Many Asset Managers De-Channel Their Salesforces

They see the differences between wirehouses, broker/dealers and registered investment advisers blurring.

A number of asset managers are reassessing the way their wholesaler maps are drawn because of the blurring of channel lines between wirehouses, independent broker/dealers and registered investment advisers (RIAs), according to Cerulli Associates. In fact, 69% of asset managers operate with a primarily de-channelized salesforce.

“Just 53% of practices with assets under management between $50 million and $100 million insource their investment decision making,” says Ed Louis, a senior analyst at Cerulli. “However, this number jumps to more than 70% for those with $250 million or more in AUM [assets under management].

“These practices are increasingly made up of adviser teams with specialized roles, a systematic investment process, and a focus on providing holistic financial planning and wealth management services,” Louis continues. “Additionally, the lines that historically divided the broker/dealer channel are blurring as these trends around teaming and planning move downmmarket. While these adviser teams offer their own unique value proposition to clients, the biggest difference can often lie in how they leverage home-office infrastructure.”

Cerulli says that since asset managers are finding that top clients and prospects all exhibit similar behavior, it is more efficient for them to invest in a single, sophisticated professional to manage those relationships in a region.

“The ability that asset managers now possess to leverage data analytics makes it easier to identify and focus wholesalers’ efforts on those key opportunities of advisers who insource portfolio construction and away from less productive opportunities,” Louis says. “The majority (74%) of asset managers currently employ dedicated data analytics staff.”

Asset managers that currently do not have data analytics staff are in the early stages of building those capabilities, Cerulli says.

A second area that asset managers are investing in is specialist resources that wholesalers can call on to engage more deeply with their advisers. These include thought leadership, practice management programs and portfolio construction services.

Additional findings and information about how to obtain Cerulli Associates research are available here.