A Manager’s Guide to Breaking into Sponsor Platforms

“Uncovering Managers in Today’s Crowded Market: Accessing the Platform” was one of the sessions from the MMI 2011 Fall Solutions Conference.  This post is a summary of that session.


  • Thomas Latta – Global Head of Traditional Due Diligence, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, leading the traditional asset class due diligence teams (35-40 people), both domestic and international, also serves the entire organization including US Trust, his team provides advice and guidance around the implementation of managers. This doesn’t include portfolio construction.
  • Barnaby Grist – Head of Wealth Management at Cetera Financial Group. Formed 18 months ago after three broker dealers from ING merged. Responsible for support of all advisor platform needs. Formerly with Charles Schwab.
  • Greg Nordmeyer – VP and General Manager, Managed Accounts, Ameriprise Financial. $100 bil in AUM in managed accounts. Has P&L responsibility for product management, product development and research teams.

How do you formalize your expectations with managers?

In order to set expectations and improve communications, Ameriprise created a guide for managers coming into their firm, Nordmeyer explained. However, since every relationship is different, each manager can’t be handled in exactly the same way. They are all unique relationship, from large, established asset managers down to very small boutique firms.

The manager’s guide does help explain how to work with Ameriprise’s platform and includes general information about operations, sales and marketing, points of contacts, as well as answers to specific questions such as “how do the quarterly fact sheets work?”. They update it and distribute it annually, Nordmeyer said.

Latta added that Merrill Lynch has wealth management specialists in the field and their job is to identify needs for particular resources and then communicate them back to the Due Diligence Team.

Continue reading

MMI 2011 Fall Solutions Conference Summary – Now Available!

The Money Management Institute held their 2011 fall conference at the Crowne Plaza Times Square in Manhattan in October and their TechOps conference at the NY Athletic Club last month.  The sessions were quite informative and provided a timely window into the latest issues facing our industry.

Click here (WM Today – Dec 2011) to download the December 2011 edition of the WM Today Newsletter with coverage of the MMI 2011 Fall Conference.

The  session topics included:

  • Ideas That Can Change the Advisory Business
  • Rep as PM vs Rep as Advisor
  • Macro Trends in Outsourcing

Some of the well-known industry speakers were:

  • Roger Paradiso, Chief Investment Officer, Private Portfolio Group, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
  • Mark Tibergien, Chief Executive Officer of Pershing Advisor Solutions
  • Cheryl Nash, President, Investment Services, Fiserv

Click here (WM Today – Dec 2011) to download the December 2011 edition of the WM Today Newsletter with coverage of the MMI 2011 Fall Conference.

Ten Ideas for Advisory Business Success from Mark Tibergien – Part 1

Mark Tibergien told everyone to step back and think about the advisors that they’re servicing and ask “what are ten things that will truly change the way we think about our business?”


This post is a summary of a session from the MMI 2011 Fall Solutions Conference that was held in NYC in September.  It is part 1 of a 2 part series.  You can read Part 2 by clicking here.

The speaker for this session was Mark Tibergien, Chief Executive Officer of Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company.

1. Managing Growth

What is the rate of growth that we’re seeing in the advisory industry today, Mark asked?  After 2008, the rate of organic asset growth was reduced for most advisory firms, he noted, so they have to attract new clients in order to grow.  Attracting new clients creates new layers of complexity that make it difficult to manage growth.

Managing growth is not only about growth of assets but also about growth of the firm itself.  Growth creates opportunities to develop staff, to create succession plans and to generate profits.  But it also places strains on advisory firms in the area of span of control, as well as:

  • Dilutes the firm’s sense of purpose
  • Impacts the quality and consistency of service
  • Reduces the efficiency of resources

What is the optimal number of client relationships that the average advisor can manage, Mark inquired? Depends on the nature of the model. Pure money managers can handle more while a family office might be lower.

Continue reading

Operational Hurdles for Advisory Solutions – Part 1

How does the regulatory environment look from a technology and operations perspective?  Recently, there was a surprise SEC ruling on uniform fiduciary standards that’s caused a lot of concern on the broker-dealer side about what it means for their reps to be fiduciaries. Also, RIAs will have some of the same requirements for data retention and collection as broker-dealers. What do regulatory standards mean for us as an industry? 

This post is a summary of a session from the MMI 2011 Fall Solutions Conference that was held in NYC.  It is part 1 of a 2 part series.

Heeren Pathak – CTO, Vestmark, Inc. Responsible for continued development and direction for the wealth management platform.

John Ashefski – Senior VP & Managing Director, Investment Management Services, SEI Investments. John is responsible for SEI global outsourcing services.
Cheryl Nash – President, Investment Services, Fiserv. Cheryl is responsible for driving strategic vision and direction for Fiserv’s managed accounts platform solution.
Chandresh Iyer – Managing Director, Head of Global Custody & Investment, Citi Global Transaction Services. Chandresh is responsible for P&L, including product strategy, business management and client franchise development across investor client segments including fund managers, hedge funds, banks, insurance, wealth managers.
Roger Paradiso – President and Chief Investment Officer, Private Portfolio Group, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Roger was the originator of the unified managed account and is responsible for the UMA platform at MSSB, driving technology direction, product development and investment policy.

What can firms do now to prepare for upcoming SEC regulation changes, even though theyhaven’t been finalized?

Cheryl was at the Tiburon conference last week and there was lots of discussion around the SEC ruling.  The consensus was that the Uniform Fiduciary Standards won’t be implemented until after the election.  From Fiserv’s perspective, a lot has to do with transparency, understanding what’s in your investment models and how visible it is to the end investor.

Fiserv has invested a lot to ensure transparency in their solutions, Cheryl noted. Starting with important front office functions such as planning and investment policy statements and making sure they translate through to trading and reporting to support execution of an investor’s household plan.

Continue reading