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Rating:Schwab Offers Fundsters Data for their Distribution Wars Not Rated 1.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, March 08, 2013

Schwab Offers Fundsters Data for their Distribution Wars

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Back in the good old days, fund firm heads of sales and distribution knew exactly how much they were selling when, where and to whom. Now, thanks to the growing popularity of omnibus accounts, sales executives have to be satisfied with gross aggregate movement information of their products: i.e. this much of a fund was bought or sold by the end of the day.

This lack of information can be maddening for sales executives. They can't tell whether a particular sales or marketing strategy is working. They don't know which advisors are worth courting, or dropping. They also have no reliable way of determining whether this sales person fibbed on his performance and actually deserves a bonus.

An information company called Access Data, a subsidiary of Broadridge Financial Services, partnered with Charles Schwab to develop a portal called Schwab Asset Intelligence, a system which gives firms participating in the Schwab OneSource platform unprecedented access to fund asset and sales information across Schwab’s RIA, retail, retirement and trust channels.

Dan Cwenar, president of Access Data, explained the business decisions behind the move in this way recently to MFWire:
You think about Schwab as a major distribution point in the marketplace for funds. Put yourself in the shoes of the fund manufacturer for a moment. Think about the trends in the marketplace that occurring that make distribution hard now. Like this move towards omnibus. Over time, as a fund manufacturer, you seeing less and less detail as to what is happening in your distribution platform. "Wow. I need to know more, at the same time, there is a movement in the marketplace that is giving me less detail." Funds want to have a better understanding of sales. How they are doing. What is working? What is not working? What makes sales go up or down?

Cwenar says that Broadridge approached Schwab with the idea, and the brokerage giant readily agreed.

"Schwab thought it was a fantastic idea. They were very open to providing more information," he said.

He said that he portal Access Intelligence platform has exclusive access to the information from the Schwab platform. All of the positions, all of the allocations for all those are distributed on Schwab.

The service is offered in two tiers: The first tier, also known as Assets & Flows Reports, comes free and offers the following:
Assets & Flows Reports enable access to fund asset, trading and sales information across retail, retirement, trust and RIA channels on a daily, weekly AND monthly basis. These reports serve as a replacement and upgrade to the information Schwab previously provided through FundMap. Key reports include:

  • Asset Flows - monthly and year-to-date assets, positions, purchases, redemptions, and net flows
  • Blue Sky - monthly breakdowns of purchases and redemptions for by fund sorted by account registration types and the beneficial clients' states of residence
  • Broker / Dealer TPA - weekly or month-end activity of Retirement Plan Services Third Party Administrator (TPA) accounts with beginning and ending asset balances, purchases, and redemption
  • Daily Sales - all transactions in the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), Retail, and Trust channels.
  • Flows by Morningstar Category - a comparison of monthly flows for each product to total monthly flows on the Schwab mutual fund platform as well as calculates the market share of each product for the same Morningstar Category
  • Investment Advisor - provides weekly activity of RIA accounts including beginning and ending asset balances, purchases, and redemptions by fund and RIA
  • Large Daily Transaction - the 30 largest transactions for the RIA, Retail, and Trust channels in one report

  • The second tier of service, called Premium Reports, goes for $500 to $1,500 per month, depending factors such as asset size, and so on. This premium service offerings the following:
    Premium Reports give fund sponsors the option for even more visibility into intelligence on market position, competition, and product opportunities. With Premium Reporting, funds can gain answers to critical business questions, such as: What’s my firm’s market share by RIA; What’s my market penetration by product and TPA; or How does my firm rank amongst other funds by Morningstar category?
    Key reports include:

  • Broker / Dealer TPA Market Share - monthly activity of Third Party Administrator (TPA) accounts including gross sales, net flows, and asset balances for each TPA compared against all Schwab gross sales, net flows, and assets for each TPA. It also shows each fund firm's market share for each TPA by Morningstar Category.
  • Plan Sponsor Market Share - monthly activity of Retirement Plan Services in Plan Sponsor accounts at Charles Schwab Trust Company in your funds. It lists beginning and month-ending asset balances and flows for your fund family, by fund, by Plan Sponsor. The report compares your fund's gross sales, net flows, and asset balances for each plan sponsor compared against all Schwab gross sales, net flows, and assets for each plan sponsor. This report also shows your fund firm's market share for each plan sponsor by Morningstar Category.
  • Investment Advisor Market Share - monthly activity of Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) having assets with your funds. It compares the fund's gross sales, net flows, and asset balances, by RIA, against the gross sales, net flows, and asset balances of all funds distributed on the Schwab platform.
  • Investment Advisor Market Share by Morningstar Category - monthly activity of Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) having assets in the fund family by fund. It compares the fund's gross sales, net flows and asset balances, by RIA, against the gross sales, net flows, and asset balances of all funds distributed on the Schwab platform. All comparisons are shown by Morningstar.
  • Investment Advisor Market Share – by Product - monthly activity of Registered Investment Advisors (RIA). It compares the fund's asset balances, by RIA, against the asset balances of all funds distributed on the Schwab platform. All comparisons are shown by Morningstar Category and Product.
  • Investment Advisor Opportunity- comparison of the number of RIAs holding assets in your funds against the average number of RIA's holding assets on the Schwab platform. The comparison shows gross sales, net flows, and assets grouped by Morningstar Category.
  • Retail Market Share - monthly gross sales, net flows, and asset totals by fund for each Schwab retail channel accounts serviced by the Schwab Investor Services Enterprise. It further details this information by partial zip code, Morningstar Category.

  • With this portal, in particular the premium service, fund firms will be able to do a number of things that they couldn't do in a while, including:

    1. Gauge How They Are Doing in Comparison to Competitors
    "The premium offerings allows you to understand what you are doing relative to everyone else. It is not enough to just understand that your assets are growing or declining. You need to understand how they are growing or declining versus everyone else. How are you doing with particular advisors compared to comparable products they are offering in the marketplace," Cwenar said.

    2. Gauge How They Are Doing With a Particular Advisor
    "The system gives fund sponsors the ability to divide up the data and channelize it, showing the activity of advisors behind the platform. It can give you marketshare for a particular advisor. If last month, you were at 1 percent and this month, you have hit 1.2 percent, this gives you a sense of whether your sales and marketing initiatives are having an impact," he said.
    3. Specifically Gauge, and then Target, Strategies and Offerings to Specific Audiences
    "It can help you check how you are doing across different channels. This can help you refine your sales and education strategies for specific audiences. You can also target very specific products to advisors," Cwenar said.
    4. Help Gauge Performance of Sales People
    "This is also a great way to gauge the performance of your sales people. You can find out, in a much more meaningful way, the effectiveness of your marketing promotions, your sales programs, and your sales people," he said.
    5. Help Firms Track Data for Compliance
    "This information is not just about sales, this data is important for a variety of compliance and administrative purposes," he said.
    6. Help Firms Track Costs
    "This helps firms gauge their expected distribution fees. It can help you project expenses so you know what to expect when the bills come in," Cwenar said.

    The system has been live since the fall, is currently available only on the Schwab platform. However, Broadridge is currently in talks with other mutual fund distributors to develop similar systems for their platforms. 

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