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 It seems as though there’s a new innovation every day promising that Mutual Fund asset managers can leave their outdated legacy systems behind.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
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
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
Obtaining accurate and reliable corporate actions and dividends data is critical for fund distributors, so they can record mutual fund income to customer accounts on a timely basis. However, the data distributors rely on to process billions of transactions is still delivered in a piecemeal manner. Mutual fund shops and distributors are dependent on four major sets of data: reference, pricing, dividend, and corporate actions. Considering that often firms take in this data from up to four different providers, it’s easy to see how a fragmented data marketplace can affect operational efficiency. Read more
Will You Be Ready If FINRA Calls? Brokers Are Running Out of Time for Mutual Fund Fee Waiver Remediation
Investment companies have long allowed some retirement plans to buy Class A mutual fund shares with no up-front commission, so investors can benefit from investing with no commission as well as benefiting from lower management fees. But during routine audits in 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) discovered that a lot of broker-dealers hadn’t been reading (and/or complying with) all the fine print on fund prospectuses. Because of inadequate supervisory controls and training, investors entitled to sales charge waivers were either paying the sales charge, or being sold Class B or C shares with back-end sales charges and higher ongoing fees and expenses, even when A shares were available. Read more
A never ending series of new regulatory and compliance mandates means that the broker-dealer community is continually having to adapt to change. In response, it’s investing in enterprise software that can handle large volumes of data, and integrate with “data as a service” solutions.
While it was the need to satisfy regulators’ demands for transparency that initially spurred the mutual fund industry to upgrade its back office technology and IT systems, the best data management utilities are now prized for their ability to provide real-time insight and analytics, and speed up decision making. Read more