Who Has the Best Wholesalers?

Financial advisers are most satisfied with wholesalers from GE Asset Management, BlackRock, and Russell Investment Group.

This is according to a recent study, entitled ADVISOR INSIGHT Wholesaler Effectiveness, by Financial Research Corporation (FRC) and Horsesmouth, which examined the types of wholesaler support advisers value most and which firms are doing the best job of delivering that support.

Advisers said they are most looking for wholesalers who take “a solution-oriented approach to me and my clients rather than pushing product” and who understand the adviser’s business. Although some advisers shared ways in which wholesalers made themselves valuable to the adviser, such as: “Provided me with a list of clients in the area whose current 401(k) vendor was selling out to another firm. I was able to use this list to contact these prospects and am currently working on several possible new cases as a result,” some advisers also related that there were some wholesalers who were not very good at adding value, despite ongoing communication: “Presence without value-added substance is worthless.”

John Hancock, Hartford, and Lord Abbett were ranked as the top three in terms of outside wholesalers having a high degree of influence on the adviser’s business decision to do business with the firm. Further, Russell Investment Group, Charles Schwab, and Transamerica IDEX are the top three with respect to internal wholesalers having influence on sales, the research found.

“In our work with advisers to help them build better businesses, we have learned that there’s an increasingly large opportunity for wholesalers. More than ever, advisers are willing to partner with their peers, their firms, and third parties to help them build strong businesses. Some thoughtful wholesalers are forging powerful working relationships with advisers in this environment,” William T. Nicklin, co-founder and CEO of Horsesmouth concluded, in a press release.

“However,” Nicklin said, “most are missing the boat or worse, causing damage to the credibility of themselves and their firms with misguided strategies or tactics. This study provides the direct feedback from advisers and branch managers necessary to drive successful strategies for building profitable and durable relationships with the many different types of advisers that make up the marketplace.”

The survey was completed in February of 2007 by more than 2,500 advisers and branch managers and asked about adviser satisfaction with wholesalers are provided across a broad range of key performance areas in context of overall adviser assessments on key corporate attributes.