It must have looked a little like a peace negotiation at the United Nations. Asset managers and broker/dealers sat across from one another with executives from the consulting firm kasina
acting as the impartial go-betweens. The subject: how to standardize online content from asset managers to broker/dealers.
"Our workshop was an initial step forward. Nothing like this has ever happened in the industry before," contended Derek Evans, senior consultant at kasina, in a discussion with the MutualFundWire.com. "The session was spent brainstorming, and we made progress. But a standardized system will not be developed overnight."
"We sent the participants back to their firms with some homework. For the asset management firms, the e-commerce people have to sit down with the distribution departments. Together, they need to decide on what a good format for them would be."
"On the broker/dealer side, the e-commerce officials need to have a discussion with the marketing groups. They have to come to an understanding of what form they would like to receive the content in," the consultant reported.
One important factor that kasina sees in the road toward customization is the involvement of one or all of the industry's organizations. The consulting firm will be seeking the support of the NASD, ICI, or NICSA for support.
"Standardization is a realistic goal. It is also something that needs to be done," Evans stated. "As it stands now, if there isn't standardization, mutual fund companies will continue to be burdened by customized solutions and escalating costs."
He also added that savings from standardization could be passed on to the individual investor.
What's ahead for the asset manager/broker summit? kasina plans another workshop, though no specific date has been set. In that meeting, participants will make concrete suggestions as to how customization should be structured.
Related Links: How Does This Web Thing Work, Anyway?, 3/13/02 New Initiatives at kasina, 1/17/02 Large Firms Build Web Leads, 11/8/01
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