Thinking Outside the Box to Engage Financial Advisors and Grow AUM

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Today’s asset management sales landscape is vastly changed from 18 months ago — and still evolving. While some advisors are starting to venture back to the office, many are still working remotely. That means fewer opportunities to deploy old-school tactics like in-person meetings and large lunch-and-learns. In fact, a 2022 Outlook Report by Marketbridge found that in-person communication all but disappeared during the pandemic. While it will come back, digital is here to stay. So, how do asset managers engage advisors and grow assets in this new world? In our conversations with marketers, we have learned some new ways asset managers are engaging advisors and growing AUM.

Source: Marketbridge Asset Management Industry Report: Next-Generation Distribution Enablement, an Outlook for 2022

Meetings reimagined.

We see a hybrid working world that calls for creativity when it comes to sales meetings. With many advisors still preferring digital communications, managers are conducting more virtual and hybrid lunch-and-learns, meetings, and events. Wholesalers are finding ways to enhance meetings to accommodate both in-person and digital attendance and ensure a great client experience. Some managers leverage sales enablement platforms to provide workspaces or microsites that give advisors digital, on-demand access to recorded meetings and marketing and sales materials. Importantly, asset managers are providing personalized options that match advisors’ communication preferences.

Developing new products.

Asset managers can differentiate through the development of new products that help advisors better serve their existing clients and appeal to a broader spectrum of investors. Asset managers are leaning towards vehicles and strategies that address investors’ current priorities, interests, and demands. For example, over half of the firms surveyed in a 2021 Financial Advisor Survey said tax strategies have become a more important objective for their clients. Tax-efficient vehicles, such as ETFs, that address growing concerns about an increase in capital gains rates, especially among high-net-worth investors are being considered by asset managers. In addition, managers are developing portfolios that emphasize environmental, governance, and social (ESG) factors to appeal to the swelling ranks of investors who favor a sustainable or impact-investing approach.

Growth through M&A.

As managers look to expand their offerings and appeal to a larger swath of investors, mergers and acquisitions continue to be an important strategy for growth and differentiation. For example, Calamos Investments’ recent acquisition of Pearl Impact Capital, a sustainable investment firm with about $120 million in assets under management, was part of a plan to expand its ESG capabilities. M&A’s also enable managers to deepen access and penetration into different markets to reach more investors. In addition, the higher AUM of a combined entity can allow managers to meet the threshold of assets required to be included on additional investment platforms.

TAMPs strategy.

While turnkey asset management programs (TAMPs) have been around for a while, they have experienced tremendous growth as of late. Managers are recognizing TAMPs as a conduit to gain broader access to advisors and improve their client experience. For example, UBS recently announced a partnership to distribute its alternatives solutions through the Envestnet and iCapital platforms. This partnership enables a fully digital subscription process for alternative investments including Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Client features and real-time reporting. Moves like this help firms to offer digital solutions to replace the historically paper-intensive, cumbersome experiences while strengthening advisor efficiency.

Compelling messaging for the times.

Managers are evaluating whether their messaging around products, people, and performance needs to be adjusted for the current reality. They are gathering insights about communications over the past year to learn which messages and channels were most effective, and with which audiences. Especially if they have launched new products during the past year, such as ESG funds, alternatives strategies, or ETFs, managers are looking to develop compelling stories that speak to new strategies and performance.

Investment database strategy.

If the audience is institutional investors, reaching them often means identifying the right databases and consultants, and then doing the work of penetrating them. Increasingly, asset managers are looking for data management and automation methods that enable a strong investment database strategy. This includes improving data quality and availability so that anyone in the firm has access to accurate and consistent data for populating databases or completing RFPs and DDQs. The technology that enables this keeps getting better.

Embracing new channels.

The pandemic accelerated the move to digital communications and forced firms to recognize social media as a legitimate sales channel. Firms are looking to evolve their strategy for LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Social media allows firms to tell their story more broadly and meet higher expectations for a cohesive digital experience. Video is another area that is proving to be quite effective in prospect and client outreach. It can be a short presentation by an SME or an animated overview embedded in a document or slide. These new forms of outreach can then be distributed through social channels or through sales enablement platforms which provide valuable insights and analytics.

Realigning sales and marketing teams.

One thing that has not changed is that marketing and sales need to work hand in hand. In fact, as marketing teams are responsible for more of the funnel, alignment is more important than ever. It can be helpful to sit down with your marketing partners to ensure you are optimizing efforts to engage financial advisors and grow assets. Firms are taking a fresh look at client journeys, as well as the content and technology needed to support them. They’re also leveraging digital communities and networking groups like the SME Forum to learn and gain fresh ideas around selling in the new world.

In summary, these trends, although influenced by COVID-19, are a by-product of technological advancement. The world has dramatically changed. We know this. So, asset managers are embracing the need to keep up, as they have done for decades before. Managers will continue to re-evaluate their strategies and implement new digital sales and marketing methods. Additionally, they will adopt forms of technology that strengthen relationships to engage financial advisors and grow AUM.

Looking for a martech partner to help your investment firm automate and streamline your marketing and sales process? Contact us today for a complimentary strategy session.

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Chris is the Director of North American Sales at Synthesis Technology.


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