U.S. Intermediary Distribution 2021
Leveraging Data to Navigate Change
Maximize Product Distribution Through Financial Advisors
- Identify and size the most compelling distribution opportunities in a virtual environment
- Learn how to balance key accounts and wholesaling resources to meet rising distribution costs and changing advisor portfolio construction behavior
- Understand how to structure compensation for generalist and specialist wholesalers
- Examine renewed interest in hybrid wholesalers as firms prepare for the eventual transition to a post-pandemic marketplace
- Strengthen advisor and distributor relationships
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A sourcebook for asset managers seeking to maximize product distribution through intermediaries across all channels in the U.S., this annual report focuses on the distribution of investment products through financial advisors. This report includes 10 years of market sizing of advisor-controlled assets by channel, rankings of the industry’s largest distributors, and forward-looking projections of marketshare by channel.
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A Note from the Author
Harnessing Data for Actionable Insight Is a Differentiator for Distribution Teams
Ed is an associate director in Cerulli’s Wealth Management practice and leads research for the U.S. Intermediary Distribution report. His research focuses on distribution strategies for retail asset management products sold through financial advisors, advisor product use, and portfolio construction trends.
Prior to joining Cerulli Associates, Ed worked as an internal wholesaler at Wells Fargo Asset Management. There, he spent nearly a decade working with financial advisors in the wirehouse, independent broker/dealer, and RIA channels.
Full biography here.
As firms compete for assets in a primarily virtual environment, analyzing the profitability of advisor relationships (45%), identifying the best prospects for wholesaler engagement (42%), and measuring the impact of both wholesaling and digital marketing efforts (30%) have become top priorities for distribution teams. This is easier said than done for many asset management firms challenged by implementing the proper data systems, data inputs, and appropriately deploying resources to harness critical insights and drive distribution.
Most distribution professionals (nearly 75% of wholesalers) feel that prospecting has become more challenging in a digital environment. As a result, distribution teams are striving to develop mechanisms to make it easier to intelligently assess opportunities for growth. More than one-quarter (27%) of distribution executives consider identifying best advisor prospects for digital engagement a top priority; however, many (55%) are faced with overcoming challenges such as insufficient technology infrastructure and data sourcing (35%).
Distribution teams of all sizes encounter hurdles leveraging data because they lack the necessary resources. However, because resource allocation has a direct impact on what firms can do, size has inevitably played a role in the evolution of data efforts—firms with $500 billion or more in AUM were more likely to have advanced capabilities than their peers and they were the only ones to feel they were very effective at an advanced capability.
Distribution teams at asset managers—large and small—must understand the importance of information management as they consume more data, implement proper infrastructure, and form a team dedicated to translating data into actionable insights. A comprehensive look at these challenges and opportunities can be found in our report: U.S. Intermediary Distribution 2021: Leveraging Data to Navigate Change.
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