How A Stronger Online Presence Can Help Actively Managed Funds Reduce Selling Cost
Facing increasing pressure on pricing and performance, actively managed mutual funds are focused on ways to enhance the effectiveness of their wholesalers while reducing the overall cost of their sales infrastructure. Many are taking a closer look at ways their websites can help bridge some of the gaps their wholesalers must overcome in a more restrictive, competitive and decentralized selling environment.
According to Morningstar, 35% of US based equity mutual fund and ETF assets were invested in index funds at the end of 2013, up from 17% in 2003. This trend will likely continue as investors are increasingly drawn to the appeal of long-term market performance at significantly lower expense.
In this environment, it is more important than ever for actively managed funds to tell their story to the advisors who sell their products. Yet, just delivering the story has become a lot more difficult as wirehouses have severely restricted wholesaler access to their financial advisors and tens of thousands of advisors have abandoned the wirehouses for small, independent offices scattered across the country.
Creating a Charismatic and Effective Online Presence
One way of increasing the effectiveness of a wholesaling operation, while managing its cost, is building a website that delivers more than just brochureware and stale performance numbers. Here are some things to consider:
Does Your Website Tell Your Story as Well as Your Wholesalers Do?
The quick way to answer this question is to ask your wholesalers if they like the site. Do they send a link to advisors ahead of a meeting and close with it as something for them to follow up on? It is vital to present the “secret sauce” of your active management when advisors visit your website. The website should deliver the exact same talking points your wholesalers use in their presentations, and all the information on the site needs to be current and accurate. Performance numbers should be updated nightly and current holdings should reflect the latest filings.
Does Your Website Work as Hard as Your Internals?
An advisor should be able to book an appointment, download fact sheets, prospectuses and marketing materials instantly on your website. They should also be able to learn about and contact the wholesaler covering their area every time they visit the site.
When mediaman, the German digital marketing agency, relaunched the Mirae Asset USA site in 2014, we made sure to place the ability to contact the wholesale team front and center. Through IP addresses, the site recognizes the location of users and automatically updates all contact information to their regional wholesaler’s photo and information.
Does Your Website Drip?
Your wholesalers know how long it takes and how many “touches” are required to convert a prospect. Does your site help this process along by delivering timely, relevant information and content based on expressed interest of advisors? Does your website or company have a secure area where relevant FINRA approved information can be used as a way to stay connected with prospects?
Creating a log in protected area for advisors creates a resource for sharing relevant information and also allows you to see who is using your site. This allows your team to follow up and to track what information clients are most interested in.
Actively managed funds and the financial advisors who sell them share a common goal of clearly explaining to investors the value of their services. As indexing continues to put pressure on management and advisory fees, these partners must leverage technology of their own to streamline the sales process.