Blog

Fund Servicing Conversions: Benefits May Outweigh the Perceived Burden

Nov 13, 2018 10:00:00 AM  |  Industry , '40 Act

Conquering or Overcoming FOCO

Let’s be honest: When someone starts talking to an investment adviser about transitioning their back-office servicing relationship from one service provider to another, the first reaction of that firm’s decision maker is somewhere among stomach ache, dizziness and downright fear. Am I right?  Whether one admits it out loud or not, I know the answer to that question is yes because it would be my answer too -- if I didn’t know better. 

Unfortunately, too many investment advisers tolerate service levels which become less than desirable or acceptable, not because of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out – ask your kid or other resident millennial what that is!) but rather, a quick retreat to a stance of FOCO or Fear Of Converting Out. 

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How Adviser’s Websites Can Attract More Investors

Oct 30, 2018 10:00:00 AM  |  Industry , '40 Act

In a digitally wired world, having a website that is attractive, dynamic and compelling is essential. After all, it is the hub of a firm’s online presence where as much as 80 percent of the marketing and sales cycle takes place. In an industry that controls trillions of dollars in investor assets, there is no place for a sub-par website. Unfortunately, boutique asset managers are often at a competitive disadvantage compared to bigger firms with massive resources. Many say, “Let’s get it done quickly so it’s functional by launch.” It’s often like a glorified online brochure, with little ability to support an effective sales process.

Fortunately, it doesn’t require massive resources to create a high-quality website that will attract advisers and investors and move them through the sales funnel. Ultimus’ Marketing Director, Lora Lindquist, sat down and spoke with Dan Sondhelm, CEO of Sondhelm Partners, for his insight on key website features that can enhance visitors’ experience to support attracting and retaining investors. They also discuss the most cost-effective ways firms can increase the value of their websites as resources for their clients and lead generators for their firms.

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Navigating Marketplace Changes to an Adviser’s Advantage

Oct 2, 2018 10:00:00 AM  |  Industry , '40 Act

An Update on Product Trends in the Mutual Fund Industry

Investment advisers with longstanding mutual funds, as well as advisers looking to make their first foray into the ’40 Act Fund world, usually have distinct opportunities when it comes to growing their assets under management (AUM).  In both cases, innovation is always a key component of the manager’s strategy.  The U.S. mutual fund industry is a crowded space, with 54% of the AUM captured by the 10 largest fund families.  Innovative strategies make a new fund stand out and can drive asset capture; however, investment advisers have to temper their penchants for innovation with the reality of operating in a highly regulated industry, known for frequently changing regulatory regimes. 

In light of these factors, we find ourselves in a market often characterized by varying product trends.  To help advisers understand the changes and take advantage of current industry dynamics, we will explore in more detail what trends Ultimus is currently seeing, what we believe is driving them, and where we think they will take investment advisers in the registered fund space.

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How to Leverage Big Data and Service Providers’ Technology to Administer Your Mutual Fund’s Compliance Program

Sep 4, 2018 2:00:00 PM  |  '40 Act , Industry

“The SEC staff is currently using these [big data] computing environments and is also planning to scale them up to accommodate future applications that will be on a massive scale…We have utilized both machine learning and big data technologies to extract actionable insights from our massive datasets.”

- Scott W. Baugeuess, Acting Director and Chief Economist, SEC Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, SEC, June 21, 2017

Big Data Tools
Big data describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured—that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But what is important is what your advisory firm does with the available data, not the potentially huge volume. If the data can be handled by your firm using the right tools, it represents a treasure trove of valuable information. And since the SEC is explicit in its public comments about using big data tools, it behooves your firm to understand how you can also use appropriate tools, to forestall or eliminate regulatory inquiries and deficiencies.

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What Advisers Need to Know About Impact Investing: ESG/SRI

Aug 21, 2018 10:00:00 AM  |  '40 Act , Industry

Even though the terminology ‘impact investing’ is relatively new in the last 10 years, the concept is not. There are many in the investment arena who are not familiar with details of what impact investing means or what it entails.

With the objective to gain a better understanding of impact investing, using terms such as ESG and SRI, and the influence it is having in the asset management industry among advisers, Ultimus’ Business Development Director, Mick Grunewald, recently spoke with First Affirmative Financial Network’s CEO, George R. Gay. In addition to his role as CEO of First Affirmative, George served on the US SIF (a nonprofit trade association for the SRI industry) Board of Directors from 1994 to 2008, has produced and hosted The SRI Conference since 1990, and received the industry's 1997 SRI Service Award.

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Warning Signs You May Need a New Fund Administration Provider

Jul 10, 2018 10:06:36 AM  |  '40 Act , Regulatory

Sticking with the Status Quo May Cost More Than Converting

As an investment manager, is your mutual fund administrator a transaction processor fulfilling basic functions? Or is your service provider engaged and strategic, providing high quality administrative services coupled with insightful business acumen? The difference could mean putting your organization in the best position for long-term success or putting it at significant risk.

While investment managers don’t always recognize that their service provider has become deficient, or fear converting to a new provider, staying with the status quo can be more risky. To help investment managers get the most out of their fund administrator, below are a few warning signs that indicate your current provider is not cutting it, along with some tips to ensure a smooth conversion if a switch is the best course of action.  

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Examining the Pricing Vendor Due Diligence Process in the Mutual Fund Space

Jun 12, 2018 10:00:00 AM  |  '40 Act , Regulatory

Rule 38a-1, under the Investment Company Act of 1940, commonly called the “Compliance Rule,” identifies the investment adviser, principal underwriter, administrator and transfer agent as the “significant” service providers to a mutual fund.  The Rule further states that a due diligence review of the policies and procedures should be completed for these service providers at least annually. Fund compliance officers and fund boards are now quite accustomed to this process.

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Part 3 - Launching a Mutual Fund: Compliance & Regulatory Insights

May 29, 2018 10:00:00 AM  |  '40 Act , Regulatory

This three-part series covers not only what it takes to launch a fund, but what it takes to launch a potentially successful fund. If you missed the first two installments, they can be accessed here:

Part 1 – Launching a Mutual Fund: Costs of Success

Part 2 - Launching a Mutual Fund: Top 5 FAQs

In this final post, the compliance and regulatory types of questions regarding a fund launch are answered.

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Part 2 - Launching a ’40 Act Mutual Fund: Top 5 FAQs

May 22, 2018 10:00:00 AM  |  '40 Act , Fund Structure

In part 1, we reviewed the considerations for long-term success when launching a fund, not just the immediate costs to organize and operate a fund. In the next two parts, we answer the top 10 questions that are most frequently asked by advisers exploring a mutual fund launch. As with any undertaking of this magnitude, there can be lots of questions and lots of variables to consider. These two blog posts will address typical questions and provide high level answers based on an open-end mutual fund launch.  

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Part 1 - Launching a Mutual Fund: Costs of Success

May 15, 2018 10:00:00 AM  |  '40 Act , Distribution

Typically, when an investment adviser thinks about launching a mutual fund, they commonly ask, “How much does it cost to launch a mutual fund?” The more prudent question to ask would be, “How much does it cost to launch a successful mutual fund?”

These days many funds are launched using the series trust structure, which can afford an adviser some efficiencies in organization and operational cost and reduced time to market. Those are certainly important considerations, and we will discuss those in more depth later in the next two successive blog postings. However, to help focus on long-term success, advisers should consider several other factors before they think about the organization and operational costs for a fund. What are those factors?

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