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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Platform Consolidation Exacerbates Fund Competition

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

You've all felt it, suspected it and seen. Now it's official.

Research from Cerulli Associates, titled The Cerulli Edge-Managed Accounts Edition says that platform consolidation is making asset manager distribution more competitive.

According to the study, supporting multiple program types is prompting broker/dealer executives to re-evaluate their fee-based offerings.

  "A surprising number of broker/dealers have taken the approach of maintaining their legacy platforms for fear of disrupting their advisors' way of using fee-based programs," states Patrick Newcomb, senior analyst at Cerulli Associates. "The majority of firms launched unified managed accounts (UMAs) in the past few years, which have done little to reduce the total number of program offerings at each firm."

For example, the study argues that "the ultimate goal for many home-office executives is maintaining all fee-based business in one platform. In this scenario, firms that are newer entrants to the space or firms with fewer assets almost have a leg up on their competition. By starting from scratch, B/Ds can learn from previous mistakes and build a single platform that offers a stream- lined approach to wealth management for their advisors."

One lesson for asset managers, consider consolidating offerings, at least in areas where there are overlap.  

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