Published on May 30, 2017 by Vimal Tripathi
Today, third-party consultant databases form a powerful marketing tool for asset managers across the globe. Product visibility on these third-party consultant websites ensures wider outreach to retail and institutional investors as well as higher chances of new business growth.
Managing consultant relations and product visibility on these websites forms a core part of marketing strategy for all asset managers. In the past few years, investors have been leveraging information available with consultants to avoid a lengthy and tedious RFP process.
As per a recent survey, 60% of institutional investors use consultants for manager research and selection process. This makes it imperative for asset managers to focus on the function of consultant relations within their organization. Thus, asset managers are trying hard to develop and maintain strong relationships with consultants by supplying accurate firm- and product-level information on time. Managing consultant relations and flow of information is an important but tedious and time- consuming process for asset managers. Most firms choose their top executives, relationship managers and sales teams to build strong relationship with consultants. However, the quantity and quality of data updates still pose a challenge to many firms.
Some of the key issues faced are associated with:
● The cost of hiring the staff and retaining them.
● Building a scalable and flexible process
● Managing quarterly volume peaks and tight deadlines
● Ensuring quality of data and dealing with multiple data sources
● Managing manual and time-consuming update processes
● Reporting customization
● Handling multiple other tasks during quarter-end reporting period
Budget is also a constraint for most of the firms. They are required to maintain adequate staff to meet quarter-end reporting requirements, and scale up and down to cover volume peaks. Therefore, consultant database updates take a back seat or the quality suffers.
Data is another nightmare for consultant relations teams. Multiple data sources and formats, unavailability of key data points, extensive consultant databases reporting structure and requirements for customization, frequent changes in data sources, inaccurate data, and data delays are the issues which distribution teams are finding difficult to cope up with. Quite often, restatement of performance, AuM, and other data points result in enormous amount of work for the consultant relations function.
Hence, increasingly, asset managers have turned towards automated solutions for consultant database maintenance. However, the results have not been fully satisfactory so far. Given the nature and complexity of the process, these one-fit and off-the-shelf products have failed to completely eliminate the burden from distribution teams. Distribution analysts still spend a significant portion of their time supplying data to these automated products in prescribed formats, dealing with data changes, handling tool limitations in recognizing data classification, and checking the final quality of data. In the end, these automated tools may have solved the problem to a certain extent, but not completely.
What is required is an out-of-the box solution, which makes data management easier and faster, handles specific data classification requirements unique to a firm, responds quickly to any potential changes in data sources, and provides flexibility to customize reporting structure to best match the firm’s overall distribution style as well as consultants’ reporting requirements. Hence asset managers should look for a complete end-to-end solution as off-the-shelf tool alone may not suffice. Also, the distribution teams should be able to fit the solution well within the tight or limited budget of their organizations.
Acuity Knowledge Partners offers a unique and flexible consultant database update solution, which leverages our proprietary tool (EDGE) and consultant database specialists to manage data inefficiencies and provide quality assurance. Our consultant database updates offering is a managed services model, where we deploy a combination of process, people and technology to ensure accurate updates within agreed deadlines. For asset managers, this means, minimal time spent and hassle-free consultant database updates. Acuity Knowledge Partners has delivered 30-40% cost savings to our clients by deploying this solution. We design bespoke solutions to best suit our clients’ requirements.
Our end-to-end service helps clients completely offload their process responsibilities. Alternatively, when clients prefer, we help them manage individual sub-processes such as data management, final upload reviews, new fund registrations, historical data uploads, and consultant questionnaires.
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About the Author
Director, Fund Marketing Services
Vimal is a fund marketing professional, with over 14 years of experience in capital markets. He has experience in transitioning projects, setting up and managing core functional teams, and supporting consultant database, RFP/DDQ and other marketing functions. He has worked with several asset managers at Acuity Knowledge Partners to streamline their processes, helping them implement industry-best practices and deploy high-performing teams to achieve process and cost efficiencies. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance.
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