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Broadridge, Access Data Partnership Offers 'Market Intelligence' for Mutual Fund Industry

In May 2009, Broadridge Financial Solutions, a leading global provider of technology solutions to the financial services industry, acquired Access Data Corp. Access Data provides enterprise-wide reporting and data management services to asset managers and financial intermediaries. Its technology platform, Access Data SalesVision®, is currently utilized by more than 40 firms to support distribution, administer wholesaler compensation and distribution payments and manage shareholder compliance.

Money Management Executive recently sat down with Gerry Scavelli, president of Broadridge's mutual fund solutions division, and Dan Cwenar, general manager of Access Data, to discuss the impact this new partnership will have on the mutual fund industry.

MME: Why did Broadridge acquire Access Data?

Scavelli: Broadridge's position as one of the largest processors of investor information for broker/dealers and other financial intermediaries has enabled us to create value for our mutual fund clients as well. Today, through our investor communications, securities processing, and securities clearing and outsourcing services, we maintain some of the most comprehensive information about mutual fund sales made by distributors in the industry. Access Data gives Broadridge the opportunity to present the information we already capture about the sale of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and variable annuities and solve an important problem in the financial services industry: the lack of data transparency.

Access Data's SalesVision technology platform provides visibility about the financial advisers who are driving sales and transforms data into meaningful information that can be used to build business strategies. In addition, Access Data's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) approach enables clients to cost-effectively tackle an array of complex business challenges in distribution, compensation management and shareholder compliance.

We believe Access Data has the technology, creativity and talent to add a new dimension to Broadridge's overall information servicing capabilities.

MME: Can you elaborate more about this strategy?

Scavelli: What mutual funds want most in a volatile market is to retain clients and continue to grow their business. Broadridge can provide fund firms with deeper knowledge of their best clients and market intelligence about new opportunities to help grow their business.

Today, the vast majority of all new fund sales are made through the financial advisers affiliated with our distributor clients. With the acquisition of Access Data, Broadridge is now positioned to deliver detailed sales information that fund companies have never been able to see in the past, especially in areas related to ETFs, variable annuity sales and their defined contribution investment only businesses.

Broadridge intends to be the central hub for acquiring, aggregating and augmenting the sales data that is so essential for mutual fund manufacturers and distributors to achieve their respective growth objectives. In the same way that Broadridge gained a reputation as a respected services partner for the brokerage community for their proxy, post-sale prospectus and other regulatory needs, we now have a unique opportunity to extend our value to fund companies and distributors by transforming the data from our current intermediary relationships into market intelligence.

MME: You just mentioned "market intelligence." There's a lot of buzz about providing "intelligence" to the market right now. What do you mean by that?

Cwenar: We think of "market intelligence" as the information and tools that asset management companies will need to not only survive, but also actually thrive in a business environment that is demanding they achieve "more with less."

Today, and in the future, fund firms will need extremely good control and command over information about both their sales and their competitors' sales for all products and distribution channels. Companies will need to know more about their clients based upon transactional activity and asset position changes at a very granular level. And, when performance is a concern, they will need to anticipate the impact to those clients based upon the latest data and information, and be able to get out in front of the issues quickly.

We anticipate more information-based relationship management and selling processes will be critical to support evolving selling models such as hybrid wholesalers. The winners will be those firms that approach sales in a much more analytical fashion. Fund companies need to harness all the data they have on clients across multiple trading platforms and sales channels and then have a means to transform it into quality information that can drive sales activities.

The transformation of data into market intelligence will drive these new business models so that sales organizations, including hybrid wholesalers, are focused on the best firms and affiliated advisors who can grow their business.

MME: Given this opportunity, how do you see, for example, helping a mutual fund company?