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DST Systems Celebrates 40 Years Of Industry Innovation

Throughout 2009, DST Systems, Inc. has celebrated 40 years of providing market-leading solutions to the mutual fund industry. In recognition of this milestone, Money Management Executive asked DST's senior leadership to identify ways investment management companies can maximize the value they deliver to their stakeholders by leveraging the strengths and resources of a service provider.

This special three-part series looks at how service providers like DST support investment management companies as they seek to manage expenses, improve efficiencies, mitigate risks and support distribution. The first two articles of the series are available at This third part focuses on how investment management companies can look to their service provider to increase their ability to sell products through their distribution channels.

Critical Mass

As financial products and the channels through which they are sold become more complex, investment management firms must be increasingly resourceful in identifying potential distribution partners and managing those relationships. These firms can look to their transfer agency service provider to deliver end-to-end data quality to enhance sales and marketing initiatives and drive operational efficiencies. They also can rely on their provider for intermediary self-servicing capabilities that help them manage expenses while delivering service to their distributors.

DST supports investment management companies' distribution initiatives by delivering solutions that meet the needs of both management companies and the intermediaries they do business with.

"DST's intermediary solutions have become industry-recognized standards relied upon by advisers and broker/dealer home offices" said Kyle Mallot, vice president, distribution support services. "Our investment management clients find that their affiliation with DST provides a level of intermediary access and solution adoption they can't get elsewhere. We can deliver both the technology expertise and the critical mass of intermediary participation to make solutions that are valuable for the product manufacturers as well as the intermediaries."

Data Quality Matters

A significant challenge that investment management companies face today is how to grow third-party distribution while maintaining high-quality trade, asset and intermediary information across transfer agent and distributor organizations. This challenge is made all the more difficult in light of limited resources, budget constraints and the accelerating pace of broker turnover, firm mergers, clearing relationships and omnibus trading.

"In this environment, it's very important to have data consistency and quality across your transfer agent and distributor organizations," said Ken Keiser, client relations manager with DST. "This helps to reduce time spent capturing and reconciling intermediary information and equip sales teams with timely and accurate production figures."

Keiser points to DST's SalesConnect offering as a solution that provides tools and information to help operations and sales teams identify, track and service financial intermediaries. SalesConnect systematically populates DST's core recordkeeping platform, TA2000, with the most recently updated branch and rep information from its central repository.

Information in SalesConnect's central repository is kept timely and accurate by a dedicated team of associates that continuously captures and validates information provided directly by broker/dealers. The data management service extends to firm mergers, clearing firm changes and block transfers. The result is more consistent and accurate information on TA2000, along with increased operational efficiency.

"In addition, the full breadth of the branch and rep information from the central repository is available to sales and marketing teams along with reconciled trade and asset positions," Keiser said. "Historically, more than 99% of dealer-submitted trades have been systematically reconciled and available for reporting early in the morning of T+1."

"DST's SalesConnect trade-scrubbing service is performed for more than 40 asset managers (including mutual funds and REIT sponsors) and draws from a wide variety of recordkeeping sources including sub-accounting, variable annuity and supermarket platforms.

"The real value of this solution lies in the synergy created by the participation of multiple management companies and the scale DST can provide," Keiser said. "As soon as a representative does business with any of the participating management companies, that representative's information is reconciled and updated in our central repository. As other management companies submit trades, they benefit from the reconciliation efforts that were made before."

Keiser notes that, because SalesConnect represents such a wide range of intermediaries, it also helps with lead identification.

"Now the sales team can focus on its top producers and best prospects without worrying about data stewardship or technology," he says. "The sales team can access the information directly through our hosted CRM component or we can transmit daily data files for processing into their existing sales systems."

Win-Win Solutions

DST has earned a reputation as an industry leader in providing integrated self-servicing solutions to help investment management companies control expenses while delivering quality service to their distribution partners. One product used broadly by intermediaries is DST FAN Mail, a data feed through which intermediaries can access shareholder information from participating management companies and integrate it with their portfolio management software.