October 8, 2011

Do you know who your customers are?

by Marilyn Dale

If you are like most small and medium size mutual fund firms, you probably don’t have a good handle on the majority of advisors recommending your fund to investors. So, how can you thank them, ensure they are up-to-date and create the relationships you need to ensure continued sales?

Recently acquired by Broadridge, Access Data, a company who specializes in identifying financial advisors, shared their thoughts and solutions at SunStar Strategic’s recent client conference.

The stats:

• Transactions occurring through a financial intermediary : two-thirds of the total
• Fund manufacturers: 685
• Investment products: 16,000
• Sales related people: 40,000
• Intermediary firms: 30,000
• Investors: 90 million

Enough data to make your head spin. And, if you are getting data feeds and reports from your transfer agent or some of the supermarkets, chances are the details are obscure and not actionable. So, what can you do and why should you care?

Distribution: With good sales reporting, you know who is doing business – down to which offices and what people – so you know where to deploy your sales people. You’ll have the information you need to compensate for results, pay distributors correctly, allocate firm revenue to states for income tax purposes and work consistently within market timing rules. On the Access Data dashboard, you can turn data into information you can act on:

• Analyze sales trends by line of business, sales channel, rep., product
• Identify sub account activity by firm through office, person
• Identify net asset and revenue flows by distribution channel and product
• Create profiles of financial intermediaries to see complete view of important clients
• Create a sales hierarchy by geography, firm, line of business, channel, territory, region
• View pie charts, such as geog maps by sales
• See top 10 reps by state, by product
• Monitor trending information
• See competitor penetration in your asset class
• Add sales data to your CRM system

Market Intelligence: Access Data can identify, at a branch level, your market share among funds in your category there and specifically who is holding your asset class but using a competitor’s product.

Knowing who your customers are lets you get out timely information they need. For example, one fund family that invests heavily in Japan was able to quickly email all the fund’s advisor clients in the wake of the tsunami and say “don't worry, here is what we are doing,” helping those advisors calm their investors.

With 20 some experts cleaning up exceptions every day, the database is always improving. Data is captured from covering mutual fund portals, b/d platforms, managed account platforms and defined contribution platforms. Even split tickets across teams are identified by team.

For smaller firms, finding out who is selling your fund – and who could be selling your fund -- is very compelling. It could help you set a strategic direction for targeting the right channels for distribution - RIA, IBD, wirehouses – sorted by geography, size or penetration to help you execute an efficient distribution effort.

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