Financial Advisers Get Plenty of Provider Communication

The typical adviser receives more than 100 e-mails, mailings, wholesaler visits and internal sales desk calls every month from product providers—and that’s just from the firms they work with, according to Cogent Research.

The “typical adviser” manages relationships with 14 product providers. A mutual fund firm will contact an adviser an average of seven times a month, but some firms exceed that.

The most active communicators among mutual fund firms are John Hancock Funds and Evergreen Investments, each averaging about 16 adviser client contacts per month. Mutual fund firms who also contact advisers in the double-digits every month are: Black Rock, Fidelity Investments/Advisor funds, and Putnam Investments.

Among exchange-traded fund (ETF) providers, the average number of contacts is five times per month. Rydex is the most active firm, contacting clients 11 times per month. In the variable annuity marketplace, Nationwide Life Insurance Company leads with an average of 12 monthly contacts with advisers using its products.

While frequency of contact is important, Cogent noted that other attributes are important, such as tailored strategies to meet the specific needs of advisers, whose delivery preferences and content needs vary significantly by adviser practice model and investment approach.

“Clearly, when it comes to outreach strategies, it’s not only about quantity. It’s also about quality,” said Cogent Principal and Co-Founder John Meunier. “Over the past year, firms that brought real ideas to the table, from both a product and practice standpoint, have been rewarded with a stronger bond to the advisers they serve.”

Carrie Merrick, senior analyst and author of the Cogent study, noted that providers are jockeying for the attention of the fast-growing registered investment adviser (RIA) segment—but they might want to try new strategies with this group. “RIAs greatly prefer electronic communications over phone calls or visits, especially for sales ideas and monitoring product performance,” she said. “They’re also very open to using Webinars to learn about new product information and business-building strategies.”

Data for the study was collected via an online survey of 1,529 advisers in the U.S. with a minimum of $5 million in assets currently under management.

More information about purchasing Cogent’s Advisor Touchpoints 2009 report is available at .