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Rating:One Year In, a TPM's Chief Reflects Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, December 3, 2020

One Year In, a TPM's Chief Reflects

Reported by Lauren Corradi

The team at a distribution startup focused on supporting asset managers celebrated a milestone yesterday. It was Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based FLX Distribution's first birthday! Founded in December 2019 by CEO Brian Moran, the financial technology company brings together asset managers, distribution professionals, wealth managers and advisors.

"Most of my career has been in distribution in a variety of different roles from being a wholesaler to a national account manager to leading distribution teams," Moran tells MFWire. "One of the opportunities I saw was in late 2018 was the opportunity to introduce potentially a new way to do business as it comes to distributing package products or distributing asset management services, investment strategies, et cetera."

"One of the components of this was could we bring some concept of what I will call traditional distribution, that is going to see advisors, going to see gatekeepers, interacting with them, marketing them in the traditional sense, but could we bring that together with concepts of the ... sharing economy. Could we bring that together into a single platform, to a single technology platform that would distinctly operate with asset managers, distribution professionals ... and wealth management firms," Moran continues. "That was what kicked off this initiative of creating the next generation of asset management distribution."

"And what we built as our first product on the platform was a technology platform, and at the heart, it has distribution as its inaugural focus product and that is where we, on one side of the marketplace, bring together manufacturing (asset managers, portfolio managers, themselves, mutual funds, separately managed accounts, alternatives, you name it), we bring them together and we match them with a distribution solution based upon where they are in their lifecycle," Moran explains.

"It is really important to emphasize this because if you are an asset manager in today's world, and you want to go to intermediarkes for wealth management distribution, and you don't have what they call 'shelf space' to go to the market with a significant spend on wholesaling, is probably not a smart investment decision because there is very little amounts that your wholesalers could accomplish," Moran continues.

The FLX team helps asset managers think through how to do their work in today's wealth management landscape, by offering the ability to take a pre-packaged distribution solution that they build for them.

"This is where the sharing economy comes in, they can literally go into our system, they sign up, we build them what we call a community page ... and we, in the prepackaged solution, will basically give them a team of salespeople, a team of national accounts people, marketing, and potentially as we call them other solution providers. Anything that is helpful to the distribution function and we will package that all up together for them," Moran explains.

"And the only real difference is they have to share that package with a handful of other firms So think about this from a sharing economy mindset," Moran continues. "We are still allowing you to have a distribution team, we are limiting the number of firms that you have to share it with, but we will literally save you 75 cents to the dollar in fixed costs by allowing us to do it this way and at the same time you can get access to a very scaled, and experienced and proven, distribution solution to implement and to bring to market your investment strategies."

And amid the curveballs 2020 has thrown into the mix, the FLX Distribution team has grown.

"Just think about, in one year we have had 17 employees hired full time; we have onboarded 200 plus what we call members; we are at 16 asset managers; we have built an advisory board which is publicly known of really impactful around the industry on both the wealth and the asset management side," Moran says. He continues on to note strategic relationships FLX Distribution has formed, as well as awards they have received.

"We have done in one year, more than what some companies do in five," Moran says. "... I think we have accomplished a ton and the people we have in place, are operating and executing at a level that is really exciting to see."

"The thing that gets me the most excited is to see how our asset managers, our members, and our solution providers are now working together to find ways to bring stuff to market that’s commercially viable that helps solve problems that they have," Moran explains. "We have managers that are using our solution provider website design; we have managers who are using our PR capabilities; we have managers that are using the distribution team, and all of that is creating an ecosystem."

"We have always had a goal that was to make sure people's front office, their client-facing team and their resources around distribution could come together in a really coordinated way, and it's happening," Moran notes. "It's happening day-in and day-out, and that is the most exciting part of the business in the past year."

What's Up Next?

The FLX Distribution team plans to continue to add managers most likely on a monthly or every other month basis, Moran shares.

"Separately, you will hear more about the introduction of other products that are part of our platform that help the enhancement of distribution," Moran says. "That will occur in the fourth quarter, first quarter and second quarter.'

Moran hints that FLX Distribution will also have another three additional products that will come into the market in the coming weeks.

"To give you an idea of those products, so far this year we have introduced the distribution solution, which is the cornerstone of what we do; we introduced something called Solutions Providers, which is a group of business solutions that our membership, our asset managers, and all of our distribution personnel can tap into to help in their efforts to add value to the clients they are working with or support the clients they are working with, or in some cases, to help the asset managers in their day to day front office functions; we also introduced FLX Media...which is our effort to slowly make sure that the content we are providing is exactly what the gatekeepers and the manger research teams and most importantly advisors and investors want to see and that is through video,” Moran explains.  

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