Fund Communication is Ready for an Upgrade
Tech innovation necessary to cut industry’s ties with legacy software.
The industry’s move to an email-based system has been the only minor update to the blast fax infrastructure in the last 30 years with regards to communicating fund changes and events. The mutual fund industry is rooted in a complex data set and has embraced its own way of processing data.
Fund companies currently send thousands of emails to their distributors. Recipients of these emails must parse through each one to determine if the communication is even relevant. In the case that an email is pertinent, that firm must then figure out the appropriate changes to process and move it downstream in their organization. It is a time-consuming process that relies heavily on manual intervention, making it riddled with risk.
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
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
My last post discussing the fate of the DOL Fiduciary Rule proclaimed that I was ready for the final episode of this soap opera to air regardless of the outcome, as long as there is one. Well, the June 9th deadline has come and gone, and parts of the DOL Fiduciary Rule are now in effect. However, the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the future of the rule means the show has been renewed for at least another season. The one thing that does seem to be certain, however, is that the fiduciary rule will be significantly altered in the coming months. Read more
Congress still on the “outs” with DOL pick ─ who, in turn, has undisclosed Nanny Baggage to resolve. Meanwhile, Donald still has commitment issues …
If you thought this was going to be a political piece, sorry to dismay but it is not. This is the actual update from the past few days of our lives. Politics aside, the viewing audience has been kept on their seats in deft fixation on the outcome. The cost to the industry of the seesaw of the last four airings of this melodrama has to be in the Billions of dollars. The winners? The lawyers and consultants. The losers, the Investors. Read more
Whatever happens to the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, the mutual fund industry is moving into a “fiduciary era.” For one thing, investment advisors hope to capitalize on investors’ heightened awareness of the role of a fiduciary. For another, the backlog of regulatory change that must be implemented is large and there are many processes in place that were implemented with time to market not efficiency of execution that need to be addressed.
Besides demanding ever-greater levels of transparency, regulators are also beginning to turn their attention to RegTech, to ensure investment firms have the systems to manage compliance workloads. As we look ahead to a future dominated by financial technology, it’s becoming clear that when it comes to data management, only the fittest will survive. Read more
Friday’s bill on the House floor to delay the DOL fiduciary rule may result in a 24-month delay of pending arduous legislation. The largest providers of services to investors in our industry set sail for the April 10th destination months ago. In our blog just after the election we noted that anything less than immediate clear guidance would allow for structural and maybe irreversible changes to go forward in our industry. I am not aware of any large platform that has a ‘Plan B’ whereby a coordinated roll-back exists.
The deadlines outlined in the initial rule were so tight that the companies affected only had time to prepare a “plan to comply.” I believe the DOL’s rule will be delayed, but this will actually increase the expense of doing business for the industry. Read more
Today’s news declaring Andy Puzder as Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary does not bode well for the short-term prospect of moving the date of the DOL Fiduciary Rule. For the past several weeks, the consensus in our industry was that the date could be moved by the incoming Secretary. The caveat is that the incoming Labor Secretary’s ability to move the date hinges on his/her confirmation by the legislature in a timely manner. Read more
Ignites recently published an article “Shops Zero In on Fund Pricing Risk Management” about a Deloitte survey that examined what Fund shops are spending time on — keeping their folks up at night. A breakout star this year is business continuity planning (BCP) of their key third party service providers. This topic is near and dear to Delta Data, given we thrive on being an integral part of our client’s execution of their business model. Our view on this subject is to embrace transparency for our clients to understand how we approach the critical need of service delivery. More importantly, we have some thoughts on how to best execute the oversight of the supply chain of services our clients have come to rely on to execute their business. Read more
The last several years have demonstrated an ongoing focus on transparency driven by guidance and rules from the governing bodies of the mutual fund industry. To date, most transparency initiatives have focused on Dealer to consumer transparency (404a and 408b2) and Dealer to Fund transparency that support a myriad of requirements from “Distribution in Guise” prospectus rule compliance including Rule 22c-2. The Department of Labor proposal reveals a new requirement on the horizon for increasing dealer transparency into the DOL’s fee and fiduciary requirements. So why has this become of interest to the DOL now? To understand this drive requires looking at the dealer infrastructure. Read more
The long awaited result of the SEC’s distribution in guise sweeps hit today; you can find the link here. Many of the points covered were expected, and most of the requirements for compliance identified are currently supported by the Oversight platform Delta Data actually developed in anticipation of this guidance. Here is the overarching theme in this news: the 12b1 plan represents the only funds that can be used for distribution expense, and anything that promotes sales in any way, whether direct or indirect, must be allocated as an expense to the advisor and/or other relevant service providers, not the fund. Fees related to distribution in excess of the 12b1 plan must be allocated to the advisor and/or other relevant service providers.
A recent Ignites article highlighted the imminent enforcement from the SEC on “distribution in guise”. This is a complex topic our clients are faced with. Our current clients are using the insight from our analytics suite coupled with the automated expense allocation execution our Fee Management platform to solve this complex issue. We prepared this overview of the issue to provide insight for our clients on how these issues can be tackled regardless of technical platform and compliance with distribution rules can be obtained in the current complex fee marketplace. Read more