Twenty years ago, email was coming into its own as a simple and effective solution for communicating important information to large groups of people – a significant technological upgrade to faxes. For the fund industry, this has long been the standard for disseminating important information about products to the firms who distribute and service them. As the years went on, the industry has clung to the email based system ever since, despite the industry growing and becoming more complex. Read more
Last week, I attended SIFMA’s Fintech conference in New York. I sat through panels discussing the topics of the day in financial services operations – emerging technologies, the ever-evolving regulatory landscape, you name it. Overall, it was an engaging event with interesting insights into how fintech is transforming the financial services sector. As I reflected on the event and the topics explored, it became clear that many of us face the same challenges in grappling with new technologies that promise to transform the industry. Read more
Recently our firm completed the end of what can only be called an odyssey. For years, we sought to acquire the domain Deltadata.com from a company who bought up “swell sounding” domain names in the mid-nineties. Their business model may have been sound, but the execution ended up being quite poor. Despite our best efforts to reach them, we didn’t receive a response from the domain owner for more than 15 years. We felt like someone else had lost the blockchain hash key to our domain name! Read more
It’s indisputable that fintech is rapidly changing the landscape of financial services. It seems as though there’s a new innovation every day promising that Mutual Fund asset managers can leave their outdated legacy systems behind. Broker-dealers have been particularly hampered in recent years due to where they sit in the mutual fund supply chain. They are pulled in all directions, whether it’s their fund company partners adding or altering share classes or responding to demands from their investment managers around product availability, performance, and transparency. Read more
We recently had the privilege to host some of our clients and Mutual Fund industry leaders for a roundtable discussion in Boston. It was an opportunity for us collectively to step away from our daily workplace rituals and talk about the future of our industry. Read more
The SEC voted on Wednesday to delay the compliance date of the classification requirement of the Liquidity Rule in what turned out to be a whirlwind of a week for the regulatory body.
With a delay now formalized, fund firms with more than $1 billion in assets now have till June 1, 2019, to comply with the classification requirements, while smaller firms have till Dec. 1, 2019. The SEC also issued an FAQ document detailing compliance requirements for the rule, which you can find here. The other requirements of the rule still go into effect December 1, 2018, for large funds and June 1, 2018, for smaller funds. Read more
In part three of our series looking at the world of mutual fund changes and how they’re communicated, we look toward the future. To recap, funds and distributors have been frustrated with the fund event communication process since the beginning. The main issue is that manual processes, lack of standardization, and massive amounts of irrelevant data confuse both the funds and the distributors – and leads to errors, audit issues, and fines. Read more
Over the past two years, the industry has seen a growing trend of platform rationalization across the board for broker-dealers, with several in the top tier seeking to offer advice as part of their value proposition, similar to what the end investor receives. The supermarket approach of the early 2000s was expensive to maintain, and research coverage was relegated to a small list of preferred mutual fund products. Read more
It’s the most wonderful time of the year … unless you’re an intermediary in charge of processing mutual fund dividends. December is a high-volume month, with an onslaught of dividends that have to be posted in a timely fashion. Years ago when most fund accounts were held fully disclosed on the fund company’s TA system, dividends were a non-event. But the move to omnibus accounts and the growth of 401k plans now requires the intermediary to calculate the amount of each shareholder’s dividend and get it posted to their account the evening of ex-date. Read more
For some people, taking a sales meeting is on par with going to the dentist — they’ll avoid it at all costs. Avoiding the dentist due to an unreasonable fear will eventually come back to haunt you, just like skipping an informative sales call could mean missing out on the latest industry technology — ultimately impacting your business. Read more
There have been multiple developments suggesting that Rule 22e-4 (“the liquidity rule”) is likely to be significantly watered down or, at least, delayed. Earlier this month, ICI sent a letter to the SEC urging the regulator to delay the compliance date by a year to ensure firms are well prepared. This postponement would appear to be in the industry’s best interest, given that a recent survey of 220 CCOs across the industry revealed that 90% of them were less than halfway through preparations to comply with the rule. Read more
As we highlighted in our last post, corporate actions play a crucial role in the day-to-day management of mutual funds as well as the Broker-Dealers, Bank Trusts and Record Keepers that distribute them.
Once the corporate action blast email is sent out and received by distributors, a multi-step process, chock full of obstacles and risk begins. Deciphering what’s being communicated and if/how it effects your enterprise is rarely a simple task. We’ve listened to our distribution clients — and here’s what we’re hearing about the current state of corporate action blast communications. Read more