2016 Fall Solutions Conference

October 18-19, 2016 | Boston
The Westin Copley Place
Building Better Tomorrows

A host of rapidly converging forces are redefining the delivery of financial advice and how we seek to deliver better outcomes for clients. These same dynamics are simultaneously bringing about fundamental changes in key relationships up and down the value delivery chain – asset manager/distributor, firm/financial advisor, and, ultimately, advisor/client. All of these connections are being reshaped by unprecedented changes in technology, the regulatory environment, and investor needs and expectations. Old rules and paradigms no longer apply, and enabling increased collaboration between all stakeholders is critical to achieving improved results and building better tomorrows for all parties.

Join us October 18-19 in Boston as we explore the transformational changes under way, discuss how to embrace the opportunities they present, and focus on more efficient, mutually beneficial ways to work together.

Among the scheduled session highlights:

  • A.T. Kearney on revenue and asset shifts in the U.S. wealth and asset management industry
  • FinTech as a driver of business and management change
  • The latest on how broker-dealers, asset managers, and advisors are adapting to the DOL rule
  • Trends in advisor product usage and where asset managers and distributors are placing their bets
  • The political outlook leading up to November and the likely implications for financial services
  • Best practices in client communications and engagement
  • A thought-provoking “outside-in” view of the advisory solutions industry


If you want to keep pace with the individuals, firms, and trends driving the future of advisory solutions, plan to join us in Boston.  

Conference Co-Chairs
Patty Loepker,
Director of Research Directed Advisory Programs, Wells Fargo Advisors
Jill Mavro, Head of Strategic Relationship Group, State Street Global Advisors

Image result for twitter#MMI16FALL

Additional Information

Keynote Speakers

Ronald O'Hanley
President & CEO
State Street Global Advisors 

Ronald O'Hanley

Joseph Wall  
Vice President, Office of Government Affairs

Goldman SachsJoseph Wall


Download Agenda (PDF)
Building Better Tomorrows

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

11:30AM – 12:45PM
Registration and Credential Pickup

12:45PM – 1:15PM
Welcome and Opening Remarks

John Sweeney,
Chairman of the Board of Governors, Money Management Institute
Craig Pfeiffer, President & CEO, Money Management Institute

Fall Solutions Co-Chairs
Patty Loepker,
Head of Research Directed Advisory Programs, Wells Fargo Advisors
Jill Mavro, Head of Strategic Relationship Group, State Street Global Advisors

1:15PM – 2:00PM
Opening Keynote Presentation: Time Is Not on Our Side: Closing the Retirement Savings Coverage Gap
In this session, the conference theme of Building Better Tomorrows really hits home as SSGA President and CEO Ron O’Hanley takes on the looming retirement savings crisis. The backdrop for his presentation is the combination of lower-for-longer returns and lengthening lifespans that is creating a new urgency around getting Americans to start saving early. With nearly half of all American workers – and, in particular, those employed by small businesses – having no retirement coverage, Mr. O’Hanley will lay out a pragmatic solution for expanding access to workplace-based retirement savings programs. The national framework he describes builds on the best practices of existing defined contribution savings plans and offers a workable path forward.   

Ronald O’Hanley, President & CEO, State Street Global Advisors

2:00PM – 3:00PM
The Future of Advice: How Coming Revenue and Asset Shifts Will Challenge the U.S. Wealth Management Industry

The wealth management industry is undergoing seismic shifts – the wave of retiring baby boomers, an immense generational wealth transfer, the impact of changing regulations, and the growing independence of advisors – and all are contributing to the massive industry transition under way. Senior A.T. Kearney executives will discuss the impact of these drivers on assets and revenues using the firm’s proprietary quantification model and share the results of its survey of 3,500 U.S. consumers. The session will focus on the implications for industry participants and how they are reacting.

Uday Singh, Partner, A.T. Kearney
Peter Chiang, Principal, A.T. Kearney  

3:00PM – 3:30PM
Solutions Spotlight

In this fast-paced session, two of our Fall Solutions sponsors will offer quick-hitting “TED Talk”-style presentations that focus on timely topics pertinent to our conference theme. Prepare to be engaged and entertained.

3:30PM – 4:00PM 
Refreshment and Networking Break with Exhibitors

4:00PM – 5:15PM
Concurrent Break-Out Sessions (choose one of three)

A: FinTech…The New Driver of Change: Where Does It Fit in Your Firm?
FinTech – the economic community of firms employing technology to make financial services more efficient – has in recent years developed into a full-fledged segment of the financial services industry. Growth in this new sector is expected to accelerate as the pace of investment in technology startups with cutting edge ideas continues to ramp up. This panel will focus on creating a better understanding of FinTech and how it could impact wealth management, financial services, and the overall economy. Instead of being a technology-focused discussion, this session will center on business and management applications, their potential impact, and understanding how the integration of FinTech into strategic planning can be important to your organization’s future success. Topics will include such key drivers of change as:

  • regulatory challenges,
  • changing market demands,
  • technology and innovation,
  • peer-to-peer lending,
  • peer-to-peer payments/digital currencies
  • mobile banking/payments,
  • robo-advice, and
  • advanced analytics.

Gary Jones,
Principal, Jones & Jones Consulting LLC

Chris Chen,
Senior Vice President and General Manager, API Team, Envestnet | Yodlee
Jennifer Peve, Executive Director, Office of FinTech Strategy, DTCC
Charles Smith, Executive Director, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, LLP

B: DOL Rule Update: Countdown to Implementation
With the effective date of the DOL fiduciary rule less than seven months away, firms are starting to slowly reveal their plans to comply with its provisions, mitigate potential negative consequences, and position themselves for emerging opportunities. This session will focus on the different steps and approaches that firms are taking as the implementation deadline looms as well as some of the rule’s likely outcomes. Among the topics to be covered:

  • how firms are positioning the fiduciary rule both internally and externally,
  • how they are preparing to determine, demonstrate and document that their recommendations are in the client’s best interest,
  • the secondary impact of the rule on taxable accounts,
  • how sponsor firms, asset managers, and financial advisors will redefine their advice value proposition,
  • the likelihood that wealth management firms will overhaul their product offerings and whether they will use more third-party investment management services,
  • which asset and product types will be most affected, the likely revenue impact, and the potential for compression in operating margins,
  • the rule’s impact on RIAs, especially as it relates to substantiating IRA rollovers, and
  • the many yet-to-be-answered questions about the rule itself.  

Craig Pfeiffer, President & CEO, Money Management Institute

James W. Lumberg, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, Envestnet
Arjun Saxena, Principal, PWC 

Jeff Schwantz, Head of Advisor and Wealth Management Solutions, North America, Morningstar, Inc.

C: Trends in Product Usage and Development
Research by Strategic Insight has identified specific trends that have emerged in the mutual fund, AI, ETF and SMA arenas. 

  • Upwards of 80%-85% of mutual fund sales through intermediary channels are into fee-based advisory accounts. The DOL rule and the evolving need for advice will accelerate that trend and have a far-reaching impact on share class design, product development, and advisor support.
  • Despite outflows for liquid alternative funds since 2014, the asset class continues to mature as a component of advisor portfolios. Liquid alternatives now represent approximately 4.5% of mutual fund assets held by wirehouse advisors – more than double their share in 2012 – but still well below many recommended portfolio allocation levels, providing opportunities for fund managers with the appropriate capabilities.
  • The secular trend of employing ETFs as a component of advisor portfolio construction is undeniable. Index ETFs now make up 37% of U.S. Equity fund assets in wirehouses and 36% in the RIA channel. The next stage is being marked by development of “bridge” products like active ETFs and fundamental index (“smart beta”) ETFs.
  • The SMA landscape continues to evolve within the context of next generation fee-based programs. Nearly 50% of SMA assets are now in fixed-income strategies. The asset class grew by 14.4% in 2015, and continues to outpace other investment styles in 2016.
  • Join our expert panel of MMI product committee co-chairs as they offer perspective on these trends and insights on product development focus, how advisors are using selected products, and where asset managers and distributors are placing their bets.

Dennis Bowden,
 Managing Director, U.S. Mutual Fund Research, Strategic Insight

Robert Geppner,
 Head of National Sales-US, Franklin Templeton Investments
Michelle Mikos, Director of ETF Retail Business Development, INVESCO
Kirk Strawn, National Director of Intermediary Sales, Altegris
Mark Thomas, Head of Managed Accounts, PIMCO

5:15PM – 6:30PM
Reception and Networking with Exhibitors


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

7:00AM – 8:00AM
Breakfast and Networking with Exhibitors

8:15AM – 8:45AM
Solutions Spotlight

Two more “Ted Talk”-type presentations will kick off Day Two. First, MMI’s senior staff will share key findings from our recent MMI Value-Provided survey and discuss initiatives that align with the elements members told us they value most. Next up, another insightful presentation from one of our Fall Solutions sponsors.  

8:45AM – 9:30AM
Keynote Presentation: The 2016 Political Landscape: What Can We Expect?

Joseph Wall will share his perspective on the upcoming US presidential election and the dynamics that will shape the race. Joe will provide an analysis of the macro political environment, the shifting demographic composition of the US electorate and the battleground states that will be pivotal in November. He will also discuss the US House and Senate landscape, and how the election results will shape the policymaking climate in 2017.  

Joseph Wall, Vice President, Office of Government Affairs, Goldman Sachs

9:30AM – 10:30AM
Can You Hear Me Now?: Best Practices in Client Communications

On average, experts say, people need to hear a message five to seven times in order for it to sink in. But it’s not just how many times you say something, it’s also the words you select and the manner in which you choose to communicate. In today’s world of ever-shortening attention spans, it’s critical to understand the difference between language that connects with investors and language that confuses them. In this session, you’ll hear and learn from an industry leader in client satisfaction and an expert in client communication strategies.

This conversation will help you understand:

  • how clients really feel about their communications with investment professionals,
  • specific words and phrases to use to build confidence and trust (and ones to lose), and
  • how to cut jargon out of your vocabulary, simplify your message, and build stronger relationships.

Brendan Clark,
President, Clark Capital Management Group

Gary DeMoss, Director, Invesco Consulting
Michael Foy, Director, Wealth Management Practice, JD Power

10:30AM – 11:00AM
Refreshment and Networking Break with Exhibitors

11:00AM – 11:30AM
Solutions Spotlight

Round 3 of our “TED Talk”-style presentations with two more thought-provoking takes on topics that relate to our conference theme of “Building Better Tomorrows.”

11:30AM – 12:30PM
The Shifting Landscape of Product Development in an Outcomes-Oriented World

As technology, regulation, competition, and focusing on doing what is best for the client reshape how advice is delivered, the nature of relationships within the industry is also changing. This session will examine the shifts taking place with respect to how products are developed, sold, delivered, and consumed. Our panelists will drill down for an up-close look at the ways in which the landscape of product development, distribution, and manufacturing is being reshaped. Topics to be explored include:

  • What is driving change?
  • How are distributors thinking through the changes?
  • How are manufacturers developing products to meet the needs of clients?
  • What is next?

Tom Morelli, Vice President, Head of Broker-Dealer, T. Rowe Price Group

Tim Clift,
 Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Strategist
Roger Paradiso, Head of Alternative Distribution Strategies, Legg Mason
Warren Terry, Managing Director, FA Platform, Wells Fargo Advisors

12:30PM – 1:30PM
General Session with Luncheon

The Long View: How the Media, Internal and External Analysts See the Advisory Solutions Industry
For all the far-reaching change that we see touching virtually every aspect of our businesses, has anyone outside the industry really taken notice? And what do they think of the advice business and the larger financial services industry? This panel, which includes a financial journalist, an equity research analyst, and an industry consultant, compares and contrasts external and internal perceptions of the industry’s development and progress.

Mike Keenan,
Senior Managing Director, National Accounts, MFS Investment Management  

Brennan Hawken,
Senior Equity Research Analyst, UBS Investment Bank
Jason Schwarz, President, Wilshire Funds Management        
Bailey McCann
, Financial Journalist and Author

Closing Remarks and Adjournment

Sponsor and Exhibitor Opportunities Available

Would your marketing and sales efforts benefit from:

  • connecting with an audience of senior investment advisory solutions executives?
  • building relationships with decision makers at asset management and distributor firms?
  • creating additional awareness of your firm’s products and services?
  • catching up in person with multiple customers and prospects at one time? 

If so, the Money Management Institute invites you to reserve a spot now to join us as a Sponsor or Exhibitor at our 2016 Fall Solutions Conference.

Fall Solutions 2016 represents an exceptional opportunity to build brand awareness, showcase your firm’s offerings, and make new connections. Our conference will bring together ~350-400 industry stakeholders, business leaders, and key decision makers for two days of thought-provoking sessions and networking opportunities.

Premier sponsorship packages, exhibit hall booths, and a menu of à la carte sponsorship items are now available at a variety of attractive price points.

Download a comprehensive guide to Sponsor and Exhibitor opportunities,

And to encourage you to experience what an MMI event is about first-hand, we are offering a special, limited-time discount on premier sponsorship and exhibitor packages. Sign up by September 9th and receive 10% off the standard rates listed.

For more information and to reserve your package, contact:

Joan Lensing
SVP, Chief Marketing Officer
202-821-4109 | jlensing@mminst.org

Registration Fees

Early Bird Rate - Through September 9th
Members - $1,350 
Non-Members - $1,650

Regular Rate
Members - $1,550
Non-Members - $1,850

Volume Discount for Multiple Attendees
Once two attendees from your firm are registered for Fall Solutions at the standard registration fee, all subsequent attendees are eligible for a 20% discount. Contact MMI headquarters at (646) 868-8500 for details and the special code to use during the registration process.

Cancellations: No refunds will be granted for cancellations after 5:00pm ET on Friday, September 30th. Substitutions are permitted. Please notify MMI at (646) 868-8500.

Hotel Information

The Westin Copley Place, BostonThe Westin Copley Place, Boston
10 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

The MMI group rate of $359 plus 14.45% taxes per night for single/double occupancy is available through September 27th on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For Reservations, call: (617) 262-9600 and reference the 2016 MMI Fall Solutions Conference or reserve online at https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/2016MMISolutionsConference

CE Credit

IMCA® has accepted the MMI 2016 Fall Solutions Conference Forum for 7.0 hours of CE credit towards the CIMA®, CIMC®, and CPWA® certifications.

If you hold the CIMA®, CIMC®, and CPWA® certifications certification(s), you may report this CE program online by logging into your My IMCA account at www.imca.org/user. The Program ID number will be provided after you have completed the program.


Attendee Registration:

Nia Edwards - nedwards@mminst.org
(646) 868-8506

Speaker Registration:

Laura Payne- lpayne@mminst.org
(646) 868-8510

Fees & Billing:


(646) 868-8500

Sponsorship Opportunities:

Joan Lensing - jlensing@mminst.org
(646) 868-8518

Event Updates

MMI 2016 Fall Solutions Conference Twitter Feed

Recap: 2016 MMI Fall Solutions Conference

2016 MMI Fall Solutions Conference

More than 320 attendees gathered October 18-19 in Boston for the 2016 MMI Fall Solutions Conference. The conference’s theme was Building Better Tomorrows and the sessions focused on defining and understanding the convergent forces reshaping the delivery of financial advice.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the highlights:

Craig Pfeiffer on MMI: Today and Tomorrow
Craig Pfeiffer on MMI: Today and TomorrowIn his conference-opening remarks, MMI President and CEO Craig Pfeiffer assured attendees that, in a time of tremendous transition for the investment advisory solutions industry, MMI remains fully committed “…to escalate the professionalism and to grow the industry broadly. We will accomplish that by working in six areas of strategic priority on a daily basis – the membership experience, educational initiatives, data resources and analytics, next generation initiatives, advocacy, and MMI leadership.”

Among Craig’s key points:

  • MMI membership remains very stable with a 90% renewal rate and an anchor core of large institutions that have been members for ten or more years. The organization is seeing new membership opportunities among small- to medium-sized firms and ones which have been more commission- or product-oriented and are now migrating to fee-based advisory solutions because of the DOL fiduciary rule.
  • MMI’s recent survey of more than 4,000 members of the MMI community showed strong support and interest in the ability to engage with industry peers at thematic conferences, data access and analysis, and thought leadership. Craig highlighted examples of how MMI has been aligning its resources in these areas, citing an expanded event calendar, an ongoing review of the breadth and depth of the data and analysis that MMI provides, the success of the core eLearning programs, the expansion of MMI’s on-campus educational partnership with Envestnet and Wheelhouse Analytics, and the rollout of the new Wholesaler Training Center. 
  • On the advocacy front, he underscored MMI’s focused effort to help members understand and prepare for the impact of the DOL fiduciary rule while simultaneously elevating the dialogue on the “convergence” of technology, digital communications, and the investor/client experience. He also welcomed and introduced the 25 participants in the new class of MMI’s Leadership Pathway program, which recognizes and nurtures the next generation of advisory solutions leaders through a structured curriculum of learning activities and networking opportunities. 

Exhibit Hall

John Sweeney Urges Focus on Solutions, Not Problems
In his welcoming remarks, John Sweeney, EVP of Retirement and Investing Strategies at Fidelity Investments and Chairman of MMI’s Board of Governors, challenged the audience. He cited Jason Selk, a performance coach and sports psychologist, who advocates the importance of training one’s mind to focus not on the problem at hand, but on the solution – through a  “relentless solution focus.” “Today and tomorrow at this conference, I am committed to shifting my focus to the solutions, and I ask you to join me…The people in this room have the power to change the trajectory of American investors over the next decade. We can help them save more, make better investments, give them the confidence to stay the course when markets get rough, and help them live joyous lives in retirement.”

John Sweeney - Exhibit Hall - Jill Mavro
John Sweeney | Exhibit hall | Jill Mavro

Ronald O’Hanley, President and CEO of State Street Global Advisors
Ronald O’Hanley and John Sweeney

Time Is Not on Our Side: Closing the Retirement Savings Coverage Gap
Attendees were privileged to hear firsthand a keynote presentation by Ronald O’Hanley, President and CEO of State Street Global Advisors, about an initiative now underway to address one of this country’s most pressing problems, the looming retirement income crisis. Mr. O’Hanley, who was introduced by his colleague Conference Co-Chair Jill Mavro, began his remarks by stating, “This a critical moment for our asset managers and financial advisors, but most of all for the end users. At a time when demographics, technology, and regulation are changing, the need for help and advice has never been greater…I just can’t think of a better theme for this conference than Building Better Tomorrows. But we can’t build a better tomorrow for our clients, for their families, or for our industry without fixing America’s retirement crisis.”

  • “When it comes to retirement savings, we are indeed in crisis, and a host of factors have conspired to get us there – low interest rates, stalled growth, rising healthcare costs, and an overall lack of financial literacy.”
  • Moving from a DB-based system to a DC-based system has transferred substantial risk from institutions which knew how to bear and manage it to individuals who, in many cases, not only do not know how to deal with it, but don’t even know they have taken it on.
  • Thirty million U.S. workers don’t participate in any retirement system because they simply don’t have access to one. “Half of small businesses don’t offer one, and small businesses disproportionately employ women and minorities. So we have a problem that is insidiously affecting those who need the most help.”
  • EBRI estimates the retirement under-savings gap at $4.13 trillion. Significantly longer life spans will make the situation worse as will modest single-digit returns in a sluggish economic environment characterized by low income growth.
  • The key to retirement savings is starting early, saving more, allocating assets, and rebalancing. To do this, you must have access to a plan, and the most important thing to be focused on is the “access imperative,” figuring out how to expand access to retirement savings plans – clearly the precondition for fixing this crisis. Time is not on our side because one less day of savings is one less day of return and one less day of compounding.
  • In June, Mr. O’Hanley sent an open letter to Congress urging policymakers to address the problem and offered a four-point plan of attack that builds on existing workplace retirement plans which have worked in the past.
  • First, it would require all private employers to auto-enroll all workers in a DC plan. Second, it would require auto-escalation and qualified default investments such as target date funds – proven tools within the DC structure that have helped employees maximize savings. Third, in recognition of the burden placed on small businesses, it calls for small business tax credits to cover set-up costs and matching contributions. Last, it eliminates the barriers to multiple employer plans to allow businesses to band together to offer affordable retirement savings plans.
  • Why the workplace focus? Because decades of experience have shown that workplace plans have been successful, and we have an ERISA regulatory framework that protects such plans. The proposal recommends that 6% of an employee’s salary be set aside initially and that it be escalated to 12% over three years in 2% increments.  
  • This framework, while only a start, has been well received from both sides of the aisle and would reduce the shortfall by nearly 18%, taking a $740 billion whack out of the $4.13 trillion shortfall.  

How Revenue and Asset Shifts Will Challenge the U.S. Wealth Management Industry
Uday Singh and Peter Chiang from A.T. Kearney presented the firm’s view of the coming re-configuration of the wealth and asset management industry based on a survey of the investment behavior and preferences of approximately 3,500 mass-affluent U.S. consumers. To project the state of the industry in 2020, they modeled six unprecedented and transformational “waves of change:”  

Uday Singh from A.T. Kearney
Uday Singh from A.T. Kearney
  • Increased regulation: The DOL fiduciary rule will result in $2 trillion in asset shifts as well as $20 billion in lost revenue and engender a shift to the fee-based advisory model. Certain high-cost products will be phased out because their business models will no longer be appropriate.
  • Digital advice: By 2020, the study estimates that robo-advisors will manage over $2 trillion in assets, and that 28% of mass affluent investors will change their main advisory model. Looking ahead, both self-directed and fully-delegated advisory models will decline in importance as the use of hybrid models increases.
  • Pressure on Fees: Investors will finally be in the driver’s seat as increased price transparency/sensitivity and competition drive advisory fees down. The willingness to switch advice providers for a fee discount is high, especially among younger investors – over 90% for those aged 18 to 34.
  • Baby Boomers: Half of this cohort will be retired by 2020. As they retire, they are likely to migrate to models that provide increased advice – either digital, human, or both.
  • Generational Wealth Transfer: Younger generations will inherit $8 trillion over the next 10 years, transferring assets primarily to independent advisory models.
  • Rise of independent advisors: Advisors will continue to break away from traditional broker-dealers to independent advice models because of better compensation, greater autonomy, and improved client retention, creating a $1.3 trillion asset shift by 2020 in which RIAs, dual RIAs, robo advisors, and ETFs will benefit disproportionately.  
Patty Loepker
Conference Co-Chair Patty Loepker

The 2016 Political Landscape: What Can We Expect?
In her introduction of Joseph Wall, Vice President, Office of Government Affairs, Goldman Sachs, Conference Co-Chair Patty Loepker of Wells Fargo Advisors spoke of the value of an insider’s knowledge given the very disparate reporting being offered by the media. Mr. Wall lived up to his billing. His very sophisticated and well-documented analysis of likely outcomes in the upcoming election captivated the audience.

Can You Hear Me Now? Best Practices in Client Communications
The effectiveness of communication – whether in a sales setting or sitting down with a client – is very much a function of how you say something, the words and terms you use. In a panel moderated by Brendan Clark, two communications experts – Gary DeMoss of Invesco Consulting and Michael Foy of J.D. Power – gave attendees a crash course on communications dos and don’ts.

  • The advisor’s ability to formulate and communicate a value proposition will become more important over time.
  • One of the key areas is the lack of understanding about fees – what people are paying and why they are paying it.
  • The advisor’s ability to effectively communicate around goals and performance is a more important driver of satisfaction than what the investor’s actual returns are.  

Mr. DeMoss’ firm has for eight years been studying the use of financial language and the emotional impact it has on people. Out of that research, come four communications principles:

  • First, any element of fear-based selling is out today. “A recent study we did focused on the language that should be used when telling clients about the DOL rule. Negative language and blaming overregulation just doesn’t work. Clients don’t want negative messages – they want positive, hopeful messages.”
  • Second, promises made to clients must be believable because of the extreme skepticism in today’s world.  
  • Third, speak in plain English, not jargon, and that will be a challenge as the word ‘fiduciary’ is introduced into client conversations. When focus groups are asked what they least like to pay as an investor – commissions, fees, charges, or costs – the answer is invariably fees, which is a universally disliked term. The preferred language is, “There are certain costs associated with our practice.”
  • Fourth, generic conversations are out. The conversation must be personalized and about the client, which is especially important when talking about DOL. It has to be carefully framed and not as “This is something I am now required to tell you,” which is negative.

The Shifting Landscape of Product Development in an Outcomes-Oriented World
This panel toured the product development landscape taking note of trends that are developing as the industry wrestles with implementation of the DOL fiduciary rule. Some highlights:

  • Simplification is critical. Advisors need to start new relationships by asking what the outcomes should be and by defining their value propositions.
  • Change will come at a very fast pace. There are extreme margin pressures, and it’s a fact that prices are coming down.
  • As we shift to a goals-based approach, you have to be thinking about a solution rather than a product sale. That means the way you approach your business and interact with clients will be very different.
  • Large distributors will be addressing the same set of problems, and that translates into fewer products on the shelves and fewer relationships with asset management firms.
  • Asset managers have to anticipate and react to the changing product needs of sponsors. It is easier for a distributor to deal with one firm with a wide range of products, and that distributor will undoubtedly want those products in all types of vehicles, not just ’40 Act funds.
  • Selling asset management products is going to be more home office-centric as distributors merge and refine their platforms, and asset managers must understand each of the solutions those firms are developing and how to meet the needs of those platforms.
  • The search is definitely on for the low cost, most efficient vehicle. High-cost products will be left by the wayside while low cost ETFs and mutual funds continue to gain momentum. There is a definite uptick in packaged solutions.
  • Asset managers are starting to flock together, wanting to combine their offerings into broader solutions and jointly leverage their wholesaling staffs.

An Outside-In View of the Advisory Solutions Industry 
The conference program committee, seeking a different perspective on the investment advisory industry, assembled a panel to provide a view of wealth management from the outside looking in. The three panelists – financial journalist and author Bailey McCann, Brennan Hawken, Senior Equity Research Analyst, UBS Investment Bank, and Jason Schwarz, President of Wilshire Funds Managementwere introduced by moderator Mike Keenan of MFS Investment Management, who noted that much of what is written about the industry “is inaccurate and frankly doesn’t do us any favors. What we are hoping to do today with this panel is to give you an outsider’s view of us, but, equally important, we want to talk about what we can do as an industry to present reality accurately and make sure the perceptions of financial services are no longer what they are today.”

Using a recent story in The Wall Street Journal declaring that active management is dead as a jumping-off point, the panel discussed “headline risk” and brand risk. They agreed that the industry needs to take a more active role in shaping public perception, noting:

Leadership Pathway Attendees
Leadership Pathway Attendees
  • the importance of building and maintaining a solid reputation,
  • how dents in a holding company’s reputation can trickle down to its subsidiaries,
  • the imperative to explain a complex industry to a world craving simplicity,
  • how the industry needs to do a better job of setting the expectations of advisors and clients about new products and the industry’s evolution, and
  • a general failure to articulate value propositions across the industry.

A Host of Other Timely Topics
Between the general sessions, participants also had the chance to attend breakout sessions on topics such as the business impact of FinTech on wealth management, how firms are preparing to implement the DOL fiduciary rule, and the latest trends in product usage and development. They were also treated to provocative “Ted Talk”-style presentations from our conference sponsors on everything from the disintermediation of distribution and the “simplicity of relevance” to busting ESG myths and the power of intelligent dashboards.

2016 MMI Toronto Wealth Management Summit

It was a jam-packed two days. If you were able to join us, we hope you left Fall Solutions 2016 feeling energized and optimistic about the invaluable role that advisory solutions play in Building Better Tomorrows for investors. If you weren’t able to attend, please contact us with questions on any of the topics or resources discussed.

In either case, check the MMI calendar for upcoming events, including the Toronto Wealth Management Summit on November 15th and next year’s three-day MMI Annual Conference in Chicago on October 2-4, 2017.

Platinum Sponsors

  • CGI
  • EY

Gold Sponsors

  • Folio Dynamix
  • Vestmark

Silver Sponsors

  • Archer
  • Charles River
  • Copytalk
  • Fiserv
  • MSCI