In its ongoing efforts to court financial advisors, John Hancock Funds [profile
] is bolstering its distribution infrastructure to improve the services available to financial advisors.
According to Todd Cassler
, senior managing director and head of institutional sales, the strategy is defined by the phrase "distribution excellence," and is aimed at quickly providing institutional quality products and services to those who normally don't receive such attention.
"Our business model is to bring institutional quality product to clients who would not otherwise be able to access it, using a ‘40 Act structure," he recently told MFWire
For example, Cassler's team is working to improve functionality with regards to alternative products.
"We recognize the need and appetite for alt products. With our due diligence capabilities and scale, we can find the best absolute return manager," he said.
Product development and due diligence, he says, is a unique capability. "The ability to bring product to market quickly gives us a competitive advantage."
Cassler elaborated on this subject in this way:
For example alternative investments. We are able to bring these to market quickly because we are a sub-advised firm. We can identify managers who have good track records, size, institutional reputation and scale. And we are able to make these products available in a ‘40 Act structure.
Instead of having to wait for a product to grow and season it internally. We can go out, adopt it, and bring it to market quicker than our peers.
Cassler said that there had been four key drivers in Hancock's growth last year.
1. A strong asset management brand in the retirement space.
2. High quality investment strategies from institutional money managers.
3. Strong asset allocation franchise, we are a leading provider of target date and target risk portfolios.
4. Our emphasis on distribution excellence and creating value for the client.
He added that, "going forward, maintaining distribution excellence will be essential for maintaining" this growth.
"Our goal is to be a solutions provider. We have the ability to help advisors solve their clients' problems. We want to be a resource beyond just product," he said.
For example, he said "we can provide transparency around the investment process: historical results, philosophy and holdings. In addition, we can provide organizational due diligence on the firm, which is especially critical for evaluating alternatives."
He made this final point by saying "this is reflected in our ability to provide advisors with access to our due diligence team. We can help them analyze their portfolios from a construction standpoint and provide them with tactical value add to help them deal with timely, top of mind issues. In other words, help them deal with a spectrum of needs, not just product."
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