Wanted: Sales people with the technical savvy of Q and the versatility of James Bond.
In this brutally competitive market, mutual fund shops are looking for sales people that can combine the best qualities of both Ian Fleming
Take for example, John Hancock Funds
] and its hiring plans for 2013.
, senior managing director and head of institutional sales at John Hancock, told MFWire
that this year his firm will look to fill positions for calling on analysts and gatekeepers at broker dealers. Because these clients are expecting more and better information about mutual fund products, Cassler says that "you now need a certain level of sales person, i.e., with CFA credentials. The sophistication level required for the sales people in these channels is much higher now."
"The candidates must be capable of drilling down on product specifics. They must be knowledgeable about investment management and have a good understanding of broker dealer platforms. Ideally, they also have existing relationships with the analysts at these firms," he says.
As a result, he says, "firms are looking for very specialized sales people to cover certain parts of the market. They are looking for very specialized, technically driven people who can address very specific needs within their organization."
One of the big areas of discussion among clients, he says, is the focus on alternative investments.
"Clients are looking to diversify their sources of return or manage volatility. There are really three questions facing advisors concerning alts: How do I do due diligence on these strategies? How do these strategies correlate with what I have in my client portfolios? How do I address portfolio construction?" he says.
How these sales people answer these questions is important. Cassler says that Hancock's staff "is able to help advisors address these problems, which is unique versus our peers."
"We have an internal due diligence team of twenty that evaluates managers. Advisors are getting a second level of due diligence on the managers who are on our platform," he says.
That's just the beginning. Because retail clients and RIAs increasingly want the same level of service and decision support formerly reserved for institutional clients, Cassler's team will also expect candidates to have comfort jumping from channel to channel. Such candidates are not easy to find, he says.
"Most individual sales professionals have grown up in one of these silos. The ability to go across silos is very difficult to find. There are a limited number of sales professionals who have straddled these silos," he says.
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