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Thursday, September 26, 2013

OpFunds Kicks Up Advisor Internet Presence

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

OpFunds [profile] has polished its online presence for advisors.

The fund giant has launched its its new eDistribution advisor portal: www.oppenheimerfunds.com/Advisors.

The new site includes the following new features:
A side-by-side comparison of OppenheimerFunds' funds with the competition using the Morningstar Fund Comparison tool
An expanded Morningstar Hypothetical Tool that includes all fund families
Comprehensive fund performance information with interactive fund data
Advisor Exchange, OppenheimerFunds' groundbreaking advisor-only discussion forum for sharing best practices
Compelling professional development content via OppenheimerFunds' exclusive CEO Advisor Institute program
Real-time answers for questions with Click-to-Chat

Phillipp Hensler, OpFunds' head of distribution, described the new site in this way:

What we really want to do is enrich the relationship we have with our advisor community. Whereas in the past people felt that technology will replace the human being. Instead we believe that technology can augment or amplify the effect of our sales people ever went they are interact with the advisor community. Historically, technology can augment or amplify the effect of our sales people have when they are interacting with advisor community. Advisors want info when they need it. It is important to have information for them 24/7. That is what this website allows us to do, engage the advisor community in a new and exciting way.

For example, he said, "when you go to the website, we have interesting things, for example, you can compare our funds within the Morningstar universe. There is a functionality that allows advisors to interact with each other."

Erik Schneberger, head of digital strategy, said that the site "was developed with a deep understanding of how advisors do business, providing them with the tools to address the complex topics and stories for their clients."

For example, the news and information is designed to be "snack-able", allowing advisors to customize email alerts to provide just the information they are seeking, i.e. information on a particular set of funds, or a single portfolio manager, and so on.

Further, advisors who have their wholesaler accounts with OpFunds are also able, via the website, to handle redemptions, transfers, purchases, and so on.

Hensler stressed that site was not designed to compete with any particular channel, but to serve as a tool for all of them, for example, to be used as a vital tool for face-to-face interactions with advisors.

"If advisors want to meet wholesalers face-to-face, they can. If they want to interact with an internal wholesaler on the phone, they can. Or they can choose to interact with us digitally," he said.  

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