Asset Manager Distribution Strategies Shift With the Times

Internal investment product wholesalers are pursuing advanced degrees and designations to improve their image as “knowledge partners” in the eyes of advisers, according to new Cerulli Associates research.


A new report from Cerulli Associates finds that internal investment product wholesalers are becoming more outcome-focused and entrepreneurial—providing more advanced support to advisers in the field and potentially even opening up new career opportunities.  

“The changing nature of the internal role prompts sales managers to re-evaluate the way they measure internal wholesalers’ performance and warrants a discussion of whether quantity or quality matters most,” explains Emily Sweet, senior analyst at Cerulli. “Credibility is a huge factor of success for internal wholesalers, which is why many are pursuing advanced degrees and designations such as the CIMA and CFA in order to advance their careers as knowledge partners in the eyes of advisers.”

The findings are from the October 2016 issue of The Cerulli Edge U.S. Edition, which examines the way institutional asset managers are realigning internal and external teams to address market pressures and confront more complex client needs.

“In an attempt to keep internals engaged and expand adviser coverage, distribution teams are carving out segments of advisers in each territory and assigning them to internals,” Sweet says. “This gives internals a chance to prospect and build their own client base, making the job more challenging and engaging.”

Cerulli Associates suggests asset managers are coming into general agreement that “there is little place for administrative tasks and pushing products.” Advisers and wholesalers instead want to work together to meet advanced client needs and develop brand trust and loyalty.

“As the internal wholesaling job description changes, career paths are evolving,” Sweet adds. “As a result of increased training, a higher level of investment sophistication, and frequency of advanced degrees and designations, the internal sales desk is more frequently viewed as a feeder system for the whole company, rather than just a training ground for external wholesalers. This results in more diverse career opportunities available, than historically has been the case, for internals.”

More information about obtaining Cerulli Associates research, including “The Cerulli Edge – U.S. Edition,” is available here