Real Wealth Concepts

What Do Advisors Want from a Mutual Funds Wholesaler?

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No holds (or free lunches) barred. Here’s what they said when asked what they want from their asset management wholesalers.

What do advisors need from asset managers?

– Free lunches and free research

– Information. Market updates as it relates to your specific funds. Access to PMs.

– I want you guys to please stop calling and emailing me if I ignore the first VM or email.

– With wholesalers, most times advisors never opt in to contact with them. Wholesalers an advisor never heard of before just randomly start calling and emailing, forcing advisors to respond to opt out of getting contact. I wouldn’t do it that way. I would educate advisors, create content and show them the problem you solve for them. Feel free to call or email once, and don’t lie to the person answering the phone that you’re an old client or whatever to try and get out through, and for sure don’t book time on their online calendar pretending to be a prospect. know that if the mutual fund really is great, advisors will find it.

– If you’re a wholesaler sitting down and throwing factsheets around and not doing anything for someone’s business then you don’t deserve a second meeting and probably won’t last long. If you’re an advisor and sit down with a good consultant than I would try to leverage them to benefit your practice. There are few good ones in most markets and they also get to choose who they work with.

– From 95% of wholesalers I want nothing but for them to stop contacting me.

– A simple question over email does not need a phone call and appointment to discuss further. Just answer the question please.

– The best wholesalers I’ve dealt with don’t try so hard to push their product. They give me good, useful information and ideas that I can use, or at least think about. If you try and tell me how awesome your product is, it’s probably not.

– I want a person to bounce ideas/solutions off of, and get their sense of the economic world. Someone who has their own opinion, instead of what is dictated to them by their portfolio managers. I want a viewpoint, not a mouthpiece.

– Access to your PMs directly and for webinars with my clients. Marketing support by way of best practices. Marketing support in $$. High concentration, high active share, quality biased SMA stock strategies with exhibited low downside capture (70-80%), with lead PMs on the strategy for 15+ years.

– My favorite wholesaler is they guy who helped me at the beginning when I would take any client who could fog a mirror. Now that I’m a much bigger dog, the wholesalers are all trying to help me and the one who helped from the beginning is the one I call first to host advisor events so he can get in front of all the others.

– I don’t care about the wholesalers themselves. I’m looking for funds which provide exposure to asset classes we need in our models. From there we just look for the lowest fees and tracking error. Rarely would I employ an active fund.

– Free research (like run tools/analysis on our models). Access to the news, trends, etc that your investment panel is aware of. Add value, and make us feel smarter. And if there’s any way you can make our job easier we may be interested in that too (depends on your firm, and the advisor’s).

– You should know your product. Know the advisor is slightly annoyed at the meeting and wants it to go fast with solid info. We hold wholesaler meetings once a month. We’re looking for market/world updates and how can your product be better than what we’re currently doing.

– I don’t mind all the emails, I get you gotta do what you gotta do, but I hate when I ask a simple question and for some reason there always needs to be a call or even appointment to answer it. Just answer the question via email PLEASE

– Ability to offer webinars for clients. Market updates for advisors and also giving us a narrative for clients on the market. Relevant investment ideas, don’t give more than 2-3 otherwise you’re losing me. And of course, take us golfing!!

– I appreciate good information and talking points so I have additional input outside of mainstream media sources. Don’t be too pushy on the funds, but I’m open to hear 2 or 3 of the best ideas or highlights. I mostly index, but I’m open to hear about funds that have more niche targets or uses, not just trying to outperform large growth etc. Depending on who they work for, I also like to hear how they are positioning their active blended portfolios or funds (how much US vs International etc), and why.

– No bombarding emails. Offer to meet for a telephone call first. Learn about my practice and what I’m trying to build. Then send me relevant information regularly and check back in, and we’ll work together.

– Former wholesaler here that switched sides of the table. The best relationships I made were by getting to understand unique challenges that the advisors face. Investments are great, but that is only a very small portion of what so many advisors do. Help them be creative in prospecting, developing relationships with their clients through creative strategies, segment their book to find opportunities, etc. My philosophy was I am only here to save you time and/or help make you money. If I can do those things, your life gets better. It really worked. Here are some of my old ideas that I now use myself (frame: from me to an advisor):

  1. “Know your top clients inside and out”
    • if you don’t know 3 things they enjoy other than money and family, call them to figure it out. We will come back to this later.
    • most advisors know their top few very well, but where most of the AUM growth potential lies is not in the top 10% of their clients. It’s from 10th to 20th percentile. Subsequently, those clients in the 10-20 percentile range are also the most likely to leave. Focus on driving growth there.
  2. “Use the knowledge you have about your clients to your advantage and find where you overlap to create connection. “
    • keep it stored somewhere other than your head. Make sure the whole team knows it. Wrap it into every conversation.
    • use it to create contact (i.e. client is a big fan of the local NFL team and so are you. Use google alerts to be sent the top articles on that team each week/month/quarter. Forward those articles along when you read something you found interesting.
    • use it to change client events. No one wants to come and stand or sit in a room with 1 friend and a bunch of strangers. Use client events to create unique gatherings of THEIR friends. It gets you into their circle and avoids having them force a referral. (Example: client enjoys wine. Work with a local wine shop to do a joint event wine tasting. It brings the shop new prospects and your clients will love it. Have the client do a small group invite of their close friends that also love wine. It leads to much better events and builds a level of trust with their circle).
  3. Understand how their pay works and figure out how to help them reach client goals within that framework. -Is there a focus on lending at a given firm? Great help them understand the release rates your products have for lending.
  4. Do they have an investment committee even if it’s informal?
    • No? Ask them what other wholesalers and advisors they go to to discuss investment ideas. Work with them to set a meeting with ALL of those trusted advisors on a regular basis to hash out the portfolio ideas. Take the heavy lifting of coordination. Place nice in the sandbox here. Too often wholesalers want to present only their thoughts and products. Work with competitors so the advisor(s) can get differing points of view and make decisions.
    • one quarterly investment meeting is much easier to handle than wholesalers constantly stopping in or requesting meetings on different days.
    • once it’s set, help them articulate this change to their business to their clients. Have them collect questions their top clients may have heading into the meeting. Sure the advisor can likely answer them, but
  5. Ask what their best wholesalers do/don’t do and if there is anything they used to get but no longer get.

NEVER be a professional visitor. ALWAYS bring something insightful and valuable, and NEVER take more time than you need to effectively communicate. By all means, build and understand them as a person, but unless you are friends or deep acquaintances, don’t just “check in” without purpose

ALWAYS schedule a call/meeting unless is very important (and schedule your next call/meeting while on the phone or before you leave the meeting with them). Catching people off guard too often interrupts something important and throws them off track.