Category Archives: Leadership
Understanding the challenges asset managers and their salespeople face in generating leads and winning new business has always been a key driver of our product development and enhancement efforts.
But the conversations we’ve been having with these firms have radically changed since the COVID-19 crisis began. The volatile market environment, in combination with the embargo on in-person meetings, has pushed typical product-and-performance meetings to the backburner. Sales teams have replaced lunch-and-learns and walk-in visits with digital marketing campaigns and Zoom sessions. As a result, wholesalers have had to find innovative ways to keep financial advisors engaged, many of whom are struggling with similar client acquisition and retention challenges.
The current environment is forcing marketers to think strategically about how to retain assets and drive new business. Sales travel has seen major cuts and there’s a new nature of client meetings. In response, marketers are scrambling to understand the new normal and make strategic decisions about their firm’s messaging, market approach, and tools.
The economic pressure that has weighed down asset managers recently will continue to mount in 2019. We will especially see this as the tide of market-induced asset growth subsides. The established industry trends are rising passive inflows, fee compression, increased regulation, continuing platform rationalization. These are inescapable, threatening profit margins of the least prepared asset managers. In response, firms are intensifying their efforts to streamline distribution costs, improve their offerings, and invest in relationships. However, many still fall short of differentiating themselves among financial advisors. This could be the ultimate key to sustainable profits in this shifting landscape.
As we enter a new year, the shift from active to passive investing continues to drive significant change for investment management sales and marketing. Very recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandra Powers Murphy and Donna DiMaria to discuss what marketers can do to grow AUM in this very challenging environment.
I first became acquainted with both women through the 3rd Party Marketers (3PM) Association, where Powers serves as President and DiMaria as Chairwoman. In addition to 3PM, Powers and DiMaria both act as CEO and CCO of their own third-party marketing firms, Ark Global and Tessera Capital Partners, respectively. Their firms provide outsourced strategic sales and marketing services to institutional asset managers who lack adequate internal resources.
According to DiMaria, operational efficiency in sales and marketing has become imperative, and asset managers are taking note. “Firms are looking to be more efficient, doing more with fewer resources both in terms of bodies and budget. And that is leading to consolidation, outsourcing, and automation. The status quo isn’t working anymore so, in a way, the market is recreating itself,” she said.