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Rating:Six Distro Tips From Small Fund Firms Not Rated 5.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, September 21, 2015

Six Distro Tips From Small Fund Firms

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

At the medium and large broker-dealers, there are more people to reach out to than you think.

Gary Shilman
BTS Asset Management
Key Accounts Manager
That's one distribution tip shared by BTS Asset Management's Gary Shilman in a panel discussion at one of the opening sessions of the Gemini Companies Advisor Forum this afternoon. The forum is part of the NorthStar Summit at the Gaylord Opryland resort in Nashville, Tennesse. (NorthStar is Gemini's parent company.)

Shilman and two fundsters, Barry Levin of North Star Investment Management (no relation with Gemini's parent, save being a Gemini client) and Jerry Szilagyi of Catalyst Funds, spoke on a panel titled "How to Successfully Engage Third Party Intermediaries" that was moderated by Northern Lights Distributors senior relationship manager Jaclyn Peal.

Shilman, an ex-CCO who now handles key accounts, told fundsters and other that he was surprised by "how many people you can actually reach out to from the medium to larger B-Ds." He pointed to relationship managers in B-D's home offices, recruiters, and others as potentially useful targets for fundsters trying to gain traction with a B-D. He suggests using LinkedIn.

"Reach out to as many people as you can, random home office people," Shilman said.

Here are some other tips gleaned from the panel:

  • Be patient. Levin reminded fundsters that "things take time" and that the process of gaining and improving platform access can be "quite humbling" before it's fruitful.

  • "It really goes in phases," Szilagyi said. For a fund firm just starting, just getting on platforms is key. For firms with more mature distribution efforts, try to get more out of each of those platform relationships.

  • Lean on your distributor, like Northern Lights, if you have one. Shilman described turning to Northern Lights folks for contacts to helpe penetrate particularly opaque B-Ds. And Levin added that fundsters should "keep asking questions" of their distributor.

  • Talk to B-Ds' investment research teams. Szilagyi described this as the first step towards getting onto recommended lists and into home office-powered model portfolios.

  • Focus your efforts on the key partners you want. "You can't be everything to everybody," Szilagyi said. "Aim for a limited number of platforms." 

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