FUSE In The News

MFS Bets on Growing Appeal of 'Blended Research' Funds

“I think that MFS has done a nice job of making the ‘blended’ approach as something that is distinctively their own, and I would not be surprised if they take it to a higher level…in terms of a formalized/standardized component of the [research] process [for funds],” writes Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network. 

Article Published on August 26, 2015

Eaton Vance, BNY Garner New Sales With Old-Fashioned Tactics

That approach was recently underscored by a Fuse Research Network study showing broker-dealer home offices may not wield as much influence over their advisors’ asset allocations as thought. In fact, the biggest factor prompting advisors to make portfolio shifts are changes in the end clients’ lives. The survey of about 700 financial advisors conducted during the first half of the year showed that just 23% said home office models were “very important” to their portfolio adjustment decisions, and 39% said these models were “not important” drivers of such changes. But the recent survey is no reason to ignore the home office models completely. A sizable percentage of advisors across the industry still pay very close attention to them, says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse Research Network. 

Article Published on August 24, 2015

ETF Pioneer Takes Lead Compliance Role at SMA Shop

Thomas, a longtime ETF pro, paired up with RiverPark Advisors in May 2013 to explore an ETF business, as reported. In May 2013, Fuse Research Network formalized a strategic partnership with Thomas through which he worked with Fuse clients that were interested in expanding into ETFs.

Article Published on August 24, 2015

Reputation of Franklin’s Mobius Outshines Funds' Performance

Mobius’s following and personal connection with intermediaries “supersedes the actual performance of his funds over the last five years,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. “I think advisors and home offices are OK disconnecting the actual performance on his emerging markets [funds] from his broader insights into how the world is evolving,” Bathon says. And it’s worth keeping him on the strategies. “It helps strengthen the overall brand, which helps with sales and retention,” he says.

Article Published on August 17, 2015

Fuse Poaches SSgA Sales Big

Fuse Research Network has appointed Bob Kennedy as director of relationship development, the company announced last week. Kennedy joined the firm on August 3 from State Street Global Advisors (SSgA), where he served as head of intermediary marketing for five years.

Article Published on August 10, 2015

RBC Prunes Fees to Spur U.S. Retail Growth

The RBC program is “going much further than the typical expense cap,” says Neil Bathon, founder and partner at Fuse Research Network. He pointed to the period of time RBC has committed to continue waiving fees and the size of the cuts themselves.

Article Published on August 4, 2015

Large Subadvisory Mandates Don’t Always Lead to Large Profits

The popularity of a fund’s asset class and the strength of the subadvisor’s brand can play into what the managers are paid, says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network. Subadvisors with top performance and specialized expertise may also be able to command above-average fees. Sponsors with weak distribution may pay subadvisors more to make themselves more appealing partners to strongly performing subadvisors, says Fuse’s Campbell.

Article Published on July 29, 2015

First Eagle’s Big Challenge Post-PE Deal: Diversify Sales

“[First Eagle] is an unbelievable success story,” says Neil Bathon, founder and partner at Fuse Research Network. But “while their reputation is strong enough, it’s hit or miss on whether or not their products [will] perform well enough to keep that kind of growth going.”

Article Published on July 22, 2015

Ed Jones Expands In-House Fund Line as Assets Crack $15B - Ignites  

Taking control of funds within wrap programs is attractive to broker-dealers, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. If a subadvisor’s performance lags, the broker-dealer can boot the manager from the fund without losing assets in the model, he says.“If it’s somebody else’s mutual funds, they can come and go and you never really own the assets or control the assets, but this tightens things up dramatically,” Bathon says.

Article Published on July 9, 2015

Fuse Taps Cerulli Research Pro for Biz-Building Post

Fuse Research Network last week appointed Cindy Zarker director of relationship development. In her new role, Zarker is tasked with supporting and expanding client engagement and contributing to product development and the firm’s BenchMark research series. She reports to President Mike Evans, and works alongside co-director of relationship development Craig Kilgallen, according to Fuse founder Neil Bathon. The firm plans to hire another senior relationship manager within the next month, Bathon says.

Article Published on June 29, 2015

Sales Team 'Critical' in Product Development Process

“Having sales [heads] on board from the get-go can help gauge demand,” says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse Research Network. The sales team can offer a valuable voice beyond assessing existing opportunities for flows, and can help mold the product so that it has a good chance of selling in channels in which the firm already has a big sales footprint and plenty of field wholesalers, Newcomb says.

Article Published on June 25, 2015

Eaton Vance to Lose $4.8B Muni Bond Manager

“Your most important distribution partners need to be informed as early in the process as possible,” says Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. 

Article Published on June 18, 2015

BlackRock Cuts Fees as Equity Fund Remake Continues

Lower fees might not be able to help sales of funds with consistent bottom-quartile returns like International Opportunities or Equity Dividend, but they may be able to bring attention to a smaller fund like Focus Growth that has rebounded with strong relative performance, says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on June 4, 2015

Columbia Threadneedle, Eaton Vance Sell Themes, Not Funds

Data from Fuse Research Network show that the average fund company had 12.2 focus funds in 2014, and those products generated 60% of the gross sales at each shop.

Article Published on June 3, 2015

Pimco Divvies Up Internal Desk, Deepens Sales Training

More than half of fund firms polled last year in a Fuse Research Network study said they planned to increase internal head count over the next 12 months. More than any other sales group — externals, national accounts or hybrids — firms said they would be adding internals. 

Article Published on June 1, 2015

Firms Claw Back Wholesaler Commissions to Avoid Asset Churn

“Senior management and sales management does want to have some sort of control and ability to influence and drive who [wholesalers] are working with,” says Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. Ultimately asset managers are discouraging wholesalers from calling on advisors that employ tactical strategies, hopping between funds and providers, Evans says. Such capricious behavior has been fueled, in part, by the rep-as-portfolio manager platforms. “[The implementation of clawbacks] has accelerated recently because we’ve seen a pretty radical uptick in the velocity of assets in the last four or five years,” Evans says. “More firms are employing it to some extent in order to manage the turnover that they’re seeing with certain advisors and with certain platforms.” A one-year holding period is a “pretty typical” window for a clawback, Evans says. Fund firms generally need assets to stay put in their products for three years before breaking even — overcoming their distribution costs — so clawbacks aren’t a ticket to “pure profitability,” he says. “There’s a number of challenges associated with it that includes the ability to attract and account for advisor-level sales. With some systems that’s much harder than others,” Evans says.

Article Published on May 18, 2015

Concentrate on This: Risks and Rewards of Big Assets in Few Funds

“Firms work real hard to diversify their flows and their asset base, but sometimes it’s challenging to do so,” says Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. Fund companies can control for risk in several ways. One is to tinker with wholesalers’ compensation, encouraging them to selling across the entire fund line, rather than push just one or two powerhouse products, says Fuse’s Evans. “Firms at the beginning of the year oftentimes will put together a focus list and incentivize their [sales] groups to concentrate on those strategies in order to diversify the asset base and diversify the flows that they’re receiving,” Evans says.

Article Published on April 29, 2015

Gabelli CFO to Step Down as Firm Plans Split

“My gut tells me that valuation for the combined entity is somewhat depressed because of other things in the mix,” says Fuse founder and managing partner Neil Bathon. “But when it’s cleaned up and you are left with a pure investment firm, I suspect that portion will go up significantly.”

Article Published on April 20, 2015

Managers Parse B-D Partnership Programs, Pick Carefully   

Fund companies maintain a median of eight “focus,” or tier one broker-dealer relationships, 12 tier two and 15 tier three partners, according to a recent Fuse Research Network survey of 25 manufacturers. On average, 67% of shops’ assets sat with tier one distributors, 22% with tier two and 11% with partners they consider tier three.“ Firms are mostly going to be focused on where they’re spending the money to be on those platforms at those tier one firms and building relationships with tier two firms,” says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse.

Article Published on April 6, 2015

FUSE Hires MMI Data Chief in Business Buildout 

Rick Ledbury, former director of data services for the Money Management Institute, has joined Fuse Research Network as a director. The move signifies an expansion of the Needham, Mass.-based research and consulting firm’s analytics services and a deepening of its relationship with the managed account trade group. We are definitely hoping that this is an initial step of us providing a more complete range of services to their members,” says Fuse founder and managing partner Neil Bathon. At Fuse, Ledbury will work with clients to draw from data gathered through its Benchmark Research series to develop predictive sales models, says Bathon. Ledbury will also support Fuse’s research and product development, board services, and relationship management research and consulting services. Bathon cited the growth of advisory accounts broadly, and rep-as-portfolio-manager and rep-as-advisor programs in particular, as increasingly important to clients.

Article Published on March 30, 2015

Open Access, Big Assets Core to Key Account Partnerships 

When picking broker-dealers with which to forge partnerships, the two criteria that top key accounts leaders list are home office access and gross sales potential, according to a new Fuse Research Network survey. “[They] want to make sure they have the ability to and can get in contact with the decision-makers,” says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse. Gaining that initial access can be particularly difficult in the infancy of a relationship. Often fund firms lean on national accounts staff’s prior roles, whether at other asset managers or in the intermediary realm, says Fuse’s Newcomb. Fund firms list existing gatekeeper relationships as one of the most desired skills in a senior national accounts manager, he says.

Article Published on March 26, 2015

Vanguard Shakes Up Senior Leadership

“They’ve had to make the transition from [thinking] Vanguard could serve all of the needs of their clients to acknowledging advisors could provide valuable services as well,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. Still, the firm has likely not tapped its full potential in the intermediary market. “They have everything covered from a product perspective, and now they’ve put in place, at least scale-wise, one of the biggest wholesaling sales and support forces. You’ve got to think they’re doing it more efficiently or cost effectively than most of their counterparts,” Bathon of Fuse says. “Vanguard’s influence has caused changes through the investment management industry, as it relates to low cost and indexing, but we haven’t felt yet — but we will soon — their approach to intermediary sales,” he adds.

Article Published on March 11, 2015

Social Fund Inflows Could Make Big Shops See Green

“As the business grows, I think you’ll see more firms take a critical look at it, and I think you’re going to see more entrants,” says Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. Fuse expects that such products will gain an even greater foothold in the retail market in 2015. Mediocre performance and the lack of distribution resources at small shops that offer socially conscious funds may have hurt them in advisors’ eyes, says Fuse’s Evans. 

Article Published on March 5, 2015

RayJay Acquisition Could Boost Distribution for ETF Strategist

From Eagle Asset Management’s perspective, gaining access to GTAA capabilities through the acquisition could allow the firm to gain distribution faster than if they were to build out such strategies internally, says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research for FuseResearch Network. "By purchasing Cougar they get those established track records," he says. "They don’t have to wait three years [to get onto some platforms]. They don’t have to find the portfolio managers they want to build out the strategy. "The acquisition also seems likely to boost distribution prospects for Cougar strategies, he says. "From Cougar’s perspective, it helps to expand their distribution because they’ll be able to plug in with Eagle Asset Management and the wholesalers they have," Newcomb says. "It certainly gives them a leg up."

Article Published on March 4, 2015

Causeway, Lazard, PrimeCap, Putnam Set to Surge: Fuse

Causeway Capital, Lazard, PrimeCap Odyssey and Putnam Investments have hit their strides, and are poised to pull in more assets in 2015, according to recent Fuse Research Network predictions. But others — including RS Funds, Davis and Selected Funds and Calamos — each have a tough row to hoe in the short term, according to the Boston-area research and consulting shop’s 2015 prognostications. The up-and-coming firms all had strong net sales in 2014 powered by “consistently superior” performance over the one-, three- and five-year periods and product lines built to last, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse.

Article Published on February 24, 2015

Shops Slice, Dice Data to Zero In on Focus Advisors

While identifying “focus advisors” is a longstanding industry practice, firms have begun creating more sophisticated means of developing these lists, says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse. “Firms are starting to build in more criteria when actually segmenting the advisors,” he says. The more granular data helps shops better categorize advisors and determine the best ways to serve them. A Fuse survey of 30 fund firms conducted last year found that, on average, companies identify 235 focus advisors per wholesaler. Several factors go into defining the metrics by which firms determine who qualifies as a focus advisor, but purchases from a fund company rated highest. More than 80% of survey respondents listed advisor production with their firm as “very important,” while more than 70% gave the same rating to product usage and the advisor’s firm’s total assets under management. Fuse found that almost two thirds of firms expect their external wholesalers to hold at least 16 meetings a week with focus advisors, and 58% want their wholesalers to meet with each focus advisor quarterly, while 21% expect monthly meetings.

Article Published on February 16, 2015

MSIM Heaps on RetailSales Pros; Inks Merrill Deal

“Their product line is as strong as anyone’s in the market,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. “It’s in good shape, and they will be well served by pursuing third-party distribution,” he adds. In some ways, the push into retail marks a reversal for Morgan Stanley, which sold its legacy Van Kampen retail fund line to Invesco in 2010. But since then, MSIM, which has long enjoyed brand recognition within the institutional market, has innovated on the retail side, including adding super-low-cost IS shares, which have no service, subaccounting and 12b-1 distribution fees. The products, well suited for retirement plans and other large investors, are available on 23 MSIM funds, according to a company spokesman.Still, the retail business has struggled with outflows. MSIM’s open-end funds bled $13.4 billion from 2009 through 2014. Market appreciation during that period, however, helped pushed net assets up from $25.3 billion to $33.9 billion, according to Morningstar data. In 2014 alone, the fund family experienced $1.1 billion in outflows. The new hires’ impact will take at least 12 months to be felt, Fuse’s Bathon says. Experienced wholesalers only need a year to get up to speed, while less experienced hires could require closer to two years, he says.

Article Published on February 13, 2015

MSIM Adds Manpower to Take Aim at $500B AUM

“There used to be a notion that brokerage firms shouldn’t have proprietary products or weren’t very good at them,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. “That is just not true. A lot of these firms were not particularly well run. The reason that perception gained traction was largely due to how bad some managers were. ”Yet, MSIM is well situated to strengthen its brand before institutional clients and investment consultants as well as intermediaries in the retail market, Bathon says. “MSIM have more than enough quality products in large sales categories to support a robust sales effort,” Bathon says. “Their investment management appears to be strong enough.”

Article Published on February 13, 2015

Shops Read the Tea Leaves With Redemption Modeling

But the chief value of this modeling is to gain a less obstructed view of the future, and improve the planning process, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. For example, a better understanding of redemption patterns can prevent firms from selling liquid alts to an RIA who might churn out of them quickly. “Almost all the positive impact you can have on redemptions is done up front, in terms of which advisors you choose to work with and how well you position your product,” Bathon says. Better data analysis can also serve as a basis when measuring wholesalers, Bathon says, and determining their compensation. Soon it could get so detailed that firms select the top 250 advisors in each external wholesaler’s territory and inform the externals that they must spend 75% of their time with that group — because their pay depends on it. “The big challenge is for sales management to believe in and incorporate these new management techniques into their oversight of their wholesalers, because it’s really different and they’re so reluctant to change,” Bathon says. “But it can make a huge difference."

Article Published on February 9, 2015

RayJay Fesses Up To Fund Sales Overcharges; Plans Paybacks

Product manufacturers shouldn’t be hurt by situations in which intermediaries overcharge clients for their funds, says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network. “It’s almost 100% the responsibility of the distributor because they have all the interaction with the client,” he says. “And the information about the client, in most cases, isn’t passed along to the fund companies anymore. ”With omnibus accounting, Raymond James represents a single account to a fund company, and that fund company can’t see the underlying transactions or allocations made by individual advisors at the firm. And while most fund providers perform basic due diligence on the distributors with which they work, it’s not incumbent on managers to vet them to ensure such errors do not occur, Bathon says. Further, he adds, “it is unlikely that any distributor would allow an outside firm into their inner workings. ”Fund providers likely have little to worry about in terms of reputational repercussions. “I don’t think there’s much by way of blowback for asset management firms because this isn’t anything they can affect, because they don’t know what the status of the [underlying] accounts [is],” Bathon says.

Article Published on February 6, 2015

Slow Product Creation Hinders Firms’ Growth: Poll

Firms will take roughly 11 months to launch new products, Fuse Research has found. Still, larger firms may take longer than smaller ones because their size often makes them less agile. About six out of 10 respondents to the Ignites poll said slow product development is impeding growth at their firms. Twenty-eight percent said the impediment is significant, while a similar percentage, 32%, said it is moderate. Forty percent answered that slow product development is not impeding firm growth.

Article Published on February 4, 2015

Retail Sales Drivers for 2015

Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network, will moderate the panel. Broadcast live with slides and audio over the Internet, The Exchange presents free, in-depth discussions with industry experts in just 45 minutes. Register now, even if you know you will not be able to attend the live event. All of our Exchanges are recorded, and we will alert you as soon as the archive is available to be viewed at your convenience.

Article Published on February 2, 2015

Liquid Alts: Quick to Sell, Slow(er) to Build

Liquid alts require about 11.2 months, on average, to launch, but that time line can vary based on the method a manufacturer chooses, according to a Fuse Research Network survey of 25 asset managers conducted in 2014. “If you’re deciding to launch an alternative product, clearly you have to figure out, are you going to look at this as bringing it in from the outside or are you going to launch it organically?” says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse. “Firms that already have the in-house alternative talent clearly have a shorter time line than the overall average launch for alternative funds,” he says. Firms that choose to acquire or partner with external specialists through a lift-out or outright acquisition need to take time to find the right people, establish the right fee structures, and pick the right strategies for the ’40 Act wrapper, Newcomb says. Such steps can push the product development time line up to 16.5 months, according to Fuse. Hiring subadvisors shaves it down to about 11 months. Firms that plan to run funds internally can expect the process to take about 8.5 months, according to Fuse.

Article Published on January 22, 2015

AllianceBernstein Changes Name to Move On from Rocky Past

“[Ahead of tomorrow] is a nice tag line, but whether or not the marketplace sees this as a new brand will depend entirely on the experience clients have with the firm – in the form of investment performance, service, support [and] thought leadership,” Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network writes in an email response to questions. “Many firms claim to have a talented and collaborative staff that is client focused and works across a global organization with the hope delivering better results – but it is critically important to have the day-to-day business practices in place (hiring, compensation, training, etc.) that make this claim a reality and not just good copy. If the marketplace is able to see and feel these things from AB…then they will achieve a smashing success with this branding initiative.” And whereas investment performance has been better, AB still has room for improvement. "Relative performance results have definitely been improving, especially on the fixed income side of the business, but there are still a few problem spots among some of the larger equity funds," Bathon writes. 

Article Published on January 20, 2015

Surgical Budget Cuts, Fund Diversity Quell Redemption Pains

Fund shops last year raked in about $372 in gross sales for every $1 they lay down, according to Fuse Research Network data, but that hardly means all sales budgets are well spent. Sales force salary and benefits stand to always maintain the lion’s share of the sales budget, says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse. In last year’s study, Fuse found that, after revenue-sharing payments to distributors, more than 50%, on average, of shops’ sales budgets went toward salary and benefits. Overall firms may not set an expected gross sales figure for each dollar spent, but they likely rely on past years’ numbers to assess effectiveness and plan how to staff and deploy their teams, Newcomb says.“In some cases, certainly they’re going to look at gross sales per dollar spent on the field and hybrid wholesalers that they employ,” he says.

Article Published on January 15, 2015

Prudential Centralizes Institutional Business

Centralizing a “solutions” group is a natural move for Prudential, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at FUSE Research Network. “By doing so, Prudential elevates the perception of the group as having a distinct expertise and it reinforces the firm’s long-term commitment to this service offering,” he says. As far as business structure is concerned, it is also difficult to offer investors multi-asset portfolios if the investments are spread across different investment shops, adds Bathon.

Article Published on January 13, 2015

Morgan Creek Hires Distribution Vet for Wealth Push

Model-delivery format can be a cost-effective way for institutional managers to enter the SMA business, since it means not having to build out an extensive back office, says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse Research Network. But, "one of the challenges with model-only separate accounts is just the low fees that they might expect to get for a long-only equity strategy."

Article Published on January 12, 2015

Ameriprise Sews Threadneedle, Columbia Brands Together

Indeed, a global brand can be a differentiator for asset managers offering a wide set of products, says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network. But getting that more global brand to resonate with advisors requires significant and dedicated marketing and sales efforts along with strongly performing products, he notes.

Article Published on January 12, 2015

Shops Lengthen the Leash on Growing Hybrid Sales Teams

"[A hybrid team] can really help a firm when used correctly,” says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse Research Network. About 18% of firms plan to increase hybrid head count over the next 12 months, based on a Fuse study from mid-2014, while 3.7% expect to decrease the number of hybrids they deploy. The vast majority of firms, 78%, anticipate keeping levels steady. Legg, which is headquartered in Baltimore, has worked to elevate the role, not only giving hybrids their own territories and advisors, but paying them at the same level as external wholesalers. That’s unusual, because in 2014 median aggregate hybrid compensation was $159,000, compared to $350,000 for externals, according to a Fuse survey.

Article Published on January 9, 2015

DST Buys Kasina in Distribution Play

FRC founder Neil Bathon left FRC in 2006 and in 2008 founded Fuse Research Network, recruiting FRC leadership alums including president Michael Evans and later head of research Sam Campbell.

Article Published on January 7, 2015

Executives Who Got the Job Done in 2014

Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse, says Pimco has a strong enough reputation that the management shakeup should not hurt the fund permanently, pointing out that Gross’s performance in recent years left much to be desired.

Article Published on January 5, 2015

ut With the Old? Firms Balance Brand, Strategy Post-Acquisition

Fuse’s Bathon doesn’t expect AMG to change how it promotes its affiliates or allow the parent company to overshadow the well-established underlying boutiques.“You benefit from having a distinct, separate affiliate that has a particular area of expertise,” Bathon says. Touting each affiliate and relying on their unique talents is part of how AMG differentiates itself in the market. “I don’t think anyone will let that fade away. That’s not going to diminish in terms of an emphasis from a sales and marketing and positioning perspective going forward.”

Article Published on December 31, 2014

Subadvisors Offer Sales Support to Score Insurance Mandates

Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network, says the appetite for providing such “extras” is dwindling among asset managers. “What’s more important to the insurance company is the actual investment features of the products and how they’re being incorporated into their asset allocation models,” Campbell says. “It just has become a lot more about the investment strategy and more about the support of the asset allocation team and models than it is about direct wholesaling and marketing-type support.”

Article Published on December 23, 2014

Neuberger Puts Lehman 'Dark Days' in the Past

Having a high level of employee ownership allows a manager to "take a longer term view of their business and [be] less susceptible to market swings because they don’t overreact to short-term market fluctuations,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. “I don’t see them chasing fads on the product front; [and] I didn’t see them blowing out the sales force. They’ve been opening up channels step by step over the years.”

Article Published on December 19, 2014

Scottish Manager Baillie Gifford Preps U.S. Funds

“I don’t think they’ll have any problem being seen as an expert, a boutique or specialist,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network. “Between Harbor, Hancock and Vanguard, you have some really well known groups that will have created a nice runway of awareness for them.”

Article Published on December 17, 2014

Rep-as-PM Opportunity Outweighs Churn Concern

At the wirehouses, 59% of advisors report having no restrictions on manager or allocation decisions, suggesting full discretion. Another 40% said they have some discretion, but that their home office places some restrictions on their manager and allocation choices, according to a Fuse Research Network survey. Seventy-seven percent of independent broker-dealer advisors had could use full discretion programs and 19% had access to programs with some discretion. Fuse surveyed 740 advisors for the recent study. Rep-as-PM is attractive to advisors because it “certainly is more profitable,” says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse. Since they are not paying to access home-office models, advisors can retain a much a larger piece of their 1% fee, he says. In December 2009, fewer than 40% of clients were serviced on rep-as-PM platforms at the wirehouses and independent broker-dealers. By September 2014, both channels had more than 50% of clients invested through these programs. Assets under management in these programs have taken a similar trajectory. In December 2009, the platforms held less than 40% of advisors’ assets at the wirehouses and independent broker-dealers. That figure reached about 50% in both channels in September 2014, and Fuse expects it to climb to the upper end of the 50% range in both wires and independents by December 2015. “There’s no sign of these programs' slowing,” Newcomb says.

Article Published on December 16, 2014

MSWM Launches New Active Passive Models

Scoring a place in a home office model can provide lucrative flows to managers, but those products can also compete with certain types of third-party separately managed account (SMA) strategies, such as global tactical asset allocation (GTAA) or fund strategist SMAs, says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse Research Network. While landing a spot in a home office model can provide lucrative flows, for SMA managers, opportunities for placement in such models are selective, Fuse’s Newcomb says. Evaluating the opportunity means taking a deep dive into the specifics of a particular UMA program. That means evaluating factors such as the popularity of firm’s discretionary models, the average client account size, and where SMA strategies might make sense.

Article Published on December 11, 2014

Global Manager Shifts to Co-CEO Structure

Having the co-CEO position at RBC GAM reinforces how important BlueBay is to RBC GAM, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. With Khein continuing to head BlueBay, the boutique will have an extra voice in the strategic decisions of the firm. Because Khein is retaining his role with BlueBay, he’ll also be more involved with the day-to-day operations of the firm, creating more clear lines with responsibilities between he and Williams, says Bathon.

Article Published on December 10, 2014

Oppenheimer, Principal, MFS Chase Burgeoning Bank Channel

Though often overshadowed by the fast-growing registered investment advisor channel and others, banks accounted for 18% of gross sales in 2013 among asset managers with more than $50 billion, according to a Fuse Research Network study. The Fuse survey included 30 asset managers.

Article Published on December 9, 2014

TCW Tiptoes Past Rival Bond Shops’ Sales

“It really is the fact that they acquired one of the best bond managers in the country in MetWest that helped to quell the outflows during the hubbub,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. 

Article Published on December 4, 2014

Activist Investor Departs Legg, Joins BNY in Board Musical Chairs

But beyond the board’s work and the new strategic direction at the firm, the market has benefited the manager. “I would credit the market, the acquisition strategy, which has been executed well, and improvements to the sales and marketing functions [in Legg’s progress],” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on December 3, 2014

Net Sales: Much Discussed, Little Used in Wholesaler Comp

Often, though, it is a slice of the discretionary bonus and generally one of several components included in the calculation. It is usually excluded from the two major compensation buckets — commission and base salary, says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at FuseResearch Network. The Boston-based consulting firm found that median bonus pay accounted for only 8% of overall external wholesaler compensation in a recent midyear survey of 30 asset managers. Commission made up 66% and base salary covered the remaining 26%. More than half of the firms’ bonuses included territory net sales as a component, but elements used just as often included market share, territory gross sales, CRM usage, diversity of product sales, meetings with “focus advisors” and total meetings. At least 50% of the firms used seven different criteria to calculate the bonus.Accounting for all elements of compensation, Fuse also found that the median pay to externals was $350,000, hybrids earned $159,000 and internals received $92,000 annually.

Article Published on November 19, 2014

'Staggering' Task List Pushes Key Account Pay, Head Count Up

The ever-growing power of distributors’ home offices in driving fund sales has caused asset managers to add staff to their national accounts teams and fatten their paychecks....A separate Fuse Research Network survey shows that 40% of managers polled midyear plan to add key accounts staff within 12 months.

Article Published on November 14, 2014

Sales Forces Add Girth With Internals, RIA, IBD Specialists

Overall, 54% of fund companies polled plan to add internal wholesalers in the next 12 months, according to a Fuse Research Network study. About 40% also say they will increase their external and national accounts ranks, 12% will add DCIO staff, and about 25% expect to expand their product research support and internal sales desk management teams.Fuse conducted the survey of 30 asset managers in the middle of 2014.“The role of the internal is certainly evolving, and a lot of the firms that we talked to are putting more responsibility on their internals,” says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Researchat Fuse. This includes mining sales data and third-party software to identify new leads, as well as greater support for field wholesalers, he says.

Article Published on October 28, 2014

Fidelity Settles Succession Rumors, Taps Younger Johnson

Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network, called Johnson’s promotion the “next natural progression” for Fidelity. Keeping leadership of the tightly held company in the family is a tradition. The elder Johnson, who has been FMR CEO and chairman since 1977, took the baton from patriarch Edward Johnson II, who founded Fidelity Management & Research in 1946 and stayed until his retirement in 1976.

Article Published on October 14, 2014

Shops Chop Fixed-Income Fund Fees

“There’s a huge opportunity in that intermediate-term bond [category], which would include core and core-plus fixed-income funds,” says Mike Evans, president of Fuse, a research and consulting firm....Gross’s departure certainly changed the dynamics of the fixed-income business and forced asset managers to take a look at the money that will be moving through the sector over the next six to 12 months, says Fuse’s Evans. Now firms are assessing their fees, ensuring competitive pricing and positioning to take advantage of the opportunity, Evans says. Fixed income accounts for a huge, constantly shifting pool of money, but the scale of what is now swirling around has swelled into the tens of billions of dollars, he says. In September, Pimco Total Return experienced outflows of $23.5 billion.The recent shifts rest atop the preexisting condition of fee compression, which the fixed-income market experiences more acutely. “Generally speaking, fixed income is priced more competitively [than equities], and I think the fee sensitivity is slightly higher on the fixed-income side,” Evans says.

Article Published on October 10, 2014

In Play: A Peek at Pimco’s Subadvisory Business

Most fund sponsors were likely reviewing their subadvisory agreements with Pimco well before Gross quit, says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network.“A number of the subadvisory mandates were probably already on a watch list due to performance results and El-Erian’s departure,” says Campbell.But he doubts Pimco’s problems will impact the variable annuities the firm subadvises. “There [are] a lot of platforms that already have separate alternatives to Pimco-subadvised funds, and thus it wouldn’t necessarily require replacing Pimco on the actual fund,” Campbell says. “It would be more of a migration of assets to the alternative products.”

Article Published on October 6, 2014

Verdict Still Out on Values-Based Funds: Poll

Historically, values-based investing has been a more difficult sales proposition in the retail space than in the institutional markets, says Michael Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. “Retail investors are notorious performance chasers,” says Evans. Although investors may buy into a fund that lines up with their convictions, those beliefs tend to wane during periods of underperformance, he says.

Article Published on September 25, 2014

Special Ops Forces Square Off With Distributor Home Offices

About 37% of asset managers have specialized squads focused on providing product information and other data to distributors’ due diligence teams, according to a recent Fuse Research Network survey. Fuse surveyed executives at 30 asset managers.“They can be viewed as a complement to a national account manager, where they’re really responsible for building those platform relationships,” says Patrick Newcomb, director of BenchMark Research at Fuse.

Article Published on September 18, 2014

Emerging Markets Boutique Staffs Up for Sales Push - Ignites  

The Mirae funds’ cumulative assets are small, but they have a “pretty robust distribution staff to support that business,” says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network. “So it speaks to the commitment they are making to the U.S. business.”

Article Published on September 12, 2014

American Funds Nabs Two Key Sales Execs

Still, American Funds is an “unbelievable” distribution machine with a sales force that likely cranks out more in gross sales than any other asset manager in the industry, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network.The recent hires come as American Funds has been “refreshing their approach to distribution,” Bathon says. They also reflect a greater willingness to look outside the firm for talent, a trend that started with the hire of Matthew O’Connor, the firm’s head of North American distribution, he says.

Article Published on August 7, 2014

Mellon Taps Second Oppenheimer Distribution Exec

"Carving out those channels and assigning Joe to them indicates that they are keen to provide a much more concentrated, focused effort to generate sales in the intermediary channels," says Neil Bathon, managing partner, Fuse Research Network. "It’s a deeper commitment to building an intermediary presence for Dreyfus," he says. He also points to the hire in June 2013 of Andrew Provencher, an experienced distribution executive who reports to Mustin as head of retail sales, as a sign BNY Mellon Investment Management is dedicated to invest in its sales resources. "The only way to interpret this is it’s a following through of the commitment that started with [the appointment of] Andy [Provencher] and was certainly heightened with Kim and now extended with Joe, that they are no longer content to be a second tier distribution shop," he says. Despite losing the experience of Moran and Mustin, Oppenheimer would not necessarily have to bring in external, experienced executives to fill the void created in their absence, Bathon explains. "[Moran and Mustin] developed staff that were able to step up. It’s a big organization that can take a hit like that," he says.

Article Published on July 10, 2014

Most Fund Pros Pick Passive: Poll

And although Morningstar data shows that with total assets of $9.6 trillion invested in active products, compared to $3.5 trillion in passive funds, active managers still dominate the market, a survey of more than 700 advisors by Fuse Research bears out the growing presence of passive in investor portfolios. In 2011, advisors polled by Fuse had allocated 59% of
their clients’ investments to active products and 29% to passive ones. By 2014, that number had swung by 3 percentage points, with 58% allocated to active funds and 31% to passive products. By 2017, Fuse projects the proportions will be 53% and 33%, respectively.

Article Published on July 9, 2014

Nationwide ‘Diversifies’ Fund Line, Boasts Asset Boom

“There are more assets and more opportunities for activemanagers in the mid-cap value space,” says Craig Kilgallen, director of relationship development at Fuse Research Network. “It is a good place to introduce a fund.”

Article Published on July 8, 2014

Top Independent Brokerage Snaps Up Hatteras Funds

“It’s a nice deal for RCS to pick up Hatteras. Hatteras has a good reputation — very strong on the educational side, which everyone is desperate for as it relates to liquid alts,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. “It jump-starts RCS’s distribution, because they have sales and marketing national account functions already in place.” Bathon described the approach as a “shrewd” one for a firm that does not already have its own mutual fund line.

Article Published on July 7, 2014

Editor's View: What BlackRock's New Pay Formula Says About Wholesaler Models

Many industry executives feel salesforce compensation has failed to evolve and is now out of synch with marketplace realities. "Some aspect of net sales has been used by fund groups for at least the last 20 years so BlackRock's announcement might not be as radical as it appears," says Neil Bathon of FUSE Research. "Also gross sales remains a dominant component of wholesaler compensation models in retail/intermediary channels."

Article Published on July 7, 2014

Advisors Use Preferred Lists, Don't Admit It to Clients

“My sense is that the advisors are using the recommended lists the home office is putting together and overlaying their own due diligence on top,” says Craig Kilgallen, director of relationship development at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on June 11, 2014

Hartford CEO McGee Hands a Changed Company to Successor

Hartford’s leadership change will likely have little impact on the day-to-day operations at the company, as Swift has been with the firm for several years and is knowledgeable about the firm’s various lines of business, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on June 10, 2014

Direxion Seeks Mass Appeal With New Brand, Focus

But Direxion will have to do more than reboot its brand to overcome the market’s lingering concerns over its double- and triple-leveraged products, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on May 30, 2014

State Street expanding adviser-facing salesforce in mutual fund push 

“Advisers are moving in the direction of using a passive core and rounding it out with active,” said T. Neil Bathon, founder and partner at FUSE Research Network, an asset management consultancy that's done work for State Street. “Firms that can bring together a packaged solution where it's already combined into one – they have an advantage.”

Article Published on May 28, 2014

West Coast Multi-Boutique Adds New Affiliates

“I don’t think the ownership structure makes much difference,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network. But, taking a minority stake in a firm could also be appealing to boutique founders. “It’s hard for someone to give up control of their baby,” says Bathon.

Article Published on May 28, 2014

Multi-Affiliates Wise to Play Up Boutiques in Branding: Analysts

“I definitely like the multi-affiliate, multi-boutique [branding] model, and I think that the marketplace prefers firms that can be seen as experts in individual categories,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on May 14, 2014

Next Aberdeen U.S.Chief's Top Priority: Stop the Bleeding

Performance is important, but international managers need to invest in distribution infrastructure in order to compete effectively against incumbent managers in the United States, says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network, in an e-mail response to questions.

Article Published on May 12, 2014

Ex-GMO CEO Joins Global Manager as U.S. Inst’l Chief

Further growing its institutional business in North America is the next step for the company’s growth strategy, says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network.“Given that the intermediary channel is running pretty smoothly, it is natural [for Schroders] to turn their attention to beefing up the institutional business,” he says.

Article Published on May 8, 2014

AMG Continues Shopping Spree, Touts U.S. Sales Plans

Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network, agrees on AMG’s low retail distribution profile. But with the sales team AMG has put in place and the products it has to work with, the firm should have pretty high retail distribution expectations, Bathon says, noting AMG has plenty of room to grow.

Article Published on April 30, 2014

Columbia Shakes Up ETFs Three Years After Buy

“The next six months is the time to evaluate them, when they finally get some active sales and marketing support,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on April 16, 2014

BNY Mellon Taps Inst'l Vet to Lead U.S. Distribution

“There are only a handful of people in the industry who have Kim Mustin’s depth and breadth of experience, across institutional and intermediary channels,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network. “When you add in the fact that she’s worked with multi-affiliates before, it makes her an excellent choice for BNY Mellon.”

Article Published on April 16, 2014

AMG Deals Mark Rise of Multi-Affiliate Model

“[The multi-affiliate model] is the way to go,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner of FuseResearch Network. “[AMG is] buying firms to round out their diversity.” A diverse set of investment boutiques can give parent companies a competitive edge in the alternatives space, he adds.

Article Published on March 31, 2014

AMG Adds Two New Managers to Affiliate Set

“[The multi-affiliate model] is the way to go,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner of FuseResearch Network. “[AMG is] buying firms to round out their diversity.” A diverse set of investment boutiques can give parent companies a competitive edge in the alternatives space, he adds.

Article Published on March 28, 2014

AMG Taps Virtus Exec to Head U.S. Retail Sales

Between Managers Investment Group and Aston, Cerutti will have a strong group of asset managers, as strong as anyone in the industry, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on March 26, 2014

Delaware Hires Inst’l Client Head amid Equity Changes

“Delaware’s multi-boutique structure is a major contributor to the success of the firm across a broad range of investment strategies,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner of Fuse Research Network. “Recent hiring would appear to be necessary just to keep up with the increased demand for Delaware’s offerings in retail and institutional channels.”

Article Published on March 20, 2014

Firms Drove Up Marketing Spending in 2013

Companies pulled back on marketing expenditures in 2009 and 2010, but that has all changed, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on March 19, 2014

Legg to Put Affiliates in the Spotlight

“On the marketing front, they are exactly on the right track,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. “They are picking real-life issues that investors are dealing with as opposed to the insistence of a lot of firms to get buried in the asset allocation and the model portfolio theory statistics.”

Article Published on March 3, 2014

USAA Ups Distribution Deals, Joins Schwab Platform

“[USAA] has a strong enough product line that will displace some existing firms,” says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network. “People should watch out for them because they have a really strong product.”

Article Published on February 27, 2014

Pioneer Builds on Bond Expertise With Alts Launches

“This seems to be a natural first step for Pioneer” in the alts space, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research Network, referring to the new funds.

Article Published on February 19, 2014

CIMA, CFA Top Designations for Wholesalers: Poll

“The CIMA and CFA are very challenging designations to get,” says Craig Kilgallen, director of relationship development at Fuse Research Network. “And while the CFP is an excellent designation, it’s seen as a broader designation. CIMA and CFA have more of an investment focus, and given the role of the distribution team, it makes sense they’d rank higher.”

Article Published on February 19, 2014

NY Life's Growth Prompts Asset Mgmt Shake Up

The acquisition is a rare “win-win” for the firms, says Neil Bathon, managing partner at FUSE Research Network. NYLIM gains distribution capabilities overseas, and Dexia will be able to develop products for the U.S. market, he says. With NYLIM’s continued success, the market is ready for new products from the firm, says Bathon.

Article Published on February 12, 2014

Five Small Firms to Watch in 2014

Portfolio manager Bruce Berkowitz built up a presence in the media, “raising the profile and awareness for an organization that doesn’t have the resources of the top 10 investment management firms,” says Michael Evans, president of Fuse.

Article Published on February 10, 2014

Aston President Departs as AMG Takes Full Control

“Ken spent 20 years with the organization in all of its various forms — CT&T, ABN-Amro, Aston — and was a critical contributor to the firm’s success,” writes Neil Bathon, managing partner at Fuse Research, in an e-mail response.

Article Published on January 22, 2014

Nomura Kills Three Funds, Waits for Buyers on Two

Further, high yield could prove to be a desirable asset class in 2014, says Craig Kilgallen, director of relationship development at Fuse Research Network. The performance of Nomura’s High Yield Fund, at 11.81% in 2013, gives the fund some credence, he adds.

Article Published on January 17, 2014

GSAM Targets Advisor Push With Liquid Alts Hire

“The advisor knows that that these are more complicated and require a depth of understanding and appreciation of the marketplace that they don’t naturally assign to a wholesaler,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. “The sales force desperately needs to be reinforced with investment specialists.”

Article Published on January 9, 2014

Strong Equity Market Fuels Sales Hires

“Smaller firms are ramping up their sales teams,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. Larger firms with more than 30 wholesalers are making strategic hires and focusing on efficiency and productivity, he says.

Article Published on December 31, 2013

Internals See Pay Rise Along With Profile

However, there is still a wide disparity between the payouts for internals and externals. Based on data collected last year by Fuse Research Network, the median total compensation for internals was $85,000 while the median for externals reached $294,000.

Article Published on December 17, 2013

Nationwide Makes Retail Sales Push With Hires

Industry mutual fund sales are up 18% year-to-date through the end of September compared to the same period in 2012, according to Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on November 25, 2013

Lazard Lures Former Dreyfus Sales Exec for Key Position

“People know the name. They have a good impression [of the firm], but they don’t know their history,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on November 18, 2013

Pimco Nabs Exec to Prove Cult of Equity Is Not Dying

“I think most firms would be quite pleased with the results Pimco has produced in equities,” if not necessarily with the performance of the funds, says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, in an e-mail response to questions.

Article Published on November 1, 2013

Transamerica Kills Two International Funds

It may be wise for Transamerica to pare the number of its products, whether the low assets are due to performance, fees, distribution difficulties or a combination thereof, says Craig Kilgallen, director of relationship development at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on October 29, 2013

Fidelity Not Interested in iShares-Like ETF Model

“I do think it is all about keeping customers in-house. But the longer-term strategy may well be about building and delivering, total comprehensive and holistic solutions, and this is something Fidelity has been at for a while,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, in an e-mail response to questions.

Article Published on October 25, 2013

SSgA Making Sales Hires to Raise Retail Profile

“Everyone knows about their ETFs, but the other products haven’t been as noticeable in the market. They need to get the word out on those products,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on September 30, 2013

American Funds Plans Big Boost to Sales Force

Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research, says it is one of the biggest investments in field wholesaling over a relatively short period of time that he has seen. The firm has an enormous asset base that it is servicing and supporting, says Evans.

Article Published on September 24, 2013

John Hancock Renames Itself After Record Sales

“They drifted to being seen as a strong marketing and sales shop, but the quality of the investment management decisions may have drifted to the background a bit,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. “They are a high-quality investment manager first and foremost but also a strong distributor.”

Article Published on September 5, 2013

J.P. Morgan Scores Spot on 'Preferred' List at Ed Jones

Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, says it is critical to the success of fund firms on the brokerage’s platform to be on its preferred list.

Article Published on August 13, 2013

Advisors Bullish on U.S. Equities: Survey

Despite the increased attention to equities, there is not much room for domestic equities to grow because U.S. investors are already at or near the recommended allocations to the U.S. equity market, says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on July 12, 2013

Hancock Cuts Fees, Funds to Boost Brand

“Andy [Arnott] is going to transform the perception of John Hancock to that of, first, an investment manager, and second, a very strong sales and marketing organization,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on July 8, 2013      

BlackRock Targets 5% Market Share With Fund Cuts

“If you’re going to try to be innovative and come out with new and different things, you have to have the discipline to shut things down if they don’t work out,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on June 25, 2013

Advisors Reveal Their Favorite Wholesalers: Survey

Financial advisors are a hard-to-please bunch. But wholesalers at American Funds, BlackRock and Franklin Templeton have found ways to win their esteem, according to a recent Fuse Research Network survey.

Article Published on June 10, 2013

Ex-Janus CEO Black to Co-Manage Calamos Alt Fund

“It is a systemic change that people will look for these liquid alternative strategies to incorporate in their portfolios,” says Michael Evans, director of research at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on April 18, 2013

Eaton Vance Finally Fills Head of Marketing Post

“[The appointment] suggests to me that Eaton Vance wanted someone with a deep, practical and hands-on understanding of financial advisors across all channels so as to properly support the field sales effort — not that he does not also understand the home office side of the business,” Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, writes in an e-mail response to questions.

Article Published on April 17, 2013

Mirae Boosts Sales Arm at Pivotal Three-Year Stage

“Now that it is coming up on three years [since Mirae’s funds were launched], it is definitely the time to take advantage of the opportunity by adding distribution resources,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on April 15, 2013

Will ING Have a Bon Voya?

Neil Bathon, founder and partner at FUSE Research Network, told MFWire that he is optimistic about the Voya developments.

Article Published on April 11, 2013

Natixis Touts Big Bump in Interactions With Advisors

The company’s multi-boutique structure and market strategy have led it to remarkable growth, says Michael Evans, director of research at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on April 4, 2013

American Century Poaches Goldman Sales Pro

“His reputation is that [of] kind of a rising star,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. “He is part of that generation of future leaders that people are keeping an eye on.”

Article Published on March 28, 2013

FUSE Partners with U.K. Researcher

FUSE Research Network has entered into a partnership with the U.K.-based research firm - MackayWilliams. FUSE will serve as the exclusive distribution agent in the U.S. for a special 2012 year-end edition of Mackay Williams Fund Radar report, which analyzes European domiciled and cross-border funds and fund markets.

Article Published on March 27, 2013

U.S. Equities: A Sizable Opportunity for DCIO Managers

Two thirds of active U.S. equity fund assets, or $470 billion, is managed by DCIO managers, according to a recently released report by Fuse Research Network and BrightScope.

Article Published on March 25, 2013

BlackRock Job Cuts Praised for Raising Competition

“It seems that managers are finally realizing that the net effect of allowing poor-performing employees to stick around goes way beyond the shortfall in assets,” says Neil Bathon, founder at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on March 21, 2013

Putnam Woos Investors With Six New Funds

Market challenges and trends are expected to reinvigorate product development activity, especially in packaged products and asset classes such as fixed income, alternative and equity, according to Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on March 18, 2013

Five Fundster Bigwigs Talk About Advisors

Since these professionals have become essentially the gatekeepers to pretty much everybody, firms are devoting lots of resources to learn how FAs think, like buying research from the likes of FUSE and Penton on the subject.

Article Published on March 6, 2013

Scrutiny of Distribution Fees to Put Pressure on Sales Execs

The problem for managers is that the answer is not always clear-cut, even to the manager. Disparity in rates paid to different distributors may not be a problem, since the scale and quality of services each delivers to end clients may vary, based on their size, systems and other factors, says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research, a strategic consultancy in Boston.

Article Published on March 5, 2013

Dreyfus Top Sales Exec Departs As Firm ‘Dechannelizes’

“The distribution team Jon Baum put together certainly seemed to be working, as Dreyfus had begun to emerge from an extended period of relative obscurity having strung together a few years of positive net sales,“Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, writes in an e-mail response to questions.

Article Published on February 28, 2013

Want to Know More About How Advisors Think?

A partnership between FUSE Research Network and Penton’s WealthManagement.com has been forged to provide asset managers with these vital clues for competitiveness.

Article Published on February 27, 2013

Delaware Bulks Up Internal Sales Desk With Hiring Spree

Almost half of mutual fund firms plan to add muscle to their wholesaling arm this year, according to Fuse Research Network’s benchmark research on distribution. 

In fact, 48% of firms plan to add to their internal staff and 40% of firms plan to add to their field wholesale staff, according to Fuse. Fuse conducted an online survey of distribution staff at 25 firms and interviewed distribution heads at these companies last summer.

Article Published on February 21, 2013

Lawsuit Shines a Harsh Light on Subadvisory Fund Fees

Economies of scale could partly explain the gap between the fees. Vanguard's huge size allows it to negotiate "a far better price when hiring money managers than anyone else," said T. Neil Bathon of Fuse Research Network. Kasilag’s lawyers argue that the fee disparity reveals that Hartford’s subadvisory fee wasn’t a product of successful “arm’s-length bargaining” with Wellington as the Gartenberg standard requires. 

Article Published on February 21, 2013

Advisors’ Biggest Gripe: Untargeted Marketing

Among firms with more than $100 billion in assets under management, 65% have staff dedicated to CRM and database systems to support sales and marketing firms, according to a report produced by a partnership between SwanDog and Fuse Research Network in 2012.

Article Published on February 13, 2013

No Replacement for Departed Eaton Vance CMO

The broader reach of marketing departments within the fund industry is one of the 10 trends identified by Fuse Research Network for 2013.

Article Published on February 5, 2013

Pioneer Consolidates Funds to Trim Costs

“If the fund hasn’t reached critical scale … and didn’t perform up to expectations, it is sound business practice to eliminate [it],” says Michael Evans, director of Research at Fuse Research Network. “Having small funds can certainly impact the profitability of a firm.”

Article Published on January 28, 2013

Janus, BlackRock Roll Out Alts Funds

The growth of retail alternatives strategies is one of the main industry trends for 2013, according to Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on January 25, 2013

Hiring Picks Up as Key Accounts Role Evolves

In fact, in a survey of roughly two dozen fund firms conducted last fall, Fuse Research Network found that more than 40% plan to tack on more national accounts team members in the coming months, as reported.

Article Published on January 22, 2013

Firms to Add Sales Staff, Segment Clients and Focus on Alts

The projection is one of 10 trends identified by Fuse Research Network. With the flows being projected by the firm, 2013 stands to be the second consecutive year of solid industry net sales.

Article Published on January 17, 2013

FUSE Tries to Predict 2013

FUSE Research Network, though, gives it a go in predicting 10 trends to look for in the mutual fund industry in 2013.

Article Published on January 17, 2013

The Year of the Shrinking A-Share…and Other Predictions

In the coming year, fee pressure from distributors will make the calculus behind share class offerings even more complex, more shops will staff up their key accounts teams, and rep-as-portfolio manager programs will continue to swell. 

Those are among some of the forecasts from Fuse Research affecting key account executives. The firm has unveiled its list of 10 industry trends to watch in 2013. 

Article Published on January 15, 2013

Key to Growth in 2013: Efficient Distribution

“Firms are looking to make sure that they are running as efficiently as possible and streamlining their operations,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on December 27, 2012

Spate of Homegrown Execs Emerge in 2012

“There is good reason to be more sensitive to try to promote from within,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. “If you don’t show that you are going to, you are going to lose people.

Article Published on December 26, 2012

FUSE Finds Layoffs are Down

FUSE Research announced the publishing of its 2012 comprehensive product management and development benchmark of the asset management industry.

Article Published on December 20, 2012

Morgan Stanley Hits Fund Families With New Fee Hike

Companies can add new share classes to suit certain types of distributor needs, but that exercise is costly. Simply refusing to sign is another option, but asset managers risk being shut out of conferences or getting access to data. “The firms that have the clout may be able to do that,” says Neil Bathon, founder of strategic consultancy Fuse Research Network. But increased adoption of boutique managers for niche strategies and alternatives has eroded some of the power the larger managers once wielded, he says.

Article Published on December 18, 2012

Firms Should Keep an Eye on Aging Funds: Study

In the aggregate, mutual funds tend to bleed assets on or after their tenth anniversary, according to Fuse Research Network. Funds launched since 2000 reached their peak in terms of sales between their first and sixth years. After that, between years seven and nine, funds saw their flows taper off.

Article Published on December 7, 2012

Cost Control Contributes to Firms’ Q3 Profit Growth

“There are areas within fixed income that can attract higher fees than others, but in the aggregate equity products have higher revenue than fixed income is going to have,” says Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on December 4, 2012

Multi-Asset Funds Take More Teamwork: Managers

Asset managers must be careful not to reach far beyond their investment teams’ expertise, but those that can effectively create products that draw from multiple investment specialties stand to win out. “There is no question that [distributors’] interest in those types of products has grown,” says Mike Evans, president of consultancy Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on December 4, 2012

Industry On Pace for Near-Record Year of Growth

The bulk of flows go to a limited group of firms and products, Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, writes in an e-mail response to questions.

Article Published on November 26, 2012

Russell Goes All In-House for New Retail Fund

The fund is managed by the same four-person team that has controlled the proprietary strategy Russell has offered its institutional clients since 2010. That signifies the ever-blurring lines between institutional and retail markets, says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on November 20, 2012

TDFs Lead Growth in Target Portfolios

Growth in target-date funds is expected to increase 21% between the end of 2011 and 2016, a study conducted by BrightScope with Fuse Research Network, an asset management research and consulting firm, found. Market share in defined contribution plans should increase from 76% in 2011 to 80% in 2016.

Article Published on November 12, 2012

Firms Fine-Tune Marketing Strategies: Study

The attempt to optimize marketing resources is one of the trends identified in a recently released study based on a survey of 29 chief marketing officers or directors of marketing by SwanDog Marketing and Fuse Research Network between March and May. The study also discusses trends in staffing for marketing departments, investment allocation and the use of value-added programs, Web marketing and social media.

Article Published on November 6, 2012

Hybrid Wholesalers in Demand: Study

These professionals, who are called hybrids because they take on duties of both external and internal wholesalers, still make up only a small part of the industry’s sales force. In fact, only about 40% of asset managers employ hybrid wholesalers, according to a recent survey by Fuse Research Network. Fuse surveyed distribution staff at 25 firms across the industry and interviewed sales heads at these firms between June and September.

FUSE Talks Wholesaler Pay

Neil Bathon’s research firm latest report is connected to an issue all wholesalers should be interested in: how they get paid.

According to a FUSE Research Network report published this week, around 41 percent of surveyed firms have a net sales commission component as part of their compensation structure for wholesalers.

Article Published on November 2, 2012

With Redemptions Up, Metrics for Wholesaler Pay in Flux

In fact, 41% of firms surveyed by Fuse Research Network have incorporated net sales into the set of drivers of wholesaler compensation this year. In partnership with Lisa Cohen, CEO of Momentum Partners, Fuse conducted an online survey of distribution staff at 25 firms that represent different segments of the market and interviewed distribution heads at the companies. The surveys and interviews were conducted between June and September.

Article Published on October 26, 2012

New Oppenheimer Fund Exploits SteelPath Acquisition

The product type is appealing to advisors looking for an easy way to fill an alternatives sleeve in a portfolio. “If you’re putting alternatives into your portfolio, unless the portfolio is very big, it’s potentially hard to get the diversity across strategies. For a lot of folks it’s simply easier to add in a single product that covers multiple strategies,” says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on October 15, 2012

Alts Take Center Stage at Industry Forum

“Liquid alternatives is the best place for us to be as a firm,” Mark Casady, CEO of LPL said during an interview with Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, at the conference. “I think the space will only grow but it is important to understand it is a small space.”

Article Published on October 15, 2012

Legg Mason hires Korn/Ferry to run CEO search

Other candidates to run Legg Mason might be Sallie Krawcheck, the onetime head of Bank of America's Global Wealth and Investment Management unit, or Peter Cieszko, an executive at Kansas City asset manager American Century Investments who previously worked at Legg Mason, said Neil Bathon, managing partner of FUSE Research Network, a Boston-area fund consulting company.

Article Published on September 27, 2012

HighTower Revises Business Model Blueprint for Growth

As of May, HighTower has over $10 billion in discretionary AUM, which puts the firm in the top five RIA firms, according to Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research. HighTower works with investment research providers Envestnet and CAIS and custodians Schwab, Fidelity, J.P. Morgan and Pershing, according to Campbell. 

Article Published on September 25, 2012

Alternatives merge into retail mainstream

The benefits of M&A go far beyond plugging gaps in line-ups, however. “Some of these firms have the investment capabilities in-house, but one of the most important factors the professional buyers are looking at is the reputation and history of running these strategies,” says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on September 21, 2012

Is Fidelity Building an ETF Empire in the Rockies?

“There’s no doubt Fidelity is a major player in the sector fund business, and sector funds make perfect sense for ETFs,” says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network. He says he believes any efforts Fidelity makes in the sector ETF space would first be focused on its internal client base of RIAs that custody with the firm or possibly its Pyramis Global Advisors unit.

Article Published on September 21, 2012

Legg Looks for New CEO to Tackle Old Challenges

“My view is that Mark Fetting has done [as good a] job as anyone could have done,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. “He operated under incredibly difficult circumstances.”

Article Published on September 12, 2012

B-Ds Tell Managers to Foot the Due Diligence Bill

Although the practice may not be common now, asset managers should expect due diligence fees to become more standard in coming years, says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on August 28, 2012

Nuveen Poaches Forward’s Head of Distribution

“Jeff’s Cusack background, experience and connections make this a major win for Nuveen,” Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, writes in an e-mail response to questions.

Article Published on August 21, 2012

Columbia Reveals Big Plans for ETF Business

Track records are important to gaining interest and sales in active ETFs, much like mutual funds. Having the ability to talk about a portfolio manager’s expertise and history in managing a particular strategy in a mutual fund may give Columbia an advantage over other active ETFs that are using completely new strategies, says Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on August 20, 2012

In split from SocGen, TCW's fortunes seen set to rise 

Unlike Pimco, TCW has a "strong line" of equity funds as well as fixed income, said Neil Bathon, managing director at Fuse Research, a Boston-based fund marketing consultant.

Article Published on August 10, 2012

Baird: Bar for Active Managers Keeps Getting Higher 

The volatility that has characterized the markets since 2008 has meant greater demand for funds with more flexible mandates industry-wide, says Michael Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. “There is still demand for style-specific products, but that demand is waning,” he says. 

Article Published on August 7, 2012

OppenheimerFunds Buys SteelPath, Expands Alts Lineup

As more firms look to boost their alternative asset class or strategy product lines, acquisitions could be one way to bring in some incremental capabilities, says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network. “It’s a matter of firms looking at what their existing capabilities are and where and how they want to participate in this growth,” he says. “I do think you’ll see firms looking at acquisitions going forward.”

Article Published on July 18, 2012

Ignites - Mainstay Cracks Alts Market With Fund Adoption

Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network, says MainStay will need to bring the fees down on the Marketfield Fund in order to ensure good distribution. 

Article Published on July 2, 2012

Ignites - Eaton Vance Buys Big Stake in Global Equities Manager

Having those capabilities is key for asset managers who are positioning themselves on their scale and breadth of investment capabilities rather than any particular niche, says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network. 

Article Published on June 19, 2012

Ignites - MFS Revamps Brand to Convey Global Reach

“MFS is one of the oldest investment firms,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. “I would try to maintain a tighter link to the past.” 

Article Published on June 19, 2012

Deutsche Unites Asset Management, Private Client Groups

Closer communication between advisors and the asset management group’s investment teams will not necessarily translate into the adoption of the proprietary funds and other products Deutsche’s asset management unit develops, says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. “There has always been a reluctance of the private client group [of any distributor] to welcome the proprietary asset management unit,” he says.

Article Published on June 12, 2012

Managed Account Assets Surge 9.3% in Q1

Asset managers can work with distributors to thwart the “hypersensitivity to volatility and downside protection,” investors believe, says Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research. “Expertise that can help with portfolio construction” and developing and integrating “newer, sophisticated” products that protect against downside risk are ways product manufacturers can partner with firms, says Evans.

Distributors are hungry for materials that they can share with investors, strategies that protect against risk, and a strong sales story, says Evans.

Article Published on May 29, 2012

Ignites - DoubleLine Cracks Top Five for Q1 Flows

DoubleLine is also benefiting from having secured a relatively favorable outcome from the highly publicized legal feud between Gundlach and his old firm, says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse-Research Network.

Article Published on May 9, 2012

Hartford Splits with 'Dr. Bob'

“There is certainly a legitimate issue,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. While Froehlich, who often appears on television and in other media outlets, has a strong advisor following, “he’s an investment strategist, but all of the investments are being done at Wellington. How does he stay in synch with them?”

Article Published on April 24, 2012

Ignites - Rise of Indexing Helps Sink Expense Ratios

"Active managers have to have tangible differentiators that can be communicated to advisors and home offices to justify why funds are going to be so much more expensive than the norm,” says Mike Evans, president at Fuse Research Network.  

Article Published on April 24, 2012

Ignites - Firms Poised to Convert Loyalty Into Assets: Report

“When it comes to reallocating out of traditional asset classes like equities, being there in another capacity makes it easier for you to have that opening conversation, but that’s the extent of it. Then it’s up to you to articulate your benefit, and it becomes a strategy-by-strategy evaluation by an advisor,” says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network. 

Articled Published on April 16, 2012

Ignites - Neuberger Boosts Wirehouse, Regional B-D Sales Force

“Neuberger Berman is fighting above its weight class, given the competitors it has surpassed,” Bathon says. 

Article Published on April 11, 2012

UMA Assets Surge as Advisors Seek Flexibility

“There’s no question that key accounts is going to be hugely influential and important to understanding the dynamics of the different platforms, obtaining access to the different platforms and driving business from the top-down from those relationships,” says Michael Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. 

Article Published on April 10, 2012

Ignites - USAA Targets Third-Party Sales With New Hire

“ Most recently he served as an independent consultant and co-authored white papers with Money Management Institute and Fuse Research Network. ”

Article Published on April 10, 2012

Ignites - UBS Slaps Funds With Huge Fee Hikes

“The longevity of the assets is falling way, way off,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Model portfolios created by home offices determine the destination of a good chunk of assets. The turnover of these models can cause sudden and sizable redemption notices with damaging consequences for fund manufacturers, Bathon says. “The portfolio managers have to figure how to handle that redemption,” he says. “They have to sell off securities that they probably didn’t want to in order to meet the redemption request.”

Article Published on March 23, 2012

Ignites - Dreyfus Names Head of Broker-Dealer Distribution

“ Fuse Research Network estimates that the direct and indirect influence of research teams at broker-dealers accounts for 50% of industry sales. ”

Article Published on March 20, 2012

Ignites - What March Madness Says About the Modern Workplace

“ Many fund firms are moving toward more of a 24/7 work culture and away from a 9-to-5 one, says Mike Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. ”

Article Published on March 19, 2012

Pioneer "Farming and Hunting" at Home Offices 

Pioneer’s decision to invest in its growth was a necessary step for the firm, says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network. “They were operating on a shoestring relative to other firms of their size for the last couple of years,” says Bathon. 

Article Published on March 6, 2012

HighTower in High Growth Mode

“I don’t think HighTower is looking to impose themselves in terms of the end client,” says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network. “The end client is looking at the advisor as their relationship, not HighTower. I think that distinction eliminates some of the concerns around a really consistent delivery of results or experience from the home office level,” Campbell says. 

Article Published on March 13, 2012

Ignites - BlackRock Launches Massive Ad Campaign

“This helps investors and other kinds of industry folks look at them as a consolidated organization and what they can bring to bear as a single entity,” says Sam Campbell, director of research at Fuse Research Network. “Not too long ago you looked at them as BlackRock or iShares. This [effort] positions them as a single entity with a broad set of resources.”

Article Published on March 2, 2012

Ignites - New Ads Showcase Fidelity’s Investment Management

The reliance on global themes can effectively build more brand equity for Fidelity, consultants say. “The most effective marketing and thought leadership efforts oftentimes don’t have a direct tie-in,” says Mike Evans, president at Fuse Research Network. “They illustrate the kind of intellectual capital and the strengths inherent to the organization with a modest tie-in.”

Article Published on February 27, 2012

Top Sales Exec Departs Fidelity

"Trying to do more with less is a common theme these days," says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on February 8, 2012

Ignites - Allianz Names New Retail Distribution Head

“I definitely think that getting out from under the shadow of Pimco will serve them,” says Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network.

Article Published on February 3, 2012

Ignites - Firms Slow to Integrate Digital Marketing: Survey

SwanDog Marketing, for its part, found that asset managers spend a significant amount on marketing collateral. SwanDog surveyed asset managers for a benchmark study it conducted in partnership with FUSE Research Network last year.

Article Published on January 30, 2012

Pimco Total Return ETF may not track mutual fund

Many investors were burned by derivatives like credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities during the financial crisis, said Sam Campbell, director of research at mutual fund research and consulting shop Fuse Research Network.

Some fund management research teams "that use the Total Return Fund ... (say) they have no idea what they are holding because of its use of derivatives," said Sam Campbell, an analyst with FUSE Research Network.

Article Published on January 27, 2012

Ignites - Putnam Expands Advisor-Focused DC Sales Team

Neil Bathon, founder of Fuse Research Network, says Putnam took the lead in establishing itself as a leading player in transparency, and that this is one key

Article Published on January 26, 2012

Analysis: Resisting change, American Funds faces more losses

... performance began to suffer just as many advisers were evaluating their fund lineups as part of that change, said Neil Bathon, a partner in mutual fund research and consulting company FUSE Research Network LLC.

More fee-based advisers have also started using the investment models of the brokerage firms they work for. Those tend to include very precise strategies. "American Funds doesn't work well in those models" because its funds are large and diverse, Bathon said.

Article Published on January 19, 2012

New ETF players find ways to crack the US market

Several new entrants to the exchange traded fund space in 2011 were able to crack the concentrated market and find early sales successes.
“Unless someone brings in something that is unique from a product perspective or has a significant brand and distribution infrastructure already in place, it’s incredibly difficult to get to a critical scale because there are such strong and established players at the top,” says Mike Evans, president of FUSE Research Network.

Article Published on January 11, 2012

Model SMAs Cheapen Portfolios: Barclays Wealth

The Barclays Wealth approach to model portfolio SMAs may make sense at the margins – in the case where it’s a boutique firm using eclectic managers and harder-to-trade strategies – but doesn’t fit the broader retail high-net-worth market, says Neil Bathon, partner at FUSE Research Network. Many managers in recent years had resisted the shift to model portfolios, arguing that they added value through their trading skill, but they weren’t able to prove those claims to the brokerage sponsors – and ended up relenting, he says.

While it’s possible that high-end managers with specialized strategies may be able to prove their trading value, the case for streamlining delivery of SMAs through model portfolios and having the sponsors manage trading is compelling from a total cost and efficiency standpoint, Bathon says.

Barclays probably won’t gain notice from investors specifically because of its model portfolio stance, he adds. “I don’t think there is an edge there, because I don’t think the typical client looks past the advisor to understand the trading and operations in the background,” he says.

Article Published on January 11, 2012

FUSE's 12 Predictions for 2012

Mike Evans and his colleagues at FUSE Research Network list their predictions for 2012.

Article Published on January 10, 2012

Commonwealth Hunts for New Tactical Products

The trend toward tactical is also one that cuts across channels, as these types of products increasingly pop up on home-office platforms industry-wide, says Michael Evans, president of Fuse Research Network. “There is a real trend toward implementing [tactical strategies] on a broad level,” he says.

Article Published on January 10, 2012

Poll: 2012 Will Be Year of ETFs, Equities

FUSE Research Network founder Neil Bathon also says the coming year will bring the continued rise of passive investing. Institutional investors are already allocating about 30% of their assets to passive management, compared to 20% in the retail space, but institutional trends will carry over to the retail space, he says.

Article Published on December 30, 2011

Fidelity’s ETF push likely hinges on 401(k)s, brokerage

Fidelity’s internal distribution channels and access to ETF-hungry clients make its strategy and motivations different than any other large mutual fund manager looking at launching ETFs, says Michael Evans, president of FUSE Research Network.

The platform and ability to offer commission-free trading combined with its substantial index asset management resources “makes this kind of strategy sensible for Fidelity, where for most other active managers to compete with the likes of iShares and Vanguard and SSgA on the index side is next to impossible,” he says.

Article Published on December 12, 2011

Deutsche Bank Mulls Sale of U.S. Division

Changes at the firm over the last five years have helped unify and strengthen the DWS brand, says Neil Bathon, founder of FUSE Research Network. “They are inching closer and closer to syncing that brand up,” he says. As a result, the business would be more valuable to a potential buyer now, he says. Still, maintaining a strong U.S. retail presence is an important element to developing a truly global brand.

Article Published on November 23, 2011

Envestnet-Fund Architects Partnership Signals Larger Trend

Hiring a third-party model provider can also keep product providers out of trouble, he says. “If you use the home office model and you make a mistake, you probably made that mistake across all asset allocation models,” Campbell said. 

Article Published on November 17, 2011

Gatekeepers Offer Hints on How to Win Business

The increasing influence of the centralized research groups comes as advisors are faced with a surge of new products and increasingly complex client needs, said Neil Bathon, founder of FUSE Research Network. “The best use of the advisor is client acquisition, retention and service, not [asset] allocation,” said Bathon. Despite major upheaval among distributors in the wake of the financial crisis, about 50% of advisors across all channels surveyed by Fuse say they either “trust implicitly” or “think highly of” home office model portfolios.

Even if advisors are not using models built by their home office research team, those models — and others that advisors may find elsewhere — heavily influence the way that they construct their own clients’ portfolios, said Bathon. By 2015, Fuse projects that up to 80% of all fund sales will come through a pre-packaged model, whether directly or indirectly, he said.

Article Published on November 8, 2011

FRC Files for Bankruptcy, Sells Pieces to Strategic Insight

FRC, which was founded in 1987, has undergone several transitions, with management changes coming rapidly in recent years. In 1996, FRC founder Neil Bathon sold the firm to Boston Institutional Group, which in 2001 was acquired by Bisys. Bathon left FRC in 2006. In 2007, Citigroup Inc. bought Bisys. By 2008, Citigroup, facing its own financial turmoil, began cutting staff and selling subsidiaries.

In August 2008, FRC president Michael Evans left FRC to join Bathon in a new venture, FUSE Research Network. The following spring, FRC director of research Sam Campbell joined them.

Article Published on October 4, 2011

T. Rowe, TIAA-CREF, MFS & John Hancock Take Top Honors in NOVA Award Competition

Eight industry executives served as independent judges this year, generously giving of their time to very carefully assess the entries. They are: Neil Bathon, partner and founder of FUSE Research

Article published on October 3, 2011

American Funds Preps Its First Funds of Funds

“The recommendation I would make to my clients is that they should not be starting such funds now because the growth prospects are probably fairly limited. But for American Funds it could work, because its reputation is stellar and it has a strong following.” said Neil Bathon, partner at FUSE Research Network.

Putnam’s A/R Marketing Campaign Draws Criticism

Not every industry observer felt the specific labeling of the funds was an unwise move. Neil Bathon, partner at FUSE Research Network, is one consultant who favors Putnam’s approach. “I like the fact that they stuck their stake in the ground and set clear performance goals, regardless of whether they actually reached them. Too many fund managers use nebulous names to protect themselves from a little criticism

Wells Fargo Taps New Distribution Head

Article Published on September 29, 2011

Model-Only SMA Focus Steers Schroders

Schroders has company – and is bound to have more – among institutional market-focused asset managers tapping the model portfolio route to break into the SMA world, says Neil Bathon, partner at Fuse Research Network, a strategic consultancy.

“There’s a bit of an upswing – a willingness from asset managers that have focused on the institutional market,” Bathon says. “There’s an uptick in interest in this as their way for accessing retail.”

The impetus is both managers’ desire to avoid the onerous back office infrastructure required to run traditional SMAs, as well as the strong push by sponsors to grow their model strategy menus and expand that side of their businesses, he adds.

“Merrill and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney are being particularly aggressive on pushing this approach,” Bathon says.

Article Published on September 28, 2011

Putnam Scores Big Wins in Retirement Market

Article Published on September 14, 2011

S&P Takes Swipe at Active Managers

Article Published on August 26, 2011

Shifting Distribution Erodes Gatekeeper Power

Article Published on August 24, 2011

Eaton Vance Readies Volatility-Fighting Funds

Article Published on August 23, 2011

Alt Funds Face Make-or-Break Moment

Article Published on August 11, 2011

Firms Look to Ease ETF Launch Path

Article Published on July 25, 2011

How Are ETFs Changing Actively Managed Funds?

Article Published on July 20, 2011

Pace of New Fund Launches Gathers Steam in Q2

Article Published on July 11, 2011

Credit Suisse Exiting Equity Fund Biz

Article Published on July 6, 2011

Poll: Wirehouses, RIAs Will Generate Most Flows

Article Published on July 6, 2011

Goldman Guns for Retail Assets With Fee Cuts

Article Published on June 24, 2011

AMG Taps BlackRock Alum to Lead Global Distribution

Article Published on June 22, 2011

AllianceBernstein Down $4B in Subadvisor Work Since 2010

Article Published on June 17, 2011

Advisors: Jury’s Out on Morningstar’s New Ratings

Article Published on June 13, 2011

DWS Makes Play for Direct Shareholders

Article Published on June 8, 2011

Russell, Wells Woo Advisors With Biz-Building, Allocation Campaigns

Article Published on May 24, 2011

BlackRock Winnows 14 Funds From Lineup

Article Published on May 18, 2011

Columbia to Run Grail ETFs, Dump Subadvisors

Article Published on April 18, 2011

Huntington ETF Could Be Bellwether for Fund Conversion

Article Published on April 14, 2011

SSgA Preps Active ETFs

Article Published on April 5, 2011

Columbia Adds Funds, Launches Absolute-Return Campaign

Article Published on April 5, 2011

BlackRock starts to flex retail muscles

Article Published on March 27, 2011

Putnam Recycles Funds for New Retirement Income Suite

Article Published on March 22, 2011

T. Rowe Joins Emerging-Market Currency Rush

Article Published on March 18, 2011

Russell Grabs AllianceBernstein Vet to Grow DC Business

Article Published on March 10, 2011

Schwab Launches ETF Short List for Retail Investors

Article Published on March 10, 2011

New Hires Give Shape to Pimco’s Equity Strategy

Article Published on March 8, 2011

Putnam Shakes Up Fixed-Income Leadership

Article Published on March 1, 2011

Putnam Preps Absolute Return for VA Push

Article Published on February 23, 2011

BlackRock Trims Lineup, Axes Muni Funds

Article Published on February 23, 2011

Schwab changes fee structure on fund platform

Article Published on February 20, 2011

Facing Stigma, 130/30 Fund Drops Name, but Not Strategy

Article Published on February 4, 2011

Janus Preps New Guaranteed Fund

Article Published on February 1, 2011

Alger Axes Money Fund, Launches Emerging-Markets Fund

Article Published on January 24, 2011

American Funds is top fund family for Indie B-Ds

Article Published on January 23, 2011

Top Execs See Stronger Sales, New Alt Products in '11

Article Published on January 19, 2011

Two Indian Firms Set Sights on U.S. Fund Business

Article Published on January 10, 2011

Grail Goes on the Block: Sale or Liquidation Imminent

Article Published on January 7, 2011

ETFs, Equities Loom Large in 2011 Predictions

Article Published on January 6, 2011

DWS Shakes Up Executive Ranks

Article Published on December 30, 2010

Legg Mason Sheds Affiliate Through Buyout

Article Published on December 15, 2010

Barclays Rates SMAs for 'Personality' Traits

Article Published on December 13, 2010

Goldman Sach Readies 'Next-Eleven' Fund for 2011

Article Published on December 10, 2010

AXA Rosenberg Names New CEO, CIO in Reorg

Article Published on December 2, 2010

Research-Heavy Advisors Win Ultra Wealthy Biz

Article Published on November 29, 2010

As Pimco Evolves, It Loosens Ties Allianz Global

Article Published on November 24, 2010

AXA Rosenberg Loses CIO in Latest Blow

Article Published on November 22, 2010

Top 10 SMA Sponsors Pumps up Model Portfolios

Article Published on November 10, 2010

Long-Short Funds Dominate New Launches

Article Published on October 19, 2010

BofA Merrill Restructures Small Plan Business

Article Published on October 18, 2010

Eaton Vance Taps Richard Bernstein for Go-Anywhere Fund

Article Published on October 14, 2010

SMA Due Diligence Unit Zooms In on Manager Ops

Article Published on October 15, 2010

Putnam Preps New Fee Disclosure Initiative

Article Published on October 13, 2010

SMA Managers Win New Assets Through UMAs

Article Published on September 22, 2010

Changing Expectations Push Advisor Portfolio Changes

Article Published on August 31, 2010

Is Commission Based Business on the Wane?

Article Published on August 30, 2010

Brokerage Moves Whole SMA Book to UMAs

Article Published on August 5, 2010

Pimco Builds Equity Bench, Plans to Hire ‘Dozens’

Article Published on July 26, 2010

JPMorgan Names New US Institutional Leader

Article Published on July 12, 2010

State Street Responds to Securities-Lending Exodus

Article Published on July 8, 2010

Poll: Independent Channels Will Be Top Revenue Generators

Article Published on June 30, 2010

AllianceBernstein Preps Fee-Free Funds for Wrap Channel

Article Published on June 24, 2010

Poll: Downside Protection Is FAs' Top Concern

Article Published on June 9, 2010

Small Firm Lures Investors With Novel Promotion

Article Published on June 9, 2010

Bond Funds Headed for Bust: Fixed Income Strategists

Article Published on June 8, 2010

FUSE uses SySys Corporation and FundSysTM to create custom research tool

Article Published on May 25, 2010

Money Management Executive Announces 2010 Fund Operations Award Winners

Article Published on May 20, 2010

Putnam to put plan sponsor fees online

Article Published on May 18, 2010

Fund firms try to coax still-skittish clients to put cash to work

Article Published on May 16, 2010 

Vanguard Cuts Escalate Price War on Brokerage Front 

Article Published on May 5, 2010

SwanDog Looks to End ConFUSEion Over Asset Management Marketing 

Article published on April 30, 2010

Fund Families Need Better Pruning Process: Study

Article published on April 23, 2010

Poll: Mixed Predictions for Pimco's Equity Play  

Article published on April 21, 2010

Firms Linking Wholesaler Pay to Company Objectives  

Article published on April 14, 2010

More SMAs of ETFs Hit Advisory Market

Article published on April 1, 2010

MFS Taps Market Trends With Two New Funds  

Article published on March 16, 2010

Poll: Most Firms Have Rebounded From Market Low 

Article published on March 10, 2010

FundFire - What's a Priority for a Struggling Manager? 

Article published on February 22, 2010

Legg Nears Finish Line on Sales Overhaul 

Article published on February 22, 2010

T. Rowe Latest to Launch Infrastructure Fund 

Article published on February 12, 2010

Advisors, Mutual Funds Tops in Investor Trust: Survey

Article published on February 9, 2010

JPMorgan Creates New DC Investment Unit

Article published on February 8, 2010

ING Boosts Efforts to Win Small Plan Dollars

Article published on February 3, 2010

iShares Deal Catapults Fidelity onto ETF Stage 

Article published on February 3, 2010

Putnam’s New Tool Gives Fresh View on Retirement 

Article published on January 27, 2010

Vanguard Tops Fidelity in Investor Loyalty: Study

Article published on January 21, 2010

Fidelity Turns Ad Campaign to YouTube Masses

Article published on January 13, 2010

Changing Fortunes for Bond Funds, Alts 

Article published on January 8, 2010

Poll: Industry Skeptical About Green Shoots

Article published on January 7, 2010

2009 Worst Year for Fund Launches Since 1990 

Article published on December 29, 2009

Equity Funds Predicted to Draw Flows in 2010 

Article published on December 23, 2009

YourQ&A: What’s the Top Credential for a DCIO Sales Pro? 

Article published on December 16, 2009

On a quest for security

Article published on December 13, 2009

23. Neil Bathon 

Article published on November 24, 2009

Big Firms Planning to Add Staff in 2010: Survey 

Article published on November 18, 2009

Asset Managers are back in Hiring Mode

Article published on November 18, 2009

Critic: Why Doesn't Vanguard Close Index Funds 

Article published on November 6, 2009

FUSE gains Momentum 

Article published on November 6, 2009

Your Q&A: Should Funds Prep for DC Plan Investment Regs?

Article Published November 3, 2009

Kinetics to Launch New Absolute-Return Fund

Article Published October 27, 2009

Fund inflows are two-edged sword

Article published on October 18, 2009

With Money Fund Waivers, Schwab Fee Revenues Drop 24%

Article Published October 16, 2009

Poll: Fund Industry Doubtful of Facebook's Benefits

Article Published October 14, 2009

Industry Pruning Giving Way to New Fund Launches

Article Published October 2, 2009

When it Comes to Branding, Don't Get Fooled Again

Article Published October 2, 2009

Legg Mason mulls active ETFs 

Article published on October 1, 2009

Asset Managers Start to Gear Up Product Development 

Article published on September 29, 2009

Fundsters Head Back to the Drawing Board 

Article published on September 29, 2009

Fixed-Income, ETFs Fuel Fastest-Growing Firms 

Article published on September 17, 2009

PIMCO and ProFunds Top FUSE's List of the Fastest Growing Fund Firms 

Article published on September 16, 2009

Alps Advisors Angling for Growth by Adoption 

Article published on September 9, 2009

Your Q&A: Funds Most Susceptible to Fee Hikes 

Article published on September 2, 2009

SunAmerica Pruning Fund Lineup 

Article published on August 28, 2009

Your Q&A: Will Pace of Fund Pruning Continue? 

Article published on August 25, 2009

Cuts Keeping Internal Wholesalers Chained to Desks 

Article published on August 19, 2009

Fund Ownership Trend Portends Tougher Customers 

Article published on July 29, 2009

Your Q&A: Can Funds Counterbalance Web Criticism

Article published on July 20, 2009

Overhauls Position Janus and Putnam for Sales

Article published on July 16, 2009

In Quest for Growth, MainStay Scoops Up Four Funds

Article published on July 14, 2009

Managers Must Prepare for Worse: Report

Article published on July 13, 2009

Flagging Faith in Advisors Offer Opportunity for Funds

Article published on July 8, 2009

Halderman retiring as chairman of Putnam

Article published on July 1, 2009

High-End Bank Moves $6B to Unified Accounts

Article published on June 9, 2009

Is Rally Giving Some Funds a Stay of Execution

Article published on May 28, 2009

Retail Money Fund Assets Move, Jump Shop

Article published on May 20, 2009

Your Q&A: How Costs Cut Affect Fund Research

Article published on May 19, 2009

CrucialClips FUNDfire - interview with Neil Bathon

Clients Value Wirehouse Approach
SMA Managers Cut Marketing
Managers Unprepared for Unified Acct

Ignites The Exchange: The Challenges of Product Rationalization

Schwab’s Fee Cuts Challenge Vanguard, Fidelity

Article published on May 6, 2009

FUSE Research Names Biz Development Head

Article published on April 20, 2009

FUSE Flips the Switch on its New Site

Article published on April 21, 2009

Active Portfolio Managers Suddenly High on Equities

Article published on April 6, 2009

A Variable Annuity Vet Joins Bathon

Article published on April 2, 2009

Morningstar Will Publish Monthly Fund Sales Data

Article published on March 26, 2009

In Sign of Times, ICI Steps Up Frequency of Data

Article published on January 29, 2009  

After Dismal '08, Net Inflows Predicted for '09

Article published on January 26, 2009

Raymond James Launches New Unified Accts

Article published on January 16, 2009 

Investors shun advisers for retirement planning

Article published on January 11, 2009  

Money Funds Buoy Goldman’s Asset Management Biz

Article published on December 17, 2008  

ING Builds Sales Team for Elite Advisors

Article published on November 24, 2008 

How the Rise of Mega-Banks Will Change Distribution

Article published on November 14, 2008 http://www.ignites.com/articles/20081114/rise_mega_banks_will_change_distribution

Hartford Announces Reorg, Appoints Retirement Head

Article published on November 7, 2008  

Subprime Winners: Firms With Greatest Asset Gains

Article published on October 31, 2008  

SMA Industry Looks to Reaffirm Core Beliefs

Article published on October 23, 2008  

Culture Clashes Could Cost Firms Millions

Article published on Oct 6, 2008 

Money Funds Buoy Goldman's Asset Management Biz

Article published on December 17, 2008  

How the Rise of Mega-Banks Will Change Distribution

Article published on November 14, 2008  

Hartford Announces Reorg, Appoints Retirement Head

Article published on November 7, 2008  

Subprime Winners: Firms With Greatest Asset Gains

Article published on October 31, 2008  

FRC founder launches financial consulting firm

New company poses competition to the research firm Article published on October 12, 2008  

FRC Alums Prep Retirement Income Study

Article published on October 08, 2008

FRC founder lights FUSE

Article published on October 02, 2008  

Putnam, State Street feel heat on money markets

Article published on September 19, 2008  

Brand, Benchmarks and B-Ds, Better Distributions in Three Easy Steps

Article published on September 03, 2008