Are You Giving Advisers What They Want?

When it comes to communications from asset managers, advisors want insights and marketing intelligence and opportunities to interact with portfolio managers and CIOs, not product pitches andcold calls.

These are just a few of the key findings revealed in Giving Advisers What They Want, a new advisor research whitepaper written by Jeff Briskin of Briskin Consulting, a Boston-based independent marketing, content development and research firm.

In research conducted in May 2017 with a dedicated panel of 97 highly successful independent investment advisers, Briskin focused on identifying the kinds of information and resources provided by asset management companies that give investment advisers a more favorable—or unfavorable—perception of the firm and its products.

The results of this research are both predictable and surprising.

“With so many independent research resources available online, it’s understandable that investment advisers have become highly resistant to traditional product promotional campaigns and sales pitches. But what’s surprising is that many investment advisers are still relying on asset managers’ web sites for supplemental information, and are demanding a higher level of quality, depth and relevancy from the firms they’re considering, including wholesaler meetings,” said Briskin.

Some of the key findings from this research:

  • Performance alone is not enough.While 67% of respondents consider strong performance to be the most important factor when evaluating a fund or strategy, 65% want detailed performance attribution and 62% need to have some awareness of the firm and its key investment personnel.
  • Asset managers’ web sites are a key research resource. When evaluating firms and products, 93% say that independent sites like Morningstar are their most widely used research resource, but 68% also consider asset manager web sites to be a very important supplemental source of information to aid in their diligence processes.
  • Advisers want more interaction with investment management.Eighty-seven percent would like portfolio managers to hold on-site sessions, and 74% consider interactive manager conference calls to be “very valuable.”
  • They value thought leadership publications.In terms of firm-provided content, advisorsprefer thought leadership pieces such as whitepapers (76%) and manager commentaries (64%), but are less interested in presentations at industry conferences (15%) and blogs (13%).
  • Most want limited contact with wholesalers.Forty-three percent never want to be contacted by a wholesaler, and 38% only want to be contacted once or twice per year.
  • They expect wholesalers to act as proxy portfolio managers.Of those willing to meet or speak with a wholesaler, only 31% are interested in boilerplate product presentations and34% in receiving sales materials. Instead, they want wholesalers to deliver detailed market and asset class updates (74%) and intelligently present portfolio manager insights and perspectives(72%).

“What this research demonstrates is that in an industry that’s increasingly commoditized, performance alone is not enough.  Asset managers need to demonstrate the validity of their processes and personnel in the content formats advisers prefer,” said Briskin.

To view all the findings in the Giving Advisers What They Want whitepaper, request your free copy by contacting Jeff Briskin directly at research@jeffbriskin.com.

Dan Sondhelm is a veteran marketer for asset managers and mutual funds. He can be reached at dan@sondhelmpartners.com.