The asset management industry is in a constant state of change. As managers endeavor to retain and grow existing investors and attract new assets, they face new and growing competitive threats. In this complex environment, managers will need to retain elite providers who are well positioned and equipped to help them succeed. This is especially true in the transfer agent space. Partnering with the right transfer agent can offer asset managers a meaningful strategic advantage.
For instance, as asset managers shift away from single-style funds and toward multi-asset class (MAC) capabilities, they need to make sure they are partnering with a transfer agent that is adapting as well. The shift to MACs creates challenges for front and middle-office systems, as well as adding to the complexities asset managers must face to keep up with regulatory, privacy and taxation requirements.
As managers offer products from more domiciles and add more distribution agreements, alignment among fund administrators, custodians, advisors and managers will take on greater importance. To enhance the customer experience, managers should look for a transfer agent that provides a global unified service model, leveraging technology that can adapt quickly as opportunities arise.
Another layer of complexity is the digital experience. Digital and mobile communications are prolific, with both investors and advisors increasingly expecting to interact through the channels of their choosing. The COVID-19 pandemic added to those expectations, as work-from-home became the norm. Whether it’s interactive tools, digital communications, onboarding new clients, or transacting in the moment, digital experiences leave important impressions of an asset manager’s brand. Asset managers need transfer agents who support wide-ranging technology and communication needs and who can bring intelligent, personalized and valuable digital experiences to life.
Because asset managers have such varied needs that go beyond basic operational needs, it can be difficult for asset managers to know just what to look for in a transfer agent. To help in the decision-making process, here are six “must-have” capabilities that asset managers should expect from their transfer agency:
- Advanced technology infrastructure: To support asset managers effectively, transfer agents must have a modern, high-security technological backbone along with a global, unified platform that ensures consistency of functionality and user experience across domiciles.
- Global reach, local knowledge: As the industry becomes more global and interconnected, firms should not underestimate the value of a single transfer agent that has the presence and capabilities across all jurisdictions to support a truly global strategy.
- Data aggregation across the financial system: As investors move among regulated advisors, alternative retail platforms, brokers, wealth managers, retirement plans and insurance providers, asset managers will expect their transfer agent to provide service and recordkeeping support across the ecosystem.
- A global view of the customer: When the transfer agent provides an enterprise view of the customer, managers gain competitive intelligence to target customers more successfully, better monitor trends, and devise more effective marketing and distribution strategies.
- The power of data: Transfer agencies must provide simplified data management to allow sales and marketing teams to identify and prioritize opportunities with greater precision, focus and efficiency.
- Financial strength and technology innovation: A transfer agent must demonstrate both the wherewithal and the expertise to invest continuously in innovation, stay at the forefront of emerging technology, and be able to identify those technologies that benefit its clients and rapidly incorporate them into its service model.
SS&C’s Global Investor and Distribution Services (GIDS) points the way to a new model in transfer agency services, with an industry-leading combination of technology and talent to provide asset managers with a single, global partner.
Written by Tracy Shelby
US Co-Head of Global Investor and Distribution Solutions, Head of AWD