The Money Management Institute and Barron’s today announced the winners of the 2020 MMI/Barron’s Industry Awards at a special virtual ceremony during MMI’s 2020 Annual Conference. Now in its twelfth year, the Industry Awards recognize innovation and achievement in the investment advisory solutions industry over the past year.
The most impactful efforts being made across the investment advisory industry by asset managers, sponsor firms, and solutions providers are acknowledged for their efforts to improve the advice delivery process and create better outcomes, both for advisors and the investors they serve.
The winners in the 12 award categories this year are:
Digital Innovation: Honoring a new technological innovation (or specific enhancement to an existing platform or tool) that enhances the investor or advisor experience with advisory solutions
- Morgan Stanley Wealth Management—Goals Planning System (GPS)— Integrates proprietary goal planning with the Firm’s investment proposal tool, allowing Financial Advisors to scale their practice, deliver an engaging client experience and provide an enhanced and intuitive platform for goal tracking and reporting.
“Doing Good”: Honoring programs that support a deserving cause or give back to the communities we serve
- John Hancock—MLK Scholars Program—The MLK scholars program addresses the critical need for summer jobs among Boston city youth. Each year, the program sponsors the employment of over 600 teens at approximately 60 local non-profit organizations, and includes access to a financial literacy course.
Social Justice: Honoring exemplary commitment and progress in embracing and advocating social justice in the investment advisory solutions industry
- Morgan Stanley— Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion — The Firm was intentional in its addition of ‘Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion’ to its core values, mirroring the company’s ongoing commitment to improving diversity in its workforce, building inclusive communities and ensuring its approach to wealth management reflects the needs of the communities it serves.
- Raymond James— Diversity & Inclusion: Pledge to the Black Community—As a response to the tragic killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, Raymond James has made a pledge to the Black community. This pledge includes: expanding Black representation among its associates, advisors and corporate leadership, establishing explicit goals and implementing transparent reporting, launching a mentoring initiative to support the professional development of its Black associates and advisors, developing and delivering a training curriculum and resource portal and pledged an initial $1.5 million to support advancement of Black communities.
Sustainable & Impact Investing: Honoring programs that support awareness and adoption of sustainable and ESG Investing
- Community Capital Management— Minority Community Advancement Racial Empowerment Strategy (Minority CARES)— Minority CARES anticipates investing over $2 billion over the next five years in market-rate bonds that align with the values of social justice, improvement in the lives of those in historically marginalized communities, and increased economic opportunity for people of color.
Distribution Excellence: Honoring firms that provide exemplary and innovative advisor sales support both in the field and from the home office
- Clark Capital Management Group—Live From Philly: New Asset Growth Through a Crisis— As lockdowns began and the pandemic disrupted many industries, Clark Capital Management’s team of over 50 distribution professionals quickly pivoted their communications plan and service model to deliver a best-in-class virtual experience to their advisors. Despite the pandemic’s impact on the markets and industry, Clark Capital’s Distribution Team onboarded over 500 new advisors, added over $1 billion in net flows, and helped the firm reach an all-time high in AUM of over $20 billion.
Thought Leadership/Education: Honoring new programs, research, educational campaigns, or content that meaningfully advance industry knowledge and understanding of topics key to the future of advisory solutions
- Invesco—Global Consulting: “What Matters Most Right Now”— Invesco created this program based on a large study to provide advisors the best support tools to prove their value to investor clients. The program included four areas of focus: 1. Building resilience and using the right words and phrases with clients during periods of market volatility; 2. Managing energy for high performance; 3. Providing clients perspective and education around relevant market trends; and 4. Designing client conversation to generate referral opportunities during times of significant change.
Disruption: Honoring a groundbreaking new product, technology, or process that will fundamentally alter the future delivery of advisory solutions
- FLX Distribution—Through a unique, tech-enabled approach, FLX provides an alternative way for staffing a firm’s distribution efforts in a manner that’s never been done before. Inspired by “gig economy” solutions, FLX Distribution utilizes algorithmic matching of firm requirements to distribution professionals’ experience and talent. Beyond personnel, the FLX Data Vault allows asset management firms to provide quantitative and qualitative information to as many as 60 databases at one time.
Wealth Manager Platform of the Year: Honoring a wealth manager platform that exemplifies innovation in delivering better outcomes for investors and financial advisors
- Morgan Stanley— Advisory Platform Expansion Efforts— Introduced a new suite of advisory solutions geared towards clients including: 1) the ability to purchase annuities within client discretionary accounts; 2) delivering access to SMA strategies for clients custodying assets away from the firm; 3) creating a National Advisory 529 Plan, regarded as the first of its kind in the industry; and 4) allowing offshore mutual funds/ETFs, and onshore ETFs to be purchased by International Client Advisors and Financial Advisors with non-resident clients.
Asset Manager of the Year (AUM of $10 billion or less): Honoring a smaller asset manager that exemplifies innovation in delivering better outcomes for investors and financial advisors
- Community Capital Management (CCM)— CCM exemplifies innovation in delivering positive outcomes for investors and financial advisors by utilizing its proprietary technology for bringing an impact story to life and dispelling the myth that impact investors must receive concessionary returns. For over 20 years, CCM has been a leader in impact and ESG investing with a specialty in taxable core fixed income.
Asset Manager of the Year (AUM between $10-$50 billion): Honoring a mid-size asset manager that exemplifies innovation in delivering better outcomes for investors and financial advisors
- Clark Capital Management Group– Helping Advisors Attract and Retain HNW Investors Through a Crisis – In the absence of face-to-face meetings and events, the firm hosted nearly 20 live webcast events, 500 custom client market outlook calls, 400 client reviews and created timely thought leadership pieces designed to give advisors up-to-the-minute market updates and guidance on managing client emotions during the pandemic.
Asset Manager of the Year (AUM of more than $50 billion): honoring a larger asset manager that exemplifies innovation in delivering better outcomes for investors and financial advisors
- T. Rowe Price—T. Rowe Price Active ETFs—In August 2020, T. Rowe Price debuted four active ETFs. The ETFs, which are actively managed by T. Rowe Price portfolio managers, include the Blue Chip Growth ETF, the Dividend Growth ETF, the Equity Income ETF, and the Growth Stock ETF. The four new ETFs employ the firm’s long-standing strategic investing approach, characterized by rigorous research, risk awareness, and independent decision making.
Solutions Provider of the Year: Honoring a solutions provider (technology or service provider) that exemplifies innovation in delivering better outcomes for investors and financial advisors
- iCapital Network—Alternative Investing Industry Infrastructure— iCapital Network's technology solution is transforming the alternative investing industry by making it increasingly easy for advisors to provide their high-net-worth clients with institutional-quality alternative investments and for alternative asset managers to reach new sources of capital.