MMI values its industry partnerships which provide additional benefits to our members. Recently FUSE Research Network, LLC published their thoughts on trends for 2011. We’ve added our response to the trends FUSE presents.
FUSE Ten Trends for 2011
1) 2011 will be the year of benchmarking. Senior management has a newfound appreciation for refined management techniques, which include detailed measurement of productivity and efficiency of different functional areas like sales, marketing, and product management. This will lead to an increased demand for metrics to compare the productivity and efficiency of an individual organization with its peers.
MMI Response: Look for new developments from MMI to address this trend.
2) The use of tactical asset allocation as a component of managing client portfolios will proliferate in 2011. As market and economic uncertainty continue to abound, investors are seeking increased flexibility to both mitigate risk and capitalize on opportunity. This trend was evident in 2010 by the growing popularity of tactically managed bond funds, which give portfolio managers the ability to move among fixed-income sectors, durations, credit qualities, and geographies, and is likely to carry over into equity portfolios in 2011.
MMI Response: MMI will examine this trend and look to highlight members who are employing tactical asset allocation.
3) Alternative mutual funds will experience a bit of a setback as several manufacturers falter in 2011 due to a lack of experience that leads to a failure in strategy execution. The result will be heightened due diligence that differentiates those that have genuine expertise from those that have simply jumped on the sales bandwagon.
MMI Response: MMI will monitor alternative mutual funds.
4) Distribution support will continue to evolve. We anticipate national account executives will increase their command of investment strategies and processes, so as to best position their organizations with distribution partners. In addition, firms will continue to dedicate incremental resources to their research support groups. Training and education of staff will be at the core of this trend.
MMI Response: MMI will look to the Directors of Research Committee for updates on this trend.
5) The next generations of pre-packaged solutions (models) at distributors will include greater choice and increased open architecture. Advancements in technology will move distributors closer to delivering truly customized solutions to their clients. Opportunities for third-party solution providers to distribute their products through more systems will emerge as open architecture is demanded by financial advisors.
MMI Response: Look for webinars on how to succeed with next generation solutions.
6) We anticipate sales to be up substantially in 2011, as net flows of mutual funds will approach $300 billion compared to approximately $250 billion in 2010. At the broad objective level:
a. We anticipate 2011 will be the best period of net sales for domestic equity mutual funds in six years, as a strong fourth quarter and two consecutive years of double digit returns helps restore confidence;
b. Non-US equity will continue its strong sales run and capture the largest share of net flows for mutual funds;
c. Fixed-income product flows will be positive once again, but a large volume of money parked in both short- and intermediate-term bond funds will transition to equity products based upon consecutive strong performance years and some concerns about the bond market and interest rates. We anticipate World Bond, Emerging Market Debt, and a number of other fixed income categories to be key contributors to industry sales.
MMI Response: Look for readouts from the MMI Mutual Fund Committee
7) The transition of flows to equity products will boost ETF sales as: (1) there is a wide array of high-quality equity ETFs available and, unlike in the fixed income boom, ETF product development will not have to catch up with demand, and 2) tactical asset allocation and core-satellite investing support growing use of passive ETFs.
MMI Response: MMI tracks and reports ETF data in MMI Central, supports an Alternative Investments Committee and will host an AI conference on 4/5/11.
8) Janus, MFS, and Nuveen are among the firms that have been producing exceptional investment performance across a broad array of equity products and appear poised to rank among the top-selling organizations in 2011. In addition, look for Dreyfus to emerge as a strong beneficiary of emerging markets interest, Natixis to have a breakout year selling a number of alternative strategy funds, and Pioneer to again be a go-to shop for high yield and strategic income funds.
MMI Response: MMI is proud to be associated with FUSE’s top firm picks.
9) DWS and Putnam are poised for a turnaround, as both organizations transition from extended periods of annual net outflows to net inflows in 2011.
MMI Response: MMI supports Advisory Solutions and wishes DWS and Putnam success in 2011.
10) Another three firms will be rewarded for embracing the importance of brand. The brand strategy will flow consistently throughout their entire organizations and the benefits will directly impact the top and bottom lines of these organizations with improved staff and asset retention, higher sales, and a differentiated marketplace position. Some of the common characteristics of these firms will be clear identity / culture, elevated role of marketing, believe in value of PR, focus on staff development and well articulated goals and objectives.
MMI Response: MMI looks forward to the successful implementation of the above-mentioned brands.