Product Strategy Compass Article Fund Rationalization and Upgrading Product and Distribution Efforts in the New Era

"Managers are always pushing the hot or top performing product without asking what we need.”

“Be more honest about their performance and fees.”

“Do a better job listening.”

“Managers don’t know the platform and what we do.”

“Share high importance information in a timelier manner.”

“We lose trust in firms that do not proactively share negative news.”

“Focus on what makes them different and what is unique about their process.”

“Reaching out more than once a quarter is overkill and tends to annoy my analyst team.”

These are some of the direct quotes we received from Product Research and Due Diligence managers at an array of wealth management organizations we recently surveyed, asking them about the sales, product, and support efforts they’ve experienced from fund groups. In selecting the survey group, we attempted to identify those we believed to be influential product gatekeepers whose power and authority has grown in the last several years within their respective organizations. As a result of heightened Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary regulation that increases the disclosure requirements for advice providers, coupled with the advent of digital advice and technology, a firm’s research/due diligence group has clearly emerged as an important touchpoint on the distribution trail that is wielding significant power when it comes to deciding with which products and providers their firms do business.

In this article, we’d like to provide a springboard for managers to continue upgrading their product and distribution efforts in the new era of asset management, and the survey offers a framework for what firms are doing now — and how they can improve.

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