Strategic Beta: Adapt and Thrive
The demand for unbundled services and fees, engendered by structural shifts in demographics and technology, are forcing many asset managers to rethink their business models. To remain relevant, asset managers must be aware of these shifts and consider ways to adapt their offerings.
Dramatic growth in assets committed to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and passive strategies mark a secular trend, catalyzed by an eight-year-long bull market. Beta has been a very cost-effective source of returns but the aging bull – and the potential volatility that would accompany its demise – now warrant new strategies. The trajectory of ETFs and passive investment strategies comes largely at the expense of actively managed funds.
There’s also been a watershed for strategic beta products. Also known as “smart beta,” strategic beta is a disruptive financial innovation, strategic beta provides an important component of active management through a transparent which offers some important characteristics of active management through a transparent, rules-based methodology delivered at low cost through exchange-traded products.
A New Landscape
Strategic beta and ETFs are pathways
A new landscape is being sculpted, chiseled by market, generational and technologic forces. Those firms who wish to survive and succeed must be able to create the products that investors want, at the price investors are willing to pay. Specifically, asset management firms must translate their strategies to capture the attention of targeted market(s) through effective communications.
Help Financial Advisors Adapt and Succeed
Financial advisors see the landscape changing around them. They must explain to their clients how these products work and how they can be used in portfolios alongside traditional passive and active products.
To gather assets, we advise our clients to:
- Carefully identify the distribution channel(s) – individual investors, financial intermediaries and/or institutional investors — most likely to ensure early success.
- Have access to a full suite of marketing resources to support their strategic beta and ETF offerings.
- Realize that planning and timing are of the essence – and roll out marketing resources in the optimum sequence for understanding and acceptance by advisors and investors.
What Advisors Need from You
Advisors need to explain to clients how your funds work and fit into portfolios. Help them effectively communicate with their clients via:
What You Need to Adapt
A Go-to-Market Plan is a step-by-step guide to efficient asset generation. It can help you:
- Define the strongest competitors and how you are different
- Target the gatekeepers, advisors and influencers most likely to buy
- Position your product on platforms, including retirement plans
- Create an integrated communication plan to generate leads and assets
- Teach targets how to use strategic beta to solve client needs
Successful negotiation of today’s challenging landscape requires the ability to adapt. Asset managers who offer strategic beta and exchange-traded products can be successful if they thoughtfully position their offerings, focus launch efforts and actively support advisors to use the products to solve client needs. In doing so, the asset manager becomes indispensable to the advisor.