BLOG. 3 min read
Do Advisors Look to Asset Managers for Insights? It Depends.
August 29, 2022 by Saadiah Freeman
In the quest to capture mindshare and build loyalty with financial advisors, many asset management firms invest substantial resources in developing advisor-focused content. But are these efforts paying off? SS&C (in association with Horsesmouth) recently surveyed advisors on their go-to sources for various types of insights, and the results were quite interesting.
When it comes to investment management and portfolio construction insights, specific asset management firm experts and asset management firms (more generally) were advisors’ second and third favorite sources, respectively, with only the advisors’ own home office ranking higher. In fact, for independent broker-dealer and insurance advisors, specific asset management firm experts were the #1 choice for insights of this type, while private client advisors gave asset management firms (more generally) the top billing. In short, asset managers are doing a great job delivering investment management and portfolio construction insights that advisors value, and have established themselves as a trusted source for this information.
Advisors’ favorite sources of investment management/portfolio construction insights
However, when it comes to business building, practice marketing, and practice management, the story is quite different. When looking for business building and practice marketing insights, advisors are most likely to turn to websites and publications for financial advisors, followed by experts serving the financial advisor industry, with advisors they know in third place. Meanwhile, for practice management insights, the home office is advisors’ top choice, with websites and publications for advisors closely behind and experts serving the industry in third place. Asset managers—including specific experts as well as the firms more generally—did not make it into the top five for either of these categories of insights, regardless of the advisor’s business model.
Although these figures may seem discouraging, especially for firms that have invested heavily in creating business building, practice marketing and/or practice management content, this does not mean that asset managers should give up on offering these types of insights. Rather, these data reflect the fact that, to date, relatively few firms have established themselves as trusted authorities on these topics in the minds of advisors. In SS&C’s 2021 survey of financial advisors’ views on asset management firms, also conducted in association with Horsesmouth, we asked advisors to choose from a list of attributes they associate with various firms, and “practice building/management expertise” was selected by the second-lowest percentage of advisors.
This represents an opportunity, not only for those select firms who have established themselves with advisors as trusted authorities on these topics but also for other firms who are working to develop and promote their expertise in supporting advisors with their businesses. As part of the same survey, we also evaluated the correlation between various attributes and firm advocacy, i.e., the likelihood that advisors would recommend the firm to a friend or colleague. While practice building/management expertise was less strongly correlated to advocacy than some other factors, the correlation is nevertheless positive, showing that advisors who associate a firm with this attribute are more likely than average to be advocates of that firm.
In conclusion, asset managers have established themselves as a go-to advisor resource for investment management and portfolio construction insights, and firms can continue to leverage this to build relationships with their clients. And, although asset managers aren’t usually top of mind for advisors when it comes to business building, practice building and practice management insights, there is nevertheless an opportunity for firms to build loyalty with advisors by delivering actionable content that helps them run their businesses more efficiently and effectively.
To learn more about advisors’ behaviors and preferences, contact us.
Written by Saadiah Freeman
Product Manager, Research & Consulting