The Twilight of the Product Acronyms: Emerging unified advisory platforms will simplify the taxonomy of managed accounts and usher in important changes to the industry
Several large managed account sponsors have combined their disparate managed account products into unified advisory platforms (UAPs). This trend will alter the way asset managers and sponsors categorize and analyze the industry, and it will accelerate significant changes already happening in the managed account space.
Educating U.S. Advisors to Practice What They Preach: Increasing Adoption of Risk-Managed Strategies
U.S. advisors may not always be protecting their clients sufficiently from downside risk. It may be that advisors don’t understand alternate options/strategies outside of fixed income and cash to manage portfolios in down markets. Therefore, advisors need to learn alternative ways to manage downside risk for their clients. Asset managers should seize this as an opportunity.
Notwithstanding investment consultants' changing business models, Cerulli believes it will be critical for managers to remain on consultants' radars. With the persistent uncertain macro environment, institutions will be forced to look for consultants' expertise in selecting managers for sophisticated, exotic, and low-cost strategies to boost returns on their investment portfolios.
Engaging with Millennials in the U.S. has become a major strategic priority among financial services providers, but firms could be undermining their long-term opportunity with this cohort by defaulting them into unsuitable investments.
B/Ds have used the DOL Conflict of Interest Rule as pretext to cut back the number of investment products available in their systems. This compounds the secular trends of fee compression and increased competition for asset managers. Asset managers must dispassionately evaluate their existing product lines to reposition their organizations for future success.
Product partnerships are gaining traction across Asia, as fund houses wake up to the fact that they can no longer be a one-trick pony in terms of investment strategies. Having a broad suite of products matters in volatile and unpredictable markets, and is necessary to meet ever-changing investor needs. However, not all firms can excel in everything—which is where partnerships come in.
Having been reshaped significantly by various pieces of regulation over the past few years, Europe’s independent financial advisor (IFA) markets now face the implementation of MiFID II in January 2018. Many industry players and commentators are branding the updated version of the directive counterproductive, warning that it will hurt IFAs. Cerulli, however, is more positive, in keeping with our optimistic view of the industry’s long-term prospects.
Due to the aging population of the U.S. industry’s most heavily targeted clients, developing relationships with the next generations of potential investors is paramount. This is not only important to recruiting new clients, but also to ensuring firms will retain assets during existing clients’ wealth transfers. For good reason, firms are hyper-focused on the Millennial generation, but many are overlooking Generation X.
The current situation for multiemployer plans (MEPs) is acute and demands immediate action. Declining MEPs need a specialized investment and asset allocation approach to their portfolios. The first benefits reductions for an individual plan were approved by the U.S. Treasury Department in late 2016. With the decline of multiemployer plans, the investments and particularly the costs incurred by plans are coming under increased scrutiny.