Why clients attended DST ADVANCE?
But, how did we get clients to leave this and attend one of the 60+ sessions?
(View from the conference center)
At ADVANCE, Tracy Shelby, Boston Financial’s Chief Relationship Officer, hosted a panel discussion with industry leaders. Despite competing with the beautiful Scottsdale location, the session was standing room only.
Our clients want to hear viewpoints from each other and with over 400 clients in attendance at ADVANCE, there was ample opportunity to share client insights.
Tracy kicked off the session discussing how as an industry we’ve achieved several milestones, but we also manage the day-to-day incredibly successfully. We don’t typically stop to acknowledge “our business as usual” and the services we provide to shareholders. Here’s a reminder of the community we’re part of:
- 8,116 mutual funds
- $15.65 trillion U.S. mutual fund assets
- 482 money market funds
- $2.75 trillion money market assets
- 53.2 million households own mutual funds representing 43.3% of American households
- 90.4 million individuals own mutual funds
Our industry’s infrastructure has been built over the last 30 to 40 years ensuring our processes and services run smoothly, but, there are always opportunities and challenges. During the panel discussion, our clients shared insights into key opportunities and challenges across our industry such as:
- Where will additional sales come from
- How can we continue to be successful with competing products
- Global firms are a target for global regulations, so you must have thick skin when you come into work!
- Culture and conduct continue to be very important and with new workers coming into the workforce, need to ensure carrying forward company legacy
- We are not perfect, yet. We need to continue to look for opportunities to enhance the customer experience; what can we do as an industry to benefit the shareholder?
Despite being competitors, we have historically been a highly collaborative industry bringing together diverse perspectives and organizations. Industry groups bring together asset managers and service providers. This helps ensure we all have a voice in the industry, we can influence the regulators, and implement industry-wide changes that benefit shareholders, advisors, and our firms. Industry collaboration was an overarching theme of the panel. Insights shared included:
- We’re good at getting together and analyzing what went wrong and we’re very good executors.
- With today’s distributed TA environment, managing communication flow is critical to our future success.
- Learn from peers and share what we’re learning; this provides a safe and less risky environment for all of us.
- Be actively engaged with your service providers and committees.
- Industry collaboration and committees have led to increased efficiencies, automation, and decrease in risk.
Based on their industry committee experience, the panel shared their views on characteristics of effective industry committee members:
- Actively participate
- Speak up and share your point of view
- Bring information back to your company; share with your peers
These days, no industry panel can escape without discussing regulatory. This panel was no different. They kept their regulatory comments brief, focusing on two areas:
- Money Market Reform: It’s getting a lot of attention and resources (but, probably not a lot of value). Good example of how our industry can execute.
- TA Rules: Despite the chatter for years from the SEC that they were looking at revising the TA rules, as an industry, we were generally surprised when they arrived. But, no big surprises in the proposed rules.
As the panelists suggested, following the conference attendees should share with their colleagues the conference takeaways. Here are a few of my high-level-takeaways from the panel discussion:
- Industry collaboration is instrumental to the future viability and success of our industry.
- DST and Boston Financial play an influential role in industry collaboration bringing clients together. Our clients highly value these opportunities.
- Shareholders continue to be at the center of our industry, and we need to continue to challenge ourselves to better service shareholders.
And, another takeaway for me was to not forget to enjoy the local environment and culture; this was taken before the conference started.
(Anne Hebard and Lisa Light – please note who is doing the heavy lifting).