"Building mutual funds can be challenging. That's why we want to help our clients keep up with best practices about growth and distribution," says Guerette.

Brown adds, "Raising assets for any money manager today is as competitive as it has ever been. The firm needs a sound strategy, resources, commitment, plenty of patience and the understanding that they will try things that will not work as hoped. Though it's tough going, smaller or newer firms lacking brand recognition and long-term track records can still break out and find success."

Panelists agree advisor engagement is key. Asset managers need to determine how and through which medium(s) their target advisors want to engage them and uncover the information or solutions they desire. What kind of information does my ideal advisor (client) need to make investment decisions and how do they want to receive and consume it.
"It is impossible to make informed or strategic distribution decisions without having the business intelligence upon which to forge your channel, focus firm, and advisor outreach sales, marketing and communication strategies." says Dube. "Nor is it possible to track or manage wholesaler activities or communications and marketing campaigns effectively without a robust CRM system that offers a robust profile of the advisors you work with and don't yet."

November 11, 2014

MME: BlackRock Fares Well as Pimco Flounders

Chess Pieces 540x360 Chess Pieces"In the wake of Bill Gross's sudden departure from Pimco, fund competitor BlackRock's promotion of its scale, distribution and product performance has helped it capture more business," according to an article by Suleman Din in the new issue of Money Management Executive.
When Gross first made his announcement, industry professionals wondered who would benefit because that money has got to go somewhere. And BlackRock was well positioned.
Money Management ExecutiveObservers say its recent growth is due to "an apparent coordinated effort to capitalize on Pimco’s perceived weakness - canvassing its professional networks of advisors and institutions, combining efforts of wholesalers and national account teams, cutting costs of its fixed income products, timely placement of thought leadership material, and even having BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink publicly speak about fixed income investments and the company's 'team culture.'"
Along with pros from Kasina, Lipper and BrightScope, SunStar's Dan Sondhelm was a source for this story.