SalesStation Client Conference 2018 – Day 1 Highlights

by Matt Franey

Greetings!  Celera and the SalesStation team were very pleased to conduct our first client conference on September 26th and 27th.  In collaboration with our many valued partners and clients, our conference engaged in meaningful discussions about our industry on topics ranging from data best practices, to security, to public relations.

In the spirit of this collaboration, we would like to share some highlights from some of our Day 1 discussions.  Please stay tuned for Part 2, where we cover highlights from the second day of our conference.

A Study in Data Management Best Practices

As our industry becomes more data-driven, managers must have thoughtful approaches to how they use data within their organizations:

“Decision makers need to look at the data and decide what are you trying to solve for?  What are you trying to analyze?”

“Our use of data enables cross-divisional management of relationships to ensure that our teams don’t run into each other.  This is simply good business sense.”

Carter Inglis, Angel Oak Capital

“All managers are facing the same issues because of how the data is transmitted and disseminated; you need to be smart and directionally correct, or better, as possible because you’ll spend an inordinate amount of time correcting for minutiae and edge cases.  Get the biggest problems solved first.”

Rick Niedt, Strategic Insight

“In the ongoing demand for more and more data, it’s important to challenge the business area this data will serve to understand how they are going to use it and what kind of action it will drive.”

Mary Hoppa, Baird Advisors

21st Century Distribution 

In an industry experiencing shrinking shelf space and compressed margins, among other things, distribution has never been more important:

“The changing intermediary marketplace has impact three major areas:  Product creation, product placement, and field sales activities.”  

“Adviser demand is no longer king.  The home office is now king, and that changes the conversation with the adviser:  product pitches no longer work how they used to, it’s about how a manager’s strategy provides a solution.”  

Alma Piscatello, The Gemini Companies

“The advantage of being a smaller or mid-sized firm is that technology today allows firms to look a lot bigger than they actually are.” 

“The financial advisor marketplace is not one.  Too often firms will just look at that space as just ‘FAs’, but when you look at it, the issues of the wirehouse broker dealer FA versus the IBD FA versus the RIA FA are completely separate and distinct.  You need to reach each audience with content and methods they like.”  

Brian Nelson, The Harborside Group

“We are trying to think more creatively about technology and how we use it to engage our clients.  For example, we recently launched a mobile app that helps us distribute our economic data to the advisers we serve.”  

“We think about analytics a few different ways.  One, is analytics on the advisors themselves in terms of their books of business; for example, what asset classes do they invest in, what are their flows, etc.  Second, (we look at) analytics around our content:  Are we reaching the people we are distributing the content to?  Last, (we look at) data and analytics around flow and measuring the ROI of all of our efforts.” 

Nicole Engel, Astor Investment Management

SWOT Analysis for Asset Managers:   A Service Providers’ Perspective

Mutual fund service providers are uniquely positioned to help their clients navigate many different aspects of a client’s life, including operations, compliance, and distribution.  Taking a macro perspective, we explore their perspective on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to their asset management clients:

“As a result of the trend toward tender and interval funds, there is quite a lot investor education that needs to go along with (these offerings) so these products don’t seem so foreign.  Managers need to teach investors the advantages of these types of products.”

“Generational wealth transfer is something that the asset management industry needs to address.”

Rob Mortenson, UMB Fund Services

“Managers need to do a better job engaging and informing their boards.  With the increasing demands being placed on boards, managers should treat their boards as partners because their fiduciary duties are aligned.”

“Repurposing a fund that doesn’t have a lot of traction could be the most cost-effective way to address your product line-up to address future investor needs.”

“(Regarding operational challenges of running an interval fund)  Creating a process for daily valuations with an illiquid structure and illiquid underlying assets is an operational burden managers and service providers need to be aware of and account for.”

James Ash, The Gemini Companies

“Distribution is always an opportunity for managers.  Distribution is hard, but it’s a necessary point of view, because it can help prevent wasted efforts.”

“SMA gatekeepers on specific platforms might not be the right gatekeepers on the mutual fund side.  Knowing that those relationships need to be leveraged a little more behind the scenes is important.”

“With regard to compliance, it is assumed that the SEC will be doing onsite visits.  We want our clients to be prepared for this inevitability.”

Todd Heim, Ultimus Fund Services

“Since DOL went away, clean shares and the purpose behind them are no longer a high priority.”

John Grey, Envision Financial Systems

Business Intelligence – Future Technology Today

SalesStation utilizes IBM Cognos for our business intelligence applications.  Here are some thoughts from our business partner IBM Cognos on the benefits and future of business intelligence:

“The value [to the customer] of embedding business intelligence software is to really leverage the knowledge base of the partner in terms of what they want to expose for metrics, so that insights can be quickly delivered to the customer without significant investment in expensive, bespoke solutions.”

“Where we see the market going (for business intelligence) is it’s not just about the analytics and the interface, it’s not just about the data, it’s about the entire user experience.  How do we best utilize business intelligence to get faster and better business decisions?  The answer is to create workflows aided by predictive analytics.”

Stephen Bombassei, IBM