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Third party marketers work with investment managers to improve their sales and marketing process and increase assets under management.

3PM firms seek to accomplish this mission by developing an investment manager’s unique story, creating a marketing plan and sales materials, and managing the sales cycle from start to finish.

Watch the video below to learn more about how Third Party Marketing can help you.  Visit the Third Party Marketers Association for more information.

Is Mutual Fund Wholesaling Dead?

On the way out the door the other day, someone said to me, “Don’t you think mutual fund wholesaling is dead?” My answer was, “No” – but then I couldn’t stop thinking about the question… and whether I want to change my answer. Maybe wholesaling is dead, at least the way most firms do it. So how do you keep your mutual fund distribution effort from going the way of the walking dead?

Your wholesaling effort is dead or dying if:

 1.  You are all about old-school cold calling

For obvious reasons, a salesperson banging the phones and leaving voicemails, “My name is X, from Y firm, we run Z mutual fund, give me a call at 555-no-one-cares” doesn’t often result in a high-probability sales opportunity.

2.  Delivery of materials is the primary focus of your sales communications

Your materials are on your website (please say you have a website?). So you don’t need a sales person to send 40 emails a day to his sales funnel with these two sentences, “Here’s a link to the commentary on our website. Let me know if you need anything else.” Salespeople should be closing deals not delivering links to commentaries. Definitely not a good ROI of your $ or that salesperson’s time.

3.  Your expensive salespeople are mass-senders of email templates

Most email templates sound like… templates. Pretty difficult to fool the recipient into thinking it’s “about them”. Especially when you forget to change the name – c’mon, we’ve all done it. If you have something worth saying to a lot of people, use an email service like Vertical Response for cents on the dollar.

Mutual Fund Wholsaling

Your mutual fund wholesaling effort is alive and thriving if:

1. You are pulling like-minded target investors to you

If your PMs write/talk about things that are important to them and to investors: risks in the markets or opportunities to take advantage of, questions investors are grappling with, cool topics being discussed in the industry … like-minded people will gravitate to you. They’ll find you. They’ll read what you are writing. They’ll listen to what you are saying. And the odds of your salespeople closing deals from this group of target investors are a lot higher than from a list of names/numbers pulled from SEC data and ranked by AUM descending.

2. Solving problems is the primary focus of your sales communications

Your team puts in the work to understand what the investor’s current challenges are and then you think about how you would solve them if you were in their shoes… with the products you have to offer. And then your team puts in more work to articulate that to the investor, to help them think through the role your product will play in the portfolio, how it will help them build a portfolio that is better aligned with their client’s needs. People are busy. If you want them to look at your fund a certain way, you need to show them. Don’t expect your target investors to do more work than you’re willing to do.

3. Your salespeople are actually being people

As in… your salespeople understand that an investor might have more important things to do on a Monday morning at 9 am besides talk to a wholesaler about some new mutual fund. Your salespeople have hobbies, they read things, they lead lives outside their offices, and they have other things to talk about with a human besides the current hot mutual fund you are pitching. Your salespeople are smart and they are cool. #winning

 

At Havener, we spend a lot of time putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. If I was an advisor, would I be totally overwhelmed by the amount of unsolicited emails and phone calls I receive from wholesalers -90% of which are not about me, or my clients, or the issues I’m facing? Um, yes, I’d be overwhelmed … and annoyed.

Before your salespeople write their next email or leave their next voicemail, perhaps it’s worth thinking about it from the recipient’s perspective. Who is the email or voicemail about? If the answer is you, hit the reset button ASAP.

Maybe wholesaling itself isn’t dead, but the old school methods typically used in mutual fund distribution certainly are. Some of us will put in the hard-work and effort to pivot and adapt, and some of us will just wander around the halls of wholesaling like zombies, flinging fact sheets in the air, wailing “Call me if you have any questions”… then wonder why the phone isn’t ringing.

 

 

Meredith_JonesMeredith Jones from MJ Alternative Investment Research contributed the following post which features the CEO of Havener Capital Partners, Stacy Havener.  This is a must read for women now embarking on a career in finance, or for anyone looking for good investment industry career advice.

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As my Facebook feed fills up with graduation photos this year, I’ve become a bit nostalgic for my own graduations roughly 22 and 26 years ago. (Eeek!) Chalk it up to getting older, but even my somewhat angst-ridden, John Hughes high school years are starting to look a little rosier in the rearview mirror. And so y’all can re-live those magic, AquaNet years with me, I dug up a little video footage from my 1989 high school graduation.

Meredith+Jones

(c) Meredith Jones

Yes, that’s really me. And no, I didn’t know a damn thing.

I’ve been doing a lot of publicity for my book Women of The Street, and interviewers almost inevitably ask the question: “What advice do you have for women starting out in investing today?” And as I struggle to offer some morsel of wisdom, I have to wonder, knowing what I know now, what advice would I offer that big-haired girl in the blue cap & gown?

My best piece of advice to my young self is this: “Own what you know.” I don’t know everything. I’m painfully aware that that there are literally billions of people on the planet that know things I do not know and likely will never know. But as I embarked on my career in finance, and even well into my second decade in the industry, I was hesitant to be confident in what I did know and the skills I did have. I worried about being “found out.” I thought about puking into the potted palms onstage at every speaking engagement. I did not accept that maybe I knew a few things, too. Looking back, I would definitely give my younger self a dose of confidence, along with some better hair products.

Being a researcher, I decided to pose the same question to a group of women in investments in order to get more good advice for the future women of finance. I figured these money managers, marketers, service providers, investors and other industry insiders could definitely shed additional light on the topic. Their advice broadly fell into the following categories: Investigate, Take Risks, Communicate, & Advocate.

For those women now embarking on a career in finance, or for anyone looking for good investment industry career guidance, I encourage you to embrace their advice.

Investigate
“Trust, but verify. Always evaluate with a skeptical eye. If it appears too good to be true, it probably is.” – Money Manager, Anonymous

“While I believe my liberal arts has served me well, I wish I had swapped out at least one post modern literary theory course for one on portfolio construction. My learning curve has been steep. Although there are many roles in the industry that don’t involve investing, that first hand investment knowledge will open more doors.” – Industry Advocate, Anonymous

“I think it’s extremely important to understand the nuances between different roles and to understand what skills and strengths contribute to success for each path, and of course, where each path can take you.” – Fund Marketer, Anonymous

“I wish I knew what types of jobs were available in investment management and what the difference was between brokers, investment bankers, RIAs and private funds. It took a long time to figure this out. If I knew investment management was filled with smart, creative, fun, quirky people I would have headed here first instead of spending 5 years on Capitol Hill thinking I would be the first woman president!” – Jody Foster, President, Symphony Consulting

“It is sometimes as important what is not said as what is said.” Nancy Davis, Founder and Portfolio Manager, Quadratic Capital

“Look for opportunities to learn in every situation and assignment, no matter how mundane the task appears.” – Fund Manager, Anonymous

“Start with large companies to get great training and then think about working for yourself or at a smaller shop.” – Kelly Chesney, Co-Founder, Pluscios Management

Take Risks
“No matter what anyone says, risk-aversion is not a positive. We are money managers. We are meant to manage risk not avoid it. Risk management and risk aversion are not equal. You cannot make dollars with out risking dollars; this is an undeniable tenet of investing. Manage, intelligently, the risk that you take but do not fail to take it.” – Katherine Chan, Partner, Anandar Capital Management

“When you want a promotion or see the requirements for a new job, don’t wait until you can check off every last requirement to throw your hat in the ring.” – Marta Cotton, Principal, Matarin Capital Management

April+RudinStacy+Havener+Grad+1998Kelly+Chesney

 

Communicate
“I would advise someone that spending time connecting with others (call it networking or getting to know a broader base of industry folk), even at a young age, is a personally and professionally rewarding endeavor.” – Nadine Terman, Managing Member, Solstein Capital LLC

“Consider where others are coming from and what motivates them to behave the way they do. Human behavior is fascinating.” – Money Manager, Anonymous

“Keep your eye out for a mentor whom you trust and build that relationship, and build a broad and deep network.” – Donna Holmes, Business Development, Lizard Investors

“It’s also about WHO you know, not just what you know. If I had to do it over, I spend more time cultivating the right friends and less time reading.” – Lisa Sergi, Partner, Deloitte

Advocate
“You have to advocate for yourself. I used to think that good work would automatically be recognized, but learned that you need to remind people of how you’ve contributed.” – Jalak Jobanputra, Founding Partner, Future/Perfect Ventures

“Always aim high and believe in your own abilities. There will always be others to tell you what you can’t do, so you have to tell yourself that you can.” – Heather Brilliant, CEO, Morningstar Australasia

“Lead with your brain. The unfortunate stereotype when you are young and female in this industry sometimes goes like this: cute young girl in marketing = just another pretty face = empty between the ears. Don’t let them ascribe you to that role. Wow them with your smarts. It’s the equivalent of walking up to a basketball court full of guys, grabbing that damn ball, and draining threes on their heads. Earn respect – then you can be as cute and sassy as you want because everyone will know behind all that ‘girl’ is one bad-ass brain.” – Stacy Havener, Founder, Havener Capital Partners

“Tell your boss how much you expect to earn. If a guy doing the same job as you is making more money than you are, it’s no one’s fault but your own. You are the only person who will watch out for you.” – Valerie Malter, Co-Founder, Matarin Capital Management

“Stand up for yourself and help others in the industry, your generosity will be returned to you in spades.” – Holmes

Parting Shots
“Know that it is sometimes a very powerful and confident thing to say ‘I don’t know’.” – Outsourced CIO, Anonymous

“Don’t worry about making money. If you’re passionate about what you do and it is consistent with your skills and abilities, someone will pay you well to do it.” – Malter

“On a more humorous note, I would reiterate the two pieces of advice given to me on my first day at Goldman Sachs-Sales & Trading. (#1) Nobody likes a whiner. (#2) Don’t get your meat where you get your bread. Those two rules still are valid 20 years later.” – Fund Manager, Anonymous

“Make sure you pick a supportive life partner” – Holmes or as Malter said: “If you want to have a career and a family, then deciding on the person that you marry will be the single most important decision you will ever make.”

“Don’t co-mingle your money when you marry. Keep all monies separate and divide up expenses rather than combine income.” – April Rudin, Founder, The Rudin Group

“Your father will love you whatever you decide to do.” – Consultant, Anonymous

“Be nice to the assistants of the people you are trying to call on.” – Cotton

“A career path is not a straight line – seek to grow with every move.” – Chesney

“Don’t sweat that you didn’t go to the ‘right’ school or that you don’t have the ‘right’ degree. I’m an English major from Western Connecticut State University. Today, that makes me incredibly proud to say. In my early days in the industry, as peers said Harvard, Yale, Finance, Economics, I felt like I was at the wrong party. Turns out that writing and story-telling are kind of important in marketing. Also turns out that hard work and grit really do pay off. To that younger self I would say, ‘Get off the wall, flower, and dance.’” – Havener

Dance, I said. Dance!

Good luck to all graduates, and all of us still enrolled in the School of Life!

 

For more musings, rants and research, please visit Meredith Jones website at www.aboutmjones.com or follow her on Twitter (@MJ_Meredith_J).