There has been an increasing demand from consumers for new, often non-traditional, investment strategies. Managers that have existing investment strategies they would like to sell into a new channel, and those with existing demand for new products essentially face the same challenge: supporting the new product or sales channel without draining resources or overspending on a build-out. If one assumes that investment managers are not lacking in products or expertise to meet demand, then the barriers for new business are likely technology and operations.
Pre-existing systems and processes were often built for a specific investor channel, such as institutional investors or “retail SMA” accounts. However, the systems and support structure required for the two can be very different, and those capable of supporting the higher number of accounts in the retail spectrum may not be able to accommodate the complexities of more specialized strategies required by institutions. Too often, managers see this as an “all or none” scenario -- convert all accounts to a new platform that can also handle alternate channels, or eschew the new channel and attempt to force growth in current markets.
Given the flexibility of modern data structures and the availability of selective operations outsourcing, managers should seek to fit complimentary systems and processes into their existing structure rather than seek wholesale replacement of what is already supported and working fine.
From a technology perspective, software as a service products are “delivered” over the web, do not require the onsite support of traditional software, and grow with need. Further, integration is greatly simplified by the adaptability of modern data structures (think open-relational versus flat file). Data format specs are easily replicated for information exchange among support systems, and managers won’t need to change well established practices.
What about support for the niche products or non-traditional channels? In a word: outsource. Rather than building a new staff with the required knowledge base, and crafting the attendant compliance processes and procedures, hire the expert support you need, as you need it. This means that managers can concentrate on implementing their investment strategy without having to resource their own middle and back-office support.
When infrastructure needed for growth is built into a solution, long-standing operational hurdles for new business begin to disappear. By adding new tools and outsourcing select operations outside of core functions, existing expertise can be tapped to expand product offerings without upsetting the proverbial apple cart.
SVP, Marketing and Solutions
Jon Anderson, Marketing and Solutions, joined the company in 2007. As an experienced executive with 25+ years in the financial services and managed accounts industry, Jon works with the Technology, and Client Experience teams to help identify and deploy new features on Archer’s fully integrated platform.
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